Hell Is For Children

Chapter 04

Usual disclaimer can be found in prologue.

***

"… what?"

"I'm sorry, Miss Roth, but this decision is out of my hands. We have a waiting list a mile long for the psychiatric ward of our hospital and Melvin's already been under our care for well over our usual allotted time without showing any obvious results of improvement."

This couldn't be happening. There was no possible way this could be happening. Raven and Beast Boy had been in New York for almost two months now, two months that had gone by in a blur of mixed emotions for the empathic young woman. She had spent every day of those eight weeks, from sun up to sun down, alternating her attentions between the boys and Melvin, who was making only minimal progress at best. Raven was finally able to pick up small traces of emotion emanating from the small girl, but they were faint at best and outwardly she seemed just as unresponsive as she had been the day of her admittance to the hospital. If Raven could have just a few more months of intense one-on-one care, she knew that eventually she could break through that shell and get Melvin back.

Apparently, the hospital didn't have the patience for that.

"How much time do I have?"

Her voice was sharp, her tone cold as ice, and she took a sick moment of satisfaction as the three men who sat before her all flinched in unison. When it came to sheer intimidation, being a human-demon hybrid definitely helped.

"How much time do you feel you need?"

"I feel, based on the changes I'm observing in Melvin during one-on-one care, that if I was given two more months, I could bring her back."

The spokesman of the three that sat before her, an older man with very little hair and wire-rimmed glasses, cleared his throat and shook his head.

"We can't spare that kind of time."

"Well then, how much time CAN you spare?"

She tried to keep the malice and hatred she felt building in her chest from showing in her tone, without much success, and the man flinched yet again before looking through a stack of papers sitting before him.

"We have clearance for one more week."

'That's not enough fucking time!' her mind screamed furiously, bringing to life for her the words she could not verbalize if she wanted to have any more time with Melvin at all.

"... fine. I'll take a week. And what happens if I can't bring her back before then?"

The room fell deadly silent and became thick with an oppressive tension as suddenly none of the three men could look her in the eye.

"Well?!"

"… she'll be relocated to a children's long term mental health facility in Washington D.C."

"And the boys? What of them?"

"Split up and placed in separate foster homes."

Raven wasn't sure which of the two statements infuriated her more; the idea of Melvin being locked away in some lonely room, forgotten and receiving only the most basic care for survival, or Timmy and Teether being taken from each other on top of all the trauma they were already suffering in losing their 'leader' and being placed in unfamiliar environments to basically fend for themselves. Teether was young enough that perhaps he would remember only bits and pieces if anything at all, but Timmy was a very delicate child and would retain those emotional scars for life.

"I see. Give me a week with Melvin. I'll find a way to bring her back. And I'll figure something out with the boys as well."

No one dared to object, and after a moment she bobbed her head once in a sign of dismissing herself and turned, exiting without another word and allowing the door to slam shut behind her.

***

'Calm down, don't lose control… losing your cool is going to do you absolutely no good at this point. You can't change their decisions, and breaking all the mirrors in this bathroom would be very, VERY expensive to replace…'

Attempting to mentally center herself was doing Raven absolutely no good. She was in the bathroom, where she had been for the past forty minutes, gripping the sides of one of the sinks with her head bent down as she fought against waves of nausea that brought along with them the almost overpowering urge to break something. She shouldn't have allowed herself to get so deep in… she should have just stayed detached, stayed cold, stayed on the sidelines and kept her nose out of their lives once they were adopted.

But she hadn't, and now it was way too late to even consider that option. She could no more abandon them than she could her teammates.

This one fact left her with a week to do the impossible.

Her stomach twisted violently and she groaned, pushing away from the sink and making a beeline for the nearest stall. There was a sharp pain in her legs as she collapsed to her knees, her body lurching forward roughly as she unloaded the contents of breakfast into the toilet bowl. Beneath her fingertips the porcelain was cold as ice and she gripped at it as though it was all that was grounding her to sanity. The involuntary tears that always come with vomiting ran down her face in heavy rivers and dripped off her chin, stinging her eyes and rising a lump in her throat that made throwing up all the more unbearable. She remained on the floor, head pressed against the toilet seat, eyes closed and chest heaving roughly, long after the sickness left her, until the sobs that wanted to come were once again at bay behind a cold, emotionless, angry, safe exterior. Only then did she rise and flush, exiting the stall and washing her mouth and face in the sink. There was much left to be done today, after all, and now time was even more of the essence than it had been before.

