Author's Note: So, I was looking at my sad little bundle of reviews on this story and wondering why it was that all my other one shot's had done so much better. Then I was like, 'Dude! The thing is, like, twenty pages! And it's totally on-line!' So then it became very obvious that to make reading this piece in one sitting mandatory was to be forcing a headache on you, my beloved readers of joy! Idea! I devised a cunning plan to a) attempt to get more people to read this story, because I'm a writer and though I would continue writing eve if no one was reading, the purpose of art is to bring happiness/thoughtfulness, and b) to make the story itself more enjoyable! Notice the clever chapter names? I am proud of myself! So, her you go! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Do I sound like someone who is tilling a profit? No, no I do not.
"Dude! We're gonna run out of air?"
"It is a possibility." Beast Boy straightened, wide eyed. He flexed every muscle in his body unexpectedly, a look of extreme concentration coming over his face. Nothing happened. A hint of panic momentarily crept into his eyes, then he seemed to remember something that made him feel very stupid.
"Right, no powers," he muttered, the slightest whisper of annoyance in his voice. "Raven, quick! Turn into a mouse or something small so you use up less oxygen!" She raised an eyebrow at him as he waved his arms dramatically. "I would do it but you're the shapeshifter now so come on! Get a move on!"
"Calm down, Beast Boy," said Raven in her usual monotone. "Worst case scenario it'll take hours before bad air even starts to become an issue."
"So... we're not going to run out of air?" It was like they were in one of those high-ropes team-building courses where one member had to jump off a telephone pole while the others caught him. Of course, the one on the pole is always terrified and doesn't want to fall and the ones on the ground end up coercing him to jump anyway. Usually what works best is some variation of 'you're not going to fall', which is completely preposterous. If you jump off a telephone pole, you're gonna fall. But you're friends are also going to catch you. Somehow, though, that part isn't really all that comforting when your stranded twenty-five feet in the air. And if the stranded someone happened to be Beast Boy with no powers, things got about twice as panicked. Lie and he gets mad later, tell the absolute truth and he has a heart attack. Raven decided on a hybrid.
"Not any time soon." Beast Boy smiled, collapsing dramatically against the countertop.
"Geez, Raven! Don't scare me like that!"
"I don't know; it's rather comforting to know that something about this situation scares you."
"Course things about this situation scare me! I just don't think it's worth the effort to worry about them."
"Well, I think it is worth worrying about. So I would very much appreciate it if you would help me find a way back to the normal world." Beast Boy vaulted onto the counter top, turning towards Raven to give her a cryptic look.
"You really are that eager to get away from me, aren't you." She didn't quite know how to respond to that. It wasn't that she couldn't stand him, she was just uncomfortable being so defenseless around someone. Sure, she probably had Beast Boy's morphing abilities, but she had no clue how to use them. And if her experiences with Starfire's powers were any indication, Raven wasn't particularly adept in non-telepathic fighting methods. She would have felt just as uncomfortable with Robin or Starfire... right? It wasn't being alone with Beast Boy that made her so uncomfortable, was it? Fortunately, he didn't seem to expect a response. "Lovewarp said we would have to admit our heart's desire to get out," he said, staring up at the ceiling.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"I don't know, that's just what she said. Then she shot us and we got stuck in here." Raven paused, looking thoughtful.
"My heart's desire is to be back in my room, my powers restored and functioning perfectly, with a good book." Whatever she was expecting, whether was the room melting away or another tickle attack, it didn't happen. Raven tapped her thigh in annoyance, her brow creasing just slightly.
"Her name's Lovewarp, Raven," Beast Boy remarked with a little grin. "Wouldn't that mean this has something to do with love?"
"As in romance love?"
"I have no romantic interests at the moment." Beast Boy jumped unexpectedly as she said that, looking around like he'd just heard thunder and was expecting to see lightning somewhere. His nostrils flared and he poked his head forward just slightly. Then he looked straight at her, frowning and twisting his mouth in disbelief, like someone who couldn't quite believe a fact they'd just been presented with.
"You're lying," he said flatly.
