Hey guys. I intended for this to be a long chapter, and I spent a ton of time writing it. When I go to submit it though, I read over it and realize it's pretty short. (although the word count is higher than previous chapters). I could have beefed it up by combining part of next chapter with it, but I decided that the last scene was a good stopping point.
Anyway, the reason I intended for this to be a longer chapter was to make up for the wait and for the fact that this is probably my last update for a little while. I'm doing a bit of traveling for a couple of weeks (in which I unfortunately will not have internet) and then I'm going back to college. I'll update when I can, I just gotta see how the work load is this year. It might be slowed down a little bit as inspiration is being reluctant to strike, but I'm making progress. I've got a lot written out for later chapters, but you know me. I write a skeleton and then add body later. Don't worry though, it won't be another obscenely long wait.
Raven sat cross legged on her bed, staring blankly into the darkness of her room. Her mind raced with thoughts of what Wisdom said to her as she absent mindedly fingered the silver mirror in her hands. Wisdom's words raced through her head over and over. You can't be with him, Raven. There's no telling what will happen if this continues.
..beyond what you are capable of controlling. She felt her heart pounding in her ears, her breath coming in shallow.
"There has to be another way," she quietly repeated again.
She sat upright suddenly, remembering that she had a date for that afternoon. The empath bit her lip nervously, weighing her situation. It was just a date, right? Besides, it wasn't even an evening date, there was no risk of.. activities.. that would throw her emotions a curve ball.
"I can keep it under control," she tried to convince herself. Just as she thought of what could happen that afternoon, her bedside lamp flickered on and off, as if on cue. She took a deep breath to steady herself. "Azarath.. metrion...zinthos..." The pale sorceress felt her concentration slipping, her mind wandering from its task of meditation. A frustrated sigh was emitted as she opened her eyes again. She knew that it was useless to attempt meditation at that point, as she just wasn't in a proper state of mind.
"Beast Boy.." she said aloud. She was unsure of what to do, whether it would be best to explain her situation to him or to ignore it and hope for the best. As she mulled over her situation, she heard a knock at her door. She became rigid and held breathlessly still, praying that it wasn't who she thought it was. Her fears were confirmed when she heard the familiar voice of her olive skinned paramour.
"Raven, open up, it's me."
The pale skinned young woman knew she couldn't just ignore his knocking. She had told him that she would be meditating, so she obviously would have to be in her room. With a deep breath to calm her nerves, Raven walked across her room to confront the source of her emotional confusion.
The titanium door slid open smoothly and the half-demon girl smiled nervously at Beast Boy, not quite stepping out into the hall.
"Hey you," he said, beaming. "I was just talking to Star, thought I'd come find you and see what you were up to. You wanna hang out? We've got plenty of time to kill before this afternoon."
The calculating gaze of Raven's yellow clad inner self drifted through her thoughts again, and she hastily repelled the image from her mind, feeling a momentary panic. "No," she blurted out quickly. Upon seeing his reaction, she hurried to clarify. "I mean, I have a few things I want to take care of today." It wasn't the greatest cover up, but she was glad that she recovered as well as she did.
"Oh." He sounded a little disappointed. "Alright then. Are we still on for today?"
After a moment of thought, Raven made up her mind. "Yeah. We're still on."
"Awesome," Beast Boy said, perking up a bit. Raven was grateful he seemed to not notice her strange behavior. Sometimes his obliviousness helped out. "I'll come get you later," the changeling said with a wink.
"You know where to find me."
He leaned down and kissed her cheek, then turned and shifted into the shape of a dog. He barked once, eliciting a smile and an eye roll from Raven, after which he bounded merrily down the hall and through the Tower's corridors. There were always reminders of his goofiness and carefree attitude, and this was definitely one of them. Beast Boy certainly didn't only use his unusual powers for fighting crime, that was for sure. Feeling confident in that the interaction had gone well, and that she hadn't damaged any property, Raven breathed a sigh of relief and retreated back into her domain.