Raven couldn't help, however, the satisfaction it brought her to hear all the mirrors above the sinks shatter in unison behind her as she turned and exited the bathroom.

***

The moment Beast Boy saw her approaching him in the parking lot, where he stood waiting at their usual meeting spot, he knew she was in a very bad mood. It practically radiated off her, igniting the air with a negative, oppressive energy that made him feel decidedly uncomfortable. He also knew that bothering her about it would not be smart. But he had never been one to choose the smart road, especially when it came to her, so of course the moment she was within earshot he was compelled to open his mouth and say something.

"What's wrong?"

"I don't want to talk about it."

Her answer was short, to the point, her voice snippy and laced with a warning for him to not speak further if he valued his life. When they were kids, that tone would stop him dead in his tracks no matter what he was doing and render him speechless in her presence for at least the rest of the day. If anyone were to ever ask him if he had been afraid of Raven in their younger years, he would definitely answer yes without feeling a shred of shame in doing so.

But he knew her now. He knew she was sensitive. He knew she was capable of giving so much love. He knew she was afraid. And now, in this moment, even if he had no clue why, he knew she was hurting.

"Talking about it will help."

"I don't care. I don't want to talk about it. Let it lie."

The explosion was there, festering just below the surface of her cold exterior. He could see it in her lavender eyes, which had never lost their wide, child-like appearance even through the years in which she had transitioned from girl to teenager to woman.

Rationality told him to let it go. It wasn't worth getting her upset, and all that would result out of it would be a huge fight, words that were said out of spite and anger that meant nothing, hurt feelings, and even more awkwardness between the two of them than already existed.

But he loved her. God help him, he had loved her all along, loved her from the moment he met her, and seeing her try desperately to hide her suffering dumped upon his shoulders the weight of suffering for her. He could not endure that in silence.

"Raven, please…"

"GOD DAMNIT, GARFIELD! Why the FUCK can't you just let it lie?!"

He had not expected such intensity or volume out of her, nor had he expected her to address him by his real name, and as a result he was rendered speechless and could only stare at her blankly as she whirled around to glare at him, her fists balled up at her sides and her entire body shaking in restrained fury. Only now, in this moment, could he truly see just how small she had become, how exhausted she looked, how two months had all but destroyed her.

"I swear to God, you are the world's biggest dumbass! You're a fucking nag, you never listen, and you act like you're still ten fucking years old! All you ever do is push, push, PUSH! Why can't you just leave me alone?! Why can't you just keep your green little nose out of everyone else's business?!"

All the concern he had felt for her suddenly vanished, only to be replaced by a fury of his own that clouded his judgment and stole from him any ability to remain calm or civil. He had pushed her and he knew it, but his concern for her happiness and well-being did not warrant being treated as though whatever was bothering her was his fault. She had snapped off at him often in the past two months, and while he had been able to allow her snide comments to roll off his back for the most part, the way she was treating him now was the straw that broke the camel's back.

"Well, excuse me for giving a shit!" he snapped back, meeting her glare head-on and watching as for just a moment her expression changed to one of shock before immediately reverting back to anger, "I don't know what's got you so pissed off, but it's NOT my fault! Has it ever occurred to you, for even just a second, that I only push you because I CARE about you?!"

"I DIDN'T ASK YOU TO CARE!"

He opened his mouth to reply, only to be stopped by the yellow cab that pulled up to the curb beside them. They stared at each other for several moments in tense, fuming silence before he pulled the door open, perhaps a bit more harshly than needed, and indicated that she should get in.

"I can open my own door, thanks though," she snarled hatefully, circling around to the other side of the car without taking her eyes from him until she had opened the other back door and slid into the seat. He grumbled angrily under his breath but left it at that for the moment, sitting down next to her and slamming the door shut before buckling his safety belt. Raven gave the man directions and then crossed her arms over her chest, making it a point to ignore Beast Boy entirely as they made the ten-minute ride home in silence. The quiet did nothing to diffuse the tension between them, but rather made it worse as they arrived at the hotel and Raven practically leapt from the vehicle, storming off without bothering to shut her door or pay the driver.

"Raven! What the fuck?!" Beast Boy yelled after her. She threw him a dirty look over her shoulder in reply and he glared at her in return before fumbling in his back pocket for the twenty dollar bill he knew was there. He handed it to the driver, apologized for both their moods, and then shut Raven's door and rushed inside after her.