"You're lying," he repeated, sounding more certain this time. "You have a romantic interest. You like someone."
"Don't be absurd!"
"No, I've got this really weird feeling about it. I'm positive I'm right."
"Really, you have a feeling? Clearly I was mistaken. So, tell me Garfield, just who is it that I'm attracted to?"
"I don't know! I'm not a telepath and apparently neither are you! But I know there is someone."
"Forgive me if I don't find your feeling convincing."
"If anyone should trust this thing it should be you! I would guess you get them all the time."
"Not as often as you think," Raven said before she realized it, a slip she immediately regretted. Beast Boy's eyes lit up and a grin spread across his face. He crossed his arms playfully, clearly pleased by her oversight.
"So this is part of your powers! What is it?"
"It's called Empathy," she answered reluctantly. "The power to sense other people's emotions."
"What emotion am I sensing then?"She sent him a sharp look, causing his grin to falter slightly.
"Do you honestly expect me to answer that? A person's thoughts and emotions are... private. You can't just read them at your own leisure."
"I most certainly do not," she said indignantly. "I can control the ability. And even when something does slip through, I don't advertise it to the world!"
"You mean you don't use your Empathy?"
"Only when I have to."
"Yeah, sure. 'Only when you have to' huh?"
"Do you have a point?"
"You're lying again."
"What did we just talk about?"
"Dude, I don't know how this works! I can't just put a lid on it." Raven reached up and tucked a stray hair behind her ear in aggravation. "Besides, one of us has to be honest."
"About you own feelings, not mine!"
"You admit you were lying before!"
"No, I-" Raven caught herself before she gave away too much information again. "Can we change the subject? What else could 'admit your heart's desire' mean?"
"Your heart's desire is a love interest. You have one. Now all you have to do is admit it, and we can get outta here!"
"You've misinterpreted my feelings, Garfield," Raven stated curtly. "There are only three males I know well enough to be attracted to at all: Robin, Cyborg, and you."
"We live in the same tower, fight on the same team against the same villains on a daily basis. That tends to bring people closer together."
"There's a certain level of intimacy that naturally results from living together."
"So we're intimate."
"Yes- No! No, Garfield, not like that. We're friends."
"Yeah, but there's more."
"No, there's no more. We're just friends."
"I am not lying."
"Hey, I'm the empath now, and I sense there's more."
"No I'm not! When I said we were intimate, you did something weird."
"Wow, that's specific. Have you even considered the irrationality of your argument?"
"Dude! Empathic abilities," Beast Boy said in a sing-song voice, wagging a finger at her. She seized it and contemplated slapping him, but he was more decisive. He slipped from her grasp almost easily and grabbed her wrist softly, hopping off the counter so he was much closer to her than she should have been comfortable with. Heat rushed into her face and she met his overly confident emerald gaze as defiantly as she could. Nonetheless, there was no preventing the inexplicably warm bubble in her stomach from rising into her chest and before she knew it, Raven was outright blushing. "See," he whispered calmly. "You like me."
Raven jumped back, away from him and out of reach, pure fury burning in her eyes. "Of all the arrogant, presumptuous, vile, insolent, male things! How dare you talk to me like that! How dare you... touch me! You... you..."
"Looks like someone's getting a little emotional," said Beast Boy, smiling a very curious smile. It was bubbly and confident, romantic, childish, excited, fearful, nervous. Stated plainly, Raven was seeing a wider range of emotions in this one smile than she thought Beast Boy was even capable of. Unfortunately, Raven wasn't really in the mood to notice. "You want to talk about it?"
"No! I do not want to talk about it! I do not want to sing or write poetry about it, either! I don't want to confess feelings I don't have or continue this general conversation. Have I made myself clear?"
"Perfectly." Raven let out a small sigh of relief, a premature sigh. "Just not about the things you think you're making yourself clear about!"
Beast Boy hesitated there, murmuring to himself and using his finger to place imaginary sentence fragments in order."Yeah, that's right," he muttered.
"I'm sorry, I don't speak presumptuous idiot."
"You are forgetting two very important things right now, Raven. One: I can sense what you're feeling and two: you aren't hiding nearly as much from me as you think."