The day had been going by uneventfully for Beast Boy, who after leaving Raven's room went back to his own domain and took a nap. He awoke several hours later to find that he still had a while before he was supposed to meet Raven, but decided that there was no harm in getting ready a little early. Instead of sitting up and getting out of bed properly, Beast Boy rolled off of his bed onto the floor with a thud. His fall was softened somewhat by the layer of dirty clothes and random clutter that was forever on his floor. Deciding that this was an adequate solution, he rolled around on his side as he looked for a clean outfit to wear. The emerald teen was glad that it didn't take much for him to amuse himself. He tossed aside dirty laundry in hopes of finding something that seemed at least relatively clean. He transformed into a large snake and tunneled through the mounds of garments. The absurdity of his actions made him chuckle, which came out as a low hiss due to his current form.
Eventually Beast Boy stumbled upon a pile of clean clothes that he had neglected to put away in his drawers and shifted back into his lanky human form. The changeling sorted through the apparel that he had found and ultimately decided on a pair of blue jeans and a well-worn Doom Patrol t-shirt that he had kept around for the sake of nostalgia. He gave himself a quick pit check to make sure he smelled alright and gave himself a once-over in the mirror. Deciding that he looked presentable, he flipped off the light in the bathroom and set off towards the common room.
Almost immediately after he stepped into the room, Beast Boy heard footsteps behind him and turned around to find just the person he was waiting for. Raven strode up behind him looking prepared for their date, her hair pulled off to the side. Today she was sporting a green t-shirt and some rather revealing black shorts. On her feet were striped calf-high socks and a pair of sneakers. Starfire had convinced Raven to expand her wardrobe considerably over the past few months, a daunting task. While the more colorful attire took a lot of convincing, it was nothing compared to getting Raven to start wearing skirts and short shorts. It was strange, Raven had no reservations about wearing a leotard as part of her uniform, but would always be reluctant to wear shorts when in civilian clothing. Her friends found it peculiar, but then again, the mind of the team's empath was not an easy one to figure out.
"Hey babe," he greeted her with a smile.
He was met with a cold glare. "I'm not 'babe.'"
"You also said you're not Rae," he pointed out. "But you warmed up to that, didn't you?"
"I'm not wild about that one either, though."
The shapeshifting teen merely laughed and hugged his girlfriend's waist. "Are you ready to go?"
"Not yet. Almost." Raven wandered over to the nearby mirror hanging on the wall and inspected her hair, making a few last minute adjustments.
"So what's the plan for today?" Raven asked, attention still fixed on the mirror.
"We're doing something a little different than usual."
Her eyes drifted from her own reflection to his, a bemused expression on her face. "Do we have a 'usual' kind of date?"
He rolled his eyes at her, inwardly smirking at the role reversal, as usually it was the other way around. "You know what I mean. I'm going to surprise you."
"Beast Boy, does everything have to be a surprise with you? How about you let me know where we're going, just once."
"Can't do that," he taunted in a singsong voice.
Raven turned back towards Beast Boy and crossed her arms over her chest. "Tell me," she whined.
Beast Boy laughed, entertained by her display. It never ceased to amuse him to see her behave in a way outside of her usual serious, aloof manner. The pouting he found particularly hilarious.
"You're just going to have to come with me and find out," he teased.
"What if I won't go unless you tell me?" Raven asked, hoping her threat would work.
"I'm willing to take that chance," he said, unfazed.
"HEY," interrupted a loud voice from the couch. "There are other people in the room," said Cyborg as he turned back from the TV. Robin too twisted to look at the oblivious couple standing on the other side of the room. "Seriously you guys, some of us don't want to hear your cutesy talk."
"Hi Robin, Cyborg," was Raven's response, clearly embarrassed she didn't notice them earlier.
Beast Boy rubbed his neck and laughed awkwardly. "Sorry about that, guys."