***

Beast Boy arrived upstairs just as the door to Raven's bedroom slammed shut, and he stormed across the small living room, foregoing the politeness of knocking as he threw his shoulder into the wooden barrier and sent it flying into the wall. She whirled around to look at him, her anger melting into astonishment as he approached her and placed his face inches from hers.

"Of course no one ASKED me to care…" he hissed, following her as she instinctively took two steps back to attempt to place distance between them, "no one had to. I care because I want to."

"Well, STOP caring! Did it ever occur to you, for just one second, that maybe I don't WANT you to care?! That maybe I don't want you here?! Go home, Beast Boy! Go back to Jump City where you belong, and leave me the Hell alone!"

They were screaming at the top of their lungs now, each daring to step closer to the other with every word that was said, an unspoken dare on each person's part for the other to back down and give up the fight. Despite the pain fighting with her put him in, at the same time it also made Beast Boy feel strangely alive. For the first time in all the years they had known each other, she was communicating with him with all of her walls down.

"NO! Absolutely not! I'm not leaving you in one of the largest cities in the country to face something like this alone! Like it or not, you're stuck with me!"

"THE HELL I AM! One call to Robin will change all of that! I'll have your ass on the first flight out!"

"FOR FUCK'S SAKE, RAVEN! WHY ARE YOU BEING SUCH A BITCH?!"

She opened her mouth to reply, but he didn't give her the chance to. He wasn't sure what exactly had snapped within him, but he was done listening to what she had to say.

"All you've done for WEEKS now is be a total bitch to me! It seems like no matter what I do, something sets you off! You treat me like I'm here to make things harder on you than they already are! Why don't you stop trying to push me away and let me in instead?! Let me be the friend that I want to be and that you need!"

"I don't NEED --"

"SHUT UP! I'M NOT DONE TALKING!"

She jumped back as though he had struck her, though her face reflected no fear, and he once again compensated for her movement by taking a large step forward to place them face-to-face once more.

"I'm sick of taking your shit. I'm sick of being your emotional punching bag. But you know what I'm sick of more than anything else?" he paused to lick his lips, and she was smart enough to give no verbal reply but rather a slow shake of her head, "I'm sick of watching you fall apart. I'm so fucking sick of watching you suffer alone when I'm right here with you. Have you LOOKED in the mirror lately?! Have you seen how much weight you've lost?! You look HORRIBLE! This is part of the reason why Robin sent me with you! You can't take care of yourself when you're this stressed! It happened when everything went down with your dad, and it's happening now!"

Silence fell over them once Beast Boy finished and he looked to Raven, whose face had gone strangely blank and emotionless. They stared each other done for several moments before she stepped forward, placing them chest-to-chest and lifting her head to meet his eyes directly.

"Are you done now, Beast Boy?"

Her voice was ice-cold and dripping with venom, and he nodded wordlessly as he mentally prepared himself for the retaliation that was coming. He had worn her down – it was obvious in her sudden change in attitude. This was her last wall, her last line of defense. He had to be ready to take it on.

"Good. Let me explain something to you. I don't need you. And not only do I not need you, I don't need ANYONE. You don't understand me, you don't know me, and you never will. So, I suggest that you start packing your things, because I'm going to go call Robin, and you're going to be on the next flight out back to Jump City. Now, I know that sometimes you seem to have issues with understanding basic concepts, so I just want to make sure there's no confusion. You're leaving. I don't want you here. Do you understand?"

The urge to hit her was nearly overwhelming, if for no reason other than to see some form of expression in her eyes other than smugness and superiority, even though she was not smiling as most would be. His fists clenched and unclenched at his sides and he settled instead for reaching up and grabbing her shoulders, shoving her against the wall she had somehow backed herself up against. She cried out, more in shock than in pain, her violet orbs wide in disbelief as he whispered, his voice shaking and his tone feral,

"I never implied that you needed me. I said that I'm here because I want to be, and because I know you want me here even if you won't admit it. You don't treat the people who love you like this, Raven."

"Get off me."

"No. Not until you stop being such a right-royal bitch and apologize. I don't have to take your shit."

"I said get off!"

Her voice was slightly panicked now, though she refused to let that be seen in her eyes, and he tightened his hold on her and pinned her securely against the wall, holding her steady despite her struggles that grew more intense with every passing moment.

"And I said NO. I care about you. I love you. I've loved you all along. And I'm going to prove that to you."

And before either one of them could fully comprehend what he was doing, Beast Boy had closed the short distance between them and was kissing her.