"The more you deny it, the more I know I'm right." She scoffed. "Look, I know this is weird, I'm not having the best of times myself-"
"Could have fooled me."
"But that doesn't mean this has to be painful!"
"You're the one who's so desperate to get out of here and near as I can tell you have to admit your feelings!"
"Feelings that I Don't Have! Besides, how do you know it's my feelings that matter? She could have just as easily been talking to you! Why don't you admit your heart's desire?"
"What, do you want to hear my heart's desire? Curious, Raven? Jealous?"
"Don't be ludicrous."
"That's cool if you're curious! It's completely understandable. Tell you what, I'll tell if you will."
"There's nothing to tell!"
"Didn't we just talk about this?"
"Garfield, stop pushing, or I swear, powers or not, you will never see another morsel of tofu as long as you live! And I promise that will be for a very long, very painful time."
"No need to get all defensive and hostile about it."
"I am not hostile."
"But you're defensive?"
"Just trying to resolve some issues"
"Fine, if it'll make it any easier, I'll go first!"
"Whatever you're planning, spare me!"
"I like you."
"How many times do I have to repeat it! I have no-" Raven cut herself off, a sudden, inexplicable jolt shooting through her. "What did you just say?"
"You heard me."
"Yes, I heard you," she snapped anxiously, attempting to avoid eye contact before her heart started beating loud enough for him to hear. "I did not, however, understand. 'Like' can mean a thousand different things! The fact that 'you like me' doesn't mean anything without context! You can't just say that out of the blue and expect people to understand you!"
"Raven, don't start playing dumb now," teased Beast Boy, advancing on her confidently. She took another step back, throwing him a half-hearted warning look which he completely ignored. "You know exactly what I'm talking about."
"Well, of course you like me. We live in the same tower for Pete's sake! We're friends! Good friends."
"Very good friends."
"Wow, Raven! I do believe you're flustered."
"I am not," she yelled before she could control her voice. His grin widened and she felt an unwanted blush heat her cheeks. He stepped closer. She took a deep, calming breath and stood her ground. "I am merely understandably confused by your lack of clarification."
"Do you want me to spell it out for you?" She crossed her arms determinedly. He rolled his eyes and mimicked her. "Well, the word 'like' is often used to describe a feeling of enjoyment resulting from a specific person, sensation, sound, activity-"
"Don't patronize me!"
"Fine," he snapped, rather unexpectedly. She blinked up at him once and he relaxed, looking unhappily resigned. "I was hoping there was a way to avoid this, but fine. If you want to hear it, then here goes." Raven turned her head expectantly, giving him a somewhat sideways look. Beast Boy didn't say anything, or move for that matter. His eyes were defiantly fixed on the carpet where the couch had been and he was chewing on his lower lip like a man who was searching for the right words.
"Hear what?" His eyes snapped up, trapping her in what was arguably the most intense gaze she'd ever met.
"I like you," he repeated slowly, articulating every syllable as if that would help her accept what the warm, tingly feeling in her stomach already knew.
"Yes, you mentioned that."
"No! No, I mean that I like you." She gave him a very patient look. "As more than a friend."
"What?" Her heart had stopped beating all together now and Raven was struggling to comprehend how it was she was still standing and why she was having such difficulty functioning in this situation.
"Come on Raven! For someone who's usually so sharp you sure are acting thick!"
"You're not making it easy to understand."
"Dude, can I get much clearer? I like you! I want to spend more time with you, alone time! We have fun together and I think we could have more. I want us to be together. I think you're smart and brave and beautiful and I like you!" Raven's face suddenly darkened and a defensive frown twisted her face unpleasantly.
"Yes," he said flatly, crossing his arms obstinately. "Beautiful."
"Beast Boy, that's not funny."
"I know you only ever look in a mirror to meditate, but don't try to tell me you're that naive."
"I'm a teen super hero. I am bound to attract a certain amount of male attention."
"If that's your way of admitting you're beautiful, then sure!"
"But not yours."
"Why not mine?"
"What you're saying doesn't make logical sense."