Cyborg shook his head at them, his mouth a comical flat line that stretched across his face. Robin said something that was inaudible to the couple, but Cyborg responded to it with a nod.
"We're about to get going anyway, so.." Beast Boy pointed towards the door and flashed them a sheepish grin.
"Have fun," one of their couch-bound teammates called out sardonically.
As was the norm, the couple chose flight as their method of transit to the unspecified date location. Throughout the travel Raven would pester Beast Boy as to where they were headed, but he remained silent the entire time. Birds can't smile, but Raven could have sworn she almost saw a grin on the beak of the emerald eagle that flew next to her.
Upon finally reaching their destination and touching down on the ground, Beast Boy turned to Raven with his arms spread triumphantly. Raven eyed the large metal sign overhead with a bewildered look on her face. It was decorated with pictures of animals of all sorts and brandished with large, eye catching letters.
"The zoo? Are you serious?" She looked at her date increduously.
"Serious as a heart attack."
"You're kidding," she repeated, staring him down.
Beast Boy responded to Raven's remark by taking her by the hand and leading her onward towards the zoo entrance, ignoring her protests as they went. He was on the skinny side, but Raven was rather petite herself, and could not free herself from his grip and could only go along with him. Beast Boy knew that if she really wanted to, she could escape by means of her powers; he was encouraged knowing that she must have not been totally opposed to this.
The two reached the front gates to the zoo and stopped at a ticketing booth set up close to the entrance. The booth was manned by a plump brunette in a polo shirt who looked to be in her early thirties. Her nametag read 'Lisa.' She smiled at the two teenagers who stood before her. "Hi there, can I help you?"
"Two adults, please," Beast Boy happily chirped.
"More like one adult and one child," muttered Raven under her breath.
"Did you say something?"
Tickets in hand, the two Titans wandered into the zoo. Well, one wandered, the other one charged ahead like a child in a toy store.
Possessing the ability to assume the form of any animal made Beast Boy very in-tune with earth's creatures, so it was within reason that he was so enthusiastic to be around so many different animals in one place. Raven appreciated his attempt to come up with a unique date idea, but wondered to herself if this was more about his animal obsession. He could barely contain himself as he ran from exhibit to exhibit to stare at the creatures within and try to hold conversations with them. On more than one occasion he would transform into a critter small enough to get into the exhibit, in which upon entering he would shift into the creature currently occupying it. At this particular moment in time Raven was staring blankly at a green toucan that was chattering to its neighbors.
After each one of his little meet and greets with the zoo animals, he would return to Raven with a childish grin on his face and a few words about each animal. He was certainly knowledgeable about the animal kingdom, but Raven wasn't sure she really needed to hear everything about each creature that they walked by. She didn't much mind, though, as she knew it was something he was passionate about and so she let him continue his antics. After a while she managed to get a little into it, telling Beast Boy to ask each animal certain things when he dropped in to pay a visit. Who knew that aardvarks had so much to say?
Eventually the pair found their way over to the larger animal exhibits, much to the delight of the younger of the two. When they came upon a recessed exhibit with large walls to prevent the creatures within from climbing out. The large sunken area was set up to be grassy exhibit with a cave and several logs strewn about the lawn. Several large grizzly bears roamed about inside, indifferent to the observers who photographed them. Two cubs were wrestling in the taller grass, inciting some 'aww's from the crowd.
A mischievous smile played at the corners of Beast Boy's mouth as he watched the furry giants lazily roaming about. Raven's emerald date looked at her with a playful grin, which quickly disappeared as he shifted his form to take the appearance of a bear. The green grizzly sat back on its haunches and growled playfully at the bears in the enclosure, who seemed surprised at the sudden appearance of one of their kin. Several people nearby had been understandably startled and jumped back, but many quickly recognized the city's protectors.
"Hey look! It's Beast Boy!" a young voice called out.
"And Raven too!" accompanied another. Several flashes went off as nearby zoo patrons took photos of the two young heroes.