Immediately Raven's struggles intensified as she made shocked noises of panic that were muffled against his lips, and as she brought her right fist up to strike him he released her shoulder and grabbed her wrist, pinning it against the wall. She attempted the same move with her left fist and it joined its partner, restrained above her head, and once she realized she was completely immobilized, he felt her body go rigid against his.

'She's gonna kill me… oh Christ, she's gonna KILL me…' Beast Boy thought frantically, though somehow he couldn't bring himself to pull away from her or release her from the vice-like grip he was holding her in. Only when his brain began to become fuzzy, realizing that the act of breathing had been temporarily halted, did he break himself from her and pull back.

"… Raven… I…"

"NO!"

Her cry was explosive, but what she did next was not what he had expected. Both her wrists broke away from his grip, but rather than hitting him as he figured she would, she instead threw herself into him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and reconnected their lips with an intensity that screamed of desperation and desire. That fuzziness returned full-force and he did not try to fight it, following sheer instinct instead and moving to cradle her at the small of her back and the nape of her neck. Her fingers slid into his hair and played at his scalp as her back arched inward, pressing her supple breasts and smooth, strong stomach against his torso. They were both moaning, both gasping, both rapidly becoming slick with sweat as their mouths danced fervently and their tongues played for dominance.

It was only when she felt the soft comforter at her back that Raven realized that they had traveled to the bed, though she had no recollection of being moved and Beast Boy had only a distant memory of picking her up and transporting her there. His mouth broke from hers and forged a trail down her jaw line and over the smooth plain of her neck, and as his fingers worked deftly at the buttons of her blouse she slipped her hands under his shirt, dragged her nails down his back, and whispered against his ear, breathlessly,

"…please, Garfield…"

The cool evening air was invigorating against the exposed skin of her shoulders and stomach as suddenly the soft fabric of her blouse was pushed away from her body, and her mind had no time to contemplate how he had managed to undo her shirt so quickly before his palms were pressed against the small of her back and his mouth was moving steadily lower, forging a hot path over her collarbone and down towards the crest of her breasts and dear God she was going to drown in him.

And she hoped, if she did, that she never came back up for air.

Things were moving so fast, too fast for her muddled mind to take it all in, but even as she found that he had undone her bra at the back and had pushed the cups up over her breasts to expose them that she was not embarrassed or ashamed, but rather suddenly shy as his eyes roamed over her, taking her in. She wanted to ask him if he liked what he saw, which was odd because she had never been one to look for anyone's approval, for anything, but it seemed that she had time only to blink before he was laying over her, one hand rolling her left breast against his palm, the other working at the button of her pants, his mouth warm and erotic as it closed over her erect right nipple, the flicking of his tongue against the sensitive nub sending shockwaves down her back. Her hands shifted, sliding out from under his shirt and up his back to push her fingers into his hair, and she clenched the soft strands in her fists, arching her back to press her body into his.

"Touch me… touch me touch me touch me please touch me…"

And then, suddenly, he WAS touching her. The buttons of her slacks were undone and his hand had slid between her underwear and her body and his fingers were touching her, softly exploring the wet folds. She moaned loudly, a noise born deep in her throat, a noise that escalated into a scream of pleasure as he pushed even further, past those folds, and suddenly his fingers were inside her.

"Oh Azar, oh God… oh God oh God…"

Raven struggled to find cognitive thought, rationality, not so much because she wanted to object (because, dear Azar, that was the LAST thing she wanted to do), but more so because she felt that she was missing so much in her half-coherent state, and that she was giving him nothing in return for all he was giving her. She wanted to say something to him, say anything to him, but she couldn't break her focus from the pleasurable sensation between her legs long enough to form an even semi-intelligent sentence. Her legs and hips were shaking, her body damp with sweat, and the fire inside her stomach was growing, it was becoming an inferno that was creeping down her legs and up her torso and at any moment it was going to explode…

She groaned loudly in protest when his fingers suddenly left her and the heat spreading through her veins was halted, but as he began to kiss his way slowly down her body, his hands hooking under the waist of her slacks and the band of her underwear, she somehow realized what he was going for and obediently lifted her hips to assist him in shimmying her clothes down her legs. They were tossed aside haphazardly to find a new home on the floor, and Raven felt her butt and lower back lift from the bed and her knees settle on his shoulders moments before the heat of his mouth touched her at her core at the fire began to move once more. Sharp cries of ecstasy escaped her lips as her fingers twisted the sheets up in firm fists, her body writhing and thrashing almost violently as his tongue pushed in and out of her and his hands firmly palmed her buttock. The trembling in her thighs had returned, stronger now than before, her blood turned to liquid fire that rushed through every inch of her being and set every nerve alight simultaneously.

