Chapter 16: Realization in the End
The mission was finally done. Raven never would have to deal with Matt again—or the cruel high school life filled with rumors and gossip she could never adjust to. She could put those painful memories in the past—and never relive them ever again.
Terra had finally allowed her to confront her; Beast Boy finally got his closure with the girl who had last left him with more questions then answers.
Raven chose to stay in the outfit when she returned to her room for a while longer. Her conscience wasn't insistently nagging her to change out—or wear what identified her as who she is. She oddly found herself comfortable in it for some reason yet to be explained.
When the two had returned, they had parted company to go their own way. Dinnertime was approaching, and both needed that time between to relax.
Raven had to wonder what Beast Boy had meant when he'd called her his girlfriend earlier while he'd been confronting Matthew. She couldn't help but be shocked by his use of that word for her; she wasn't sure if that was part of the confrontation—or if there was more to it—
It was probably about time she told Robin and Cyborg about her mission. They had both remained fairly oblivious to all that was going on; she was actually surprised they'd remained that way for so long—
Raven was certain Robin always wondered why she and Starfire had gone on that shopping spree; he'd soon be getting an explanation for that—
Raven kept coming back to the thought of what Beast Boy had called her in that confrontation—wondering to herself if that would make it even harder for her to confront him with what she needed to tell him.
She knew it couldn't be any harder than it was walking into a high school where the air was alive with gossip that was created solely just to humiliate her.
Life—and dinnertime—was interrupted by yet another mission, another villain looking to terrorize the city for their own pleasure.
Their target was the very same amateur thief they'd dealt with that almost had the misfortune of being taken out permanently by Beast Boy—the one who'd called himself—conveniently enough—Steel.
Apparently the thief had been released early—probably on good behavior. Also, apparently—he wasn't in there long enough to reform him and learn from his past mistakes. Steel apparently wanted to be a repeat offender—make a profession out of being a criminal.
The thief had chosen a different place to rob this time—he at least learned something from his past mistake. Unfortunately—it was not enough though.
The alarm had gone off at a different bank branch from the one most local to them—a branch towards the east side of the city. When the team arrived on the scene, they found the bank customers and employees standing outside the small building. The door at the entryway had been dismantled from its hinges—the hinges melted like they'd been exposed to an extreme heat source.
Raven dislodged the door from the entryway and set it aside. Robin gave the order to move in. When they got inside, they saw that the alarm system had been compromised—the vault door melted down to a semi-liquid puddle on the floor.
The sound of rustling papers and clinking metal came from within. That was followed with the sound of bags being packed up, and the shuffling of metal-heeled shoes. The thief emerged shortly after that.
He was unsuspecting of any presences being there, watching him; apparently he thought he could make a clean getaway. Steel would have to learn it wasn't that easy; the Teen Titans were the right ones to teach him that lesson.
Upon having his gaze meet up with the sight of the changeling who'd almost killed him in their last confrontation, Steel froze up, his prize bags held in tightly clenched fists and his eyes ever so widened in sheer and utter horror. Apparently there was one thing he did learn from his last venture in being a criminal—he recognized the one who'd almost been responsible for his demise.
Steel the thief dropped his prize bags, quaking in fear. He started to whimper.
"Please, don't kill me," Steel the thief pleaded. "I will go peacefully. I don't want to go through the same terror as last time. I don't want to die this time."
"That sounds like a good deal," Cyborg stated. "What's making you give up so easily—the sight of my green friend?"
"I don't want to deal with his wrath ever again," the thief spoke in a quavering voice. "I'm too young to die like that. I want to live—I don't want to anger him enough again to have him almost kill me again."
"Hey BB—would you have done that again?" Cyborg asked his friend. "Or was that just a fluke?"
"Cy—it was just a fluke," Beast Boy assured him.
"Whatever it was—let's just finish the deal and take this thief off to where he belongs," Robin stated. "Star—me and you will show him off to the authorities. Cy, BB, Rae—you can call it a day and head back. We'll join you shortly—after we hand this guy over to the authorities."
"Will do," Cyborg replied. Turning towards his changeling teammate, "BB—I've been wondering why you lost control with that thief last time we confronted him. What exactly set you off back then?"
"I'll tell you when we get back to the tower," Beast Boy replied. "It's been a long day—and I just want to get home."
"I hear ya man," Cyborg said. "Hey Raven—how about you? Coming back with us, or are you going to disappear to elsewhere?"
"I'm going with you two," Raven replied. "I just want to get back—go home."
"I'm glad you guys thought to pick up a pizza on your way back from handing over that thief to the authorities," Cyborg said to Robin as he and Starfire set two boxes containing hot pizza in them down on the counter.
"It was getting close to dinnertime—and I'm sure nobody's up to preparing anything just after we got done with a mission," Robin replied. "We picked up two options—veggie lover's and meat lover's. I'm hoping that'll cover everyone's tastes without any complaints."