"Beast Boy, please, people are staring," she hissed, wishing desperately that she was wearing her cloak so as to conceal her face with her hood.
The changeling shifted back into his human form and beamed at the nearby onlookers, waving to admirers and thoroughly enjoying the recognition. Not one to pass up an opportunity to entertain, he transformed into a rhinoceros next, proudly displaying the green tinted horn on his snout. A nearby group of visitors to the zoo cheered and applauded as others rushed over to catch a glimpse.
Beast Boy, seriously.
Upon hearing the familiar voice in his head, he turned towards the person it belonged to, who was standing nearby looking uncomfortable as several primary school children surrounded her.
"Alright, thank you everybody, that's it for today!" he announced to the spectators, who dispersed with several disappointed sounding comments. When most of the onlookers had left, Beast Boy walked over to the person accompanying him for the afternoon. "Sorry about that," he said apologetically. "C'mon, I know somewhere people won't notice us," he said, pulling Raven along by her arm.
"They wouldn't have noticed us if you hadn't been goofing around like that," she chided as she was dragged behind her date.
"I said I was sorry," he griped, not slowing his pace at all.
The two came upon a large room fashioned in such a way as to look like a cave.
Raven read the wooden sign aloud. "The reptile house?"
"It's so awesome, come on!" he called as he marched ahead into the tunnel. Raven remained outside for a moment longer before sighing to herself and following after her boyfriend. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the darkness of the exhibit. She saw Beast Boy hanging over a railing up ahead, staring in at a sizable lizard behind a layer of glass. He was practically jumping over the railing, looking very much like a child on Christmas morning.
"Isn't this cool?" he eagerly asked upon Raven walking over to him.
"This isn't really the thrilling experience I thought it would be," she remarked dully.
He crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at her.
"But, yeah. It's pretty neat." Upon hearing this, he smiled triumphantly.
"You know, a normal person would go for dinner and a movie," Raven teased. "You and your surprise dates."
Beast Boy stuck out his tongue at her. "This is better. Plus," he snaked an arm around her waist and pulled her towards himself. "We have some privacy in here."
"You know, I'm starting to notice a trend in your surprises."
"Oh? And what would that be?" he inquired.
"They all somehow end up involving getting me alone with you in a dark, secluded place," she said, bemused.
"Now why would I go and do a thing like that?"
"You tell me."
Beast Boy flashed her one of his usual toothy grins. "Maybe I like you or something."
Raven smiled back in return. "Is that right?"
The olive skinned teen next to her shrugged, putting on an innocent face. "Maybe."
His hands dropped down lower, causing Raven's cheeks to be stained a light red. As his hand brushed against her leg, an exhibit sign located close by violently erupted into a black flame.
"I have to go," she said hurriedly, stepping away from him.
"I just.. I.. need to do.. something," she said, stumbling over her words as she tried to come up with a reasonable excuse for her sudden exit.
"Okay? Does it have to be now?"
She didn't respond to him, instead choosing to focus on chanting her mantra. A pool of black energy expanded at her feet as she prepared to escape from the scene.
"Wait, where are you going?"
"Thanks for taking me out, Beast Boy, I had a lot of fun." As the bewildered teen approached her, a bubble of dark matter grew from the pool at Raven's feet and engulfed the empath. After a moment an enormous raven made of black energy flew through the ceiling and disappeared, leaving no evidence that she had even been there.
I actually wasn't sure if Beast Boy could talk to animals when I wrote this. I looked it up and it turns out he can in the DC comics universe. Good enough for me, let's assume it's consistent in the show too.
Thanks for all the +faves and the watches and the traffic and reviews and whatnot! Seriously, it amazes me that First Date is getting this many readers even after all this time! You guys are the best!
As always, feel free to PM me even if you just want to say hi. Even without internet for a couple of weeks I can still respond to PMs from my phone, so don't be shy.
See you all soon!