"Does it have to?" Raven paused for a moment, staring at him incredulously.
"Yes," she finally said, staring right at him, her amethyst eyes meeting his emerald. Beast Boy grinned slyly at her, making her very uncomfortable.
"Since when has anything about us made sense? When did any of this start making sense?"
"Any of what!"
"This! This glass globe, this room, that arrow. This you and me. Have we ever made sense? Have I ever made sense?"
"No," Raven admitted hesitantly. "No, you've never made much sense. Sometimes I wonder if you even know what logic is. Or how to form a rational thought, for that matter."
"I'm gonna choose not to take that as an insult," he said rather indignantly. "My point is that if I've never made any sense to you before, why would I now?" Raven set her jaw in annoyance, furious that she actually understood his logic. His assertion that she returned his affections was the least logical thing she'd ever heard him say, yet it made the most sense. She was trapped in an senseless world where the only rational course of action was to act irrationally and admit to herself Beast Boy was, on some level, correct. What a paradox. This is why she hated emotions; so complicated and unreasonable.
"You are making very serious accusations," Raven started uncertainly, trying to worm her way out of the corner she'd backed herself into.
"You make it sound like liking me back is some kind of crime! Seriously, Rae, I'm not that bad."
"Garfield, do you even understand the implications of what you're suggesting? Perhaps you can deal with the emotional turbulence that come with being in a relationship, but I have more difficulty. One fight and I could blow up the Tower! Not to mention the shift it would cause in Team dynamics. You have to consider the impact it would have on how we interact with everyone else before you just confess your undying love and expect me to reciprocate! Then there's the media, who would make our lives Hell if they even suspected anything, and the criminals. If someone like Lovewarp the Unsound trapped us in this Petri dish simply because we 'fight like an old married couple', which I'm not saying we do, what do you think that Slade would do? Robin and Starfire can pull it off because they know how to balance romance with teamwork. They're mature about it. If there's one thing you're not it's mature and if there's anything you and I aren't good at it's balance. The entire thing is just hopelessly impractical! So I suggest we both just drop this now. We should sit down and wait for the others to get us out. We can't let feelings dictate our course of action; that will only result in-"
"Raven," Beast Boy murmured, a wide, crafty grin on his face. "Stop talking." Before she had a chance to protest he'd grabbed the back of her head and pressed his lips roughly against hers. It took her a moment to register what was happening, and then another to decide whether or not she was enjoying it. With a defiant squeak Raven put both hands on his shoulders and shoved him, hard. It wasn't enough to force him away, he actually just absorbed the shock without really moving, but he did pull away from her. She threw him a very dirty look, but he just kept on grinning that overconfident grin of his. "It's OK, Rae," he said soothingly.
Thoughts were running through her head at a mile a minute as her heart threatened to explode out of her chest and her face threatened to get stuck in the expression of utter vexation caused from Beast Boy's antics and her own reaction to them. Half of her wanted to beat the life out of him and the other... 'You don't have to understand this,' whispered a little voice in her head, a very persuasive little voice. 'You did it before, you can do it again. There's no need to be rational here; your emotions can't hurt you or him. Just go for it.' Raven pouted her lips almost thoughtfully staring into Beast Boy's cryptically honest and expressive eyes. He was so, well, blunt. He meant what he said and what he felt, but what about her? She denied any attraction to him, but was that the truth. No matter how desperately she tried to reject it, the warm little bubble of joy kept expanding every time he opened his mouth or made a move. Emotions, erratic and undeniable. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of suspense, she let out a heavy sigh. "Why not," she muttered. Beast Boy started to ask what she was talking about, but Raven didn't give him much of a chance. She twisted her arms around his neck, knotting her fingers in his soft, wild green hair and, without so much as pausing to ensure accuracy, pulled his lips back onto hers. His eyes shot open in utter shock and his hands hovered uncertainly around her sides as what Raven had just done sunk in. Then Beast Boy smiled in the kiss, wrapping his arms about her waist and pulling her a bit closer. She tightened her grip, deepening the kiss and allowing herself a small, ironic smile. She'd admitted it, finally, and it felt great.