"I'm not complaining," Cyborg stated. He'd grabbed a few plates out of the cabinet, grabbing one for himself and setting the rest on the counter. He then made his way over to the meat-topped pizza's box, and started loading a couple slices from it onto his plate. The cheese stretched as he separated each slice from the pie, long strands he used his fingers to break the ties. "Just the way I like it—oozing and fresh."
Starfire grabbed a plate from the stack, taking a slice from each box. She applied a generous amount of mustard on top of each—slathering the yellow topping across each piece with a butter knife.
The other three each grabbed one slice apiece respectively, and then they all headed to the common room to sit and eat.
Robin held the remote, switching the TV into on mode. He flipped through the channels.
"Any preferences?" Robin asked his team.
"I'm not going to be particular," Raven said. "As long as it isn't disgusting or overly annoying."
"Looks like there's a special on about eighties music on VH1," Robin noted. "Any issues with that?"
"Nah—it's not too bad," Beast Boy replied.
"Hey, I've been meaning to ask you—has something been going on with you lately Beast Boy?" Robin asked him. "I've noticed you've been a bit off the past few weeks—since that incident you had with the thief we just rearrested this afternoon. Was there something that set you off or something?"
"Yeah, BB—you told me you'd get to explaining that when we got back to the tower," Cyborg noted. "Oh yeah—Raven, I also have noticed lately that you've been out more. Something up with you too?"
"I've been meaning to ask you more about that shopping trip you and Star went on a couple weeks back," Robin observed. "It struck me as odd because you've never been that interested in doing a shopping spree that was girls only before. Raven—mind if I ask if you're seeing someone or something?"
"No—I wasn't seeing anyone," Raven clarified.
"She was just trying to help me out after I had some issues with my breakup with Lydia," Beast Boy spoke up. "That's why I snapped during our first encounter with that thief from earlier—I wasn't holding myself together very well because of the shock."
"How'd you help him out with that?" Cyborg asked Raven. "And how does it tie into your new wardrobe?"
"I went in search for Terra," Raven stated. "I went to her school under the guise of a student to confront her—get her to explain to me why she couldn't just tell Beast Boy why she couldn't see him anymore. I figured he needed that closure to move on."
"Did you find Terra?" Robin asked her.
"Yes. She is indeed alive—and is the same girl Beast Boy was telling us about," Raven explained. "She wants to turn a new leaf—forget about her past mistakes and move on with a new life."
"How's she been doing all this time?" Cyborg asked.
"She's been living her new life—and seems to be happy with it," Raven replied.
"Did you get your closure, BB?" Robin asked him.
"Yeah—Terra and I finally got our issues sorted out, and I managed to reconcile with Lydia too." Beast Boy finished the last bite of his pizza. "It turns out neither Lydia or I were really being honest with each other. She wasn't being herself with me—and I was just clinging to her because she reminded me of Terra."
"Ya know—that girl did look like Terra a bit," Cyborg noted.
"Beast Boy—are you now feeling happier?" Starfire asked him. "Has your closure brought you peace of mind at last?"
"Yeah Star—I'm happier," Beast Boy told her. "I've got peace of mind now."
"That's good to hear," Cyborg stated. "I was getting worried that the next time I whooped you at a video game—you'd go at me like you did Steel the thief a few weeks ago."
"I wouldn't do that to you—Cy," Beast Boy assured him. "No matter how angry I get—I know not to hurt a friend because of it."
"I'm thankful for that," Cyborg replied, sighing in relief.
"I'm getting another slice," Beast Boy stated.
"I'll go with you," Raven said.
"Can you grab a couple drinks on your way back?" Robin asked.
"Yeah—I can do that," Beast Boy said. He then headed to the kitchen for another slice of pizza—with Raven right beside him.
Later that evening after dinner, Beast Boy found himself out by the shore side, standing on the rocks that jutted outward from the incoming tides. The sun's light was just dying on the distant horizon, casting its amber and magenta blended rays out on the ripples of the placid sea.
He was just standing there, watching the sun as it died for yet another day. The moon was just being born upon the corner of the separate end of the horizon, its ivory surface reflecting the casting of the sun's dying rays. It would take life and thrive on its own once the sun's life ceased on the horizon. Which would be soon—Beast Boy knew. The hour was growing late.
He removed his shoes, sitting on a rock by the shoreline and setting his feet in the water. The water that surged around his ankles was chilly—yet refreshing.
"Are you still feeling a little depressed?" he turned to see Raven standing there, watching him. "I hope that's not it—after all I went through to try and help you get over that."
"I just find it's peaceful out here," Beast Boy told her. "Sometimes I just need to take a break from the tower noise and enjoy something natural." He looked out towards the sunset. "Like the sunset. I find it doesn't hurt my eyes as much as staring at the TV screen does after a long time."
"You—taking a break from the TV?" Raven sounded surprised. "I thought you'd be back to old habits once you got over that funk."
"I kind of lost a battle over the TV," Beast Boy admitted. "Robin wanted it—and I couldn't object.""
"Oh?" Raven joined him, removing her shoes like he had. "Why's that?"
"He and Starfire needed it for their alone time together," Beast Boy told her. "It was two to one—and it's not like I need it right now."
"Date night?" Raven asked him.
"Yeah—apparently." Beast Boy picked up a stone from the shore's bottom, the water surging around his fingers as he dug the pebble from the sand. He then lodged it back into the depths from where it came.
"So—I guess you can finally move on—see other girls, and fall in love with one of them," Raven stated as she let the breeze toss her hair around a bit. "Since you no longer have anything holding you back anymore—you can finally start dating again with a cleared conscience."
"I'm not ready to see anyone else—Raven," Beast Boy replied.
"Don't tell me all the trouble I went through was done in vain," Raven turned her gaze to him.
"Believe me—it wasn't." Beast Boy tossed another pebble out to sea, and then looked at her. "Star told me about what you told her before you dozed off earlier. About what I said earlier—while I was confronting Matt on you behalf…I meant it." His gaze met directly with hers. "Didn't I mention to you earlier that I was more interested in seeing you than anyone else?"
"Is that why you called me your girlfriend earlier?" Raven asked him.
"Yeah Rae—it is." Beast Boy bent over and dug another pebble out of the sand, drenching his hand in seawater. He extended his hand out to Raven. "Care to take a shot?"
"Sure." Raven took it from his grasp, levitating it just above her palm. She took a few moments before she sent it out towards the water. It ricocheted off the surface of the water, striking it twice more before sinking into the depths.
"So—is what Star told me how you really feel?" Beast Boy asked her.
"What exactly did she tell you I said?" Raven asked him.
"That you think you might have fallen in love with me or something." Beast Boy looked at her. "So—have you?"
"Why did she tell you?" Raven questioned.
"She figured you wouldn't I guess," Beast Boy shrugged. "So—"
"Yes, she's right—I did say that, and…I have." Raven turned away to stare out at the sunset.
"How did you come to realize that—and why?" Beast Boy asked her.
"Terra made me realize it," Raven clarified. "My mission to help you out of your depression also made me realize that. Why…I don't know. Terra commented on it being something illogical—I wasn't out to do something logically or something." She looked away from the sunset but kept her eyes averted from his. "I was afraid to bring it up because I wasn't exactly sure how you'd take it—and I'm not that good with rejections and having my feelings hurt when I've always had to keep them guarded."
"Does it look like I'm taking it badly?" Beast Boy asked her.
"No," Raven stated. "But—how are you taking it?"
"Well." Raven felt Beast Boy's hand on her shoulder. "I enjoy our outings like this, and I am very grateful for all you put up with to find Terra and get me closure. I also love the fact that I finally managed to make you laugh—and not at me." She felt his fingers on her chin, drawing her eyes towards his by shifting her face with his hand. "I also think I might be in love with you as well."
Raven could feel her face growing warm, and was fairly certain there was an outward reaction visible to it on her face. It was masked by the wash of dying sunlight across her features, however.
She wasn't sure what kind of response he was expecting—or what kind of response to expect from him. He didn't show any response—or even react to make one himself. He just watched her, his eyes caught up with hers.
She could feel herself shifting—as did he in regards to himself. His hand had remained by her chin, finding itself now moving up further from there, shifting towards the side of her face.
He was leaning in closer to her; she leaned closer to him. Just as they were about to come in contact with each other, they both slipped off the rocks and into the water. Raven had somehow ended up underwater. When she resurfaced, she realized she was facing an equally drenched Beast Boy.
"I guess we—slipped up," Raven commented.
"Yeah—right into the ocean tides," Beast Boy agreed.
They both started laughing at their own misfortune, not really making any effort to get out of the surging waters even as it brought them to shivering slightly. Their laughter eventually ceased.
"You look like a drenched rat," Raven commented.
"You just looked drenched," Beast Boy replied. "Like a drenched sea maiden."
The rising and falling of the tide had them bobbing with it. Her gaze was on him, a smile forming on her sea drenched face. He watched her with his gaze upon her, noticing her ocean-drenched hair framed her face. She fought the tide to get closer to him.
The sun was fading on the horizon, the water now drawn with deep rouges all across its rippling surface. The two water bound souls were also awash in the same deep rouges.
She drew herself closer to him, fighting the tides with all she could muster to get close enough. She reached for his shoulders to stabilize herself in the water. She then drew herself closer to him until they were kissing.
Neither seemed to be bothered with the water, or its chilly temperature.
For that moment—neither really cared.
For those that didn't guess already (or just didn't realize until later chapters), I always intended for this to end up being BBRae. I just didn't want to overly announce it. I think a story works best if the conclusion isn't realized until the sory has progressed to that point.
Anyways, to all those that have kept up with this through the many chapters---or those that might stumble upon this in the future and comment then---thanks for taking the time to read over this. Hopefully this was enjoyable---and not a disappointment. I had fun with this story---and I sure as hell hope those that have put up with reading this have too at least.