"All right, for the last time, what did you do to Raven and Beast Boy," demanded Robin as calmly and stably as he could. Lovewarp had been restrained, quite easily actually, as she had been too distracted by her success, albeit unintended, in actually hitting something. She had been dancing around in such a gleeful state that one blinding grenade from Robin was enough to subdue her and once she hit the ground it was child's play to get her into an improvised straight jacket. Now Lovewarp the Unsound was perched on the sidewalk, her wild eyes unfocused, her hair tumbling from its perch, and her rather bad teeth exposed in a crazed smirk, the same position she had occupied for the past half-hour. The Titans had been trying, vainly, to get some kind of information out of her about their missing team mates, but the most they had accomplished was to provoke her into manic fits of laughter.
"Lovewarp saw a lover's quarrel, yes she did," cackled the villain, rocking gleefully from side to side. "And it was fun! Oh yes, it was fun!"
"What did you do to Raven and Beast Boy," repeated Robin for about the twentieth time. "What is this?" Lovewarp looked at the arrow he held in front of her, her eyes lingering on the small sparkle that was the glass ball at its end.
"They're trying to get out, yes indeed. But they can't! They can't get out! Can't get away! Not away from Lovewarp the Unsound!"
"Is this where they are? Are they inside this globe?"
"Forget it Rob, she's not going to tell us anything," said Cyborg, ceasing his pacing to cross his arms and give their fearless leader an icy glance. "We should just take her back to the Tower and run tests on that arrow."
"Cyborg is correct," chimed in Starfire, hovering behind the insane woman and staring at her uncomfortably. "I believe we need to take more forceful action to get out friends back."
"Not now, guys," retaliated Robin, holding up one hand to silence his friends and staring directly into Lovewarp's brown eyes. "I think I'm onto something." Cyborg let out an exasperated sigh. Starfire made a worried noise. Lovewarp broke into peels of lunatic laughter. "Hey! Hey, listen! What are they trying?"
"Failing! Always to fail!"
"How are they failing to get away from you?"
"Throwing things! But that won't work, no, not that! Neither will that! They can't do it, they're conflicted! They can't do it!"
"Do what? What do they need to do?"
"This is hopeless! C'mon, let's go back to the Tower and get this over with!"
"What do they need to do to escape?"
"Admit their heart's desire, silly! But they can't do that, no, they're conflicted! They can't admit it, they won't!"
"What does that even mean?" Lovewarp wasn't listening. Her gaze had moved back to the little glass bit at the end of her arrow, a very displeased frown darkening her face. She started to squirm, tugging angrily at her bonds and trying to attack the little object.
"No, no! No! No, you can't escape! Not from Lovewarp! You can't escape! You're conflicted! You can't admit it! You're conflicted!" The Titan's response was highly calculated and articulate, almost perfect.
"Huh?" The arrow shot out of Robin's grasp and jumped back to where it had struck Raven and Beast Boy, quivering on its head excitedly. There was a bright flash of pink light and the glass at its tip imploded with a sharp ding. Next thing any of them knew, the arrow had clattered to the ground and rolled a yard down the street and where it had been two people now stood. Two very close, very involved people.
"Whoa! Where did that come from?"
"How glorious! Our friends have found the wonder of romance."
"Well... At least they're not hurt."
"That's one way of putting it."
"Umm, Raven? Beast Boy? Hello?" For all intents and purposes, Robin's pleas were ignored.
"They look so... happy." Raven chose that moment to shove Beast Boy abruptly and rather forcefully away from her. She gave him feisty glare and he met it with a very confused, dazed look. Then she pulled back her hand and slapped him.
"Ow! What was that for," he asked, cradling his cheek.
"Garfield, never do that again without my permission. Understood?" Beast Boy's mouth opened slightly in disbelief. Raven held his gaze, a smile twinkling in her eyes despite her stern mouth and tone. Slowly, a look of what could best be described as enlightened understanding came into Beast Boy's eyes, odd as that may sound, and a very pleased grin began to spread across his face until he was outright beaming.
"Loud and clear, Rae, loud and clear."