"Please… please please please… Garfield, PLEASE…"

Her voice was sharp, high, breathless, and in reply to her desperate begging he pressed himself closer to her, delving his tongue deeper inside her and with such intensity that it would be uncomfortable if it was not so pleasurable that it drown out any pain. The world began to spin and Raven closed her eyes against it, feeling the heat that had started in her stomach finally consume her body entirely, rising a deep blush to her usually-pale face and making every inch of her skin hyper-sensitive to the touch. It was so close… it was so close she could almost taste it, could almost feel it, would have sworn she could reach out and make physical contact with it if she was able to find the words to express such a thing.

And then, suddenly… something shifted. She wasn't sure if it was him, or her, or if her body suddenly gave way as she had been begging it would for what felt like hours now, but the heat rushed back down into her stomach, leaving her limbs feeling like they were coated in a cold sweat, and then within her there was an explosion. Liquid ecstasy shot through her veins and fireworks exploded behind her eyelids as every muscle within her tensed and released in unison, a pattern that occurred repetitiously until the scream of euphoric joy that rushed past her parted lips died off and she collapsed against the sheets. She was trembling, gasping for air, and the sound of oxygen being dragged roughly into her lungs was harsh and coarse in her ears. His face appeared above her, his arms engulfed her, and she gave him a weak but sincere smile as he kissed at her cheeks and eyelids and stroked his hands soothingly over her back. She was half-aware, half-coherent, but was responsive enough to be able to help him shift her into a sitting position in his lap. Fleetingly her mind wondered when he had undressed himself, but her curiousness faded quickly as he assisted her out of her unbuttoned shirt and unhooked bra.

There was no discomfort when he entered her. She wasn't sure if that was because she was already so ready for him, and her muscles were so weakened that she wasn't sure if she could tense them even if she wanted to, but whatever the reason, there was only a slight stretching within her and a warmth that filled her and made her feel whole. Even the breaking of her hymen on his first thrust was only mildly painful at best, a light burning that faded as quickly as it had come once they found rhythm against each other. The heat returned, more intense than it had been before, and her body found energy she didn't realize it had as they made love, as she clutched herself against him, screamed into his chest, met him thrust for thrust. When her body gave way for him once more, it was a different sensation than the first one had been, but by no means less pleasurable.

"Shh… Raven, it's okay… it's okay…"

He was kissing her cheeks and eyelids again, and as she came down from the euphoric high and rationality returned, she realized that she was sobbing, drawing in deep breaths of air that rocked her entire frame. When had she started crying? She wasn't sure, but now that she was aware of it, she found she couldn't stop. She found she didn't want to stop.

"My… my… my kids… they… they're taking…"

Full sentences were something she could not produce right now, but Beast Boy didn't need her to spell it out for him to understand what had made her so upset earlier. He clutched her closer, rubbing soothing circles on her back, as he eased them both down against the pillows and withdrew himself from within her.

"I won't let that happen…" he whispered into her hair, kissing her forehead tenderly, "I'll figure something out… you won't lose the kids."

"I… I'm sorry… don't… don't go… I didn't mean… I was a bitch… I…"

Whether her struggle for words was a product of her near-hysterical sobbing or a growing frustration with herself, he couldn't tell, but he pressed two fingers against her lips to stop her.

"I know. I know you didn't mean it. I'm sorry for what I said too."

It seemed as though there was more she wanted to say, but the weeping seemed to overtake everything else and she pressed herself into him, her small hands clutching at his shoulders as she soaked the hair that covered his chest with hot, bitter, salty tears. He held her possessively, cooing broken sentences into her ear, words that had no meaning but held significance to her and somehow managed to sooth her broken psyche back into some form of working order. The sobs tapered down into sniffles, the sniffles into hiccups, and finally the hiccups into the deep, even respirations of an exhaustion-induced sleep.

It was only after the death-grip she had on his shoulders relaxed that he dared to move, shifting away from her and rising to make sure the front door was locked and all the lights shut off. He stopped in the kitchenette that was really just a refrigerator, stove and microwave taking up space in a small dining room area to get a glass of water from the jug in the fridge, leaning against the counter and staring out the small window at the traffic that still zoomed around in the middle of a New York night. The clock on the microwave displayed a bold 1:32 am, much later than he thought it was, and he realized with a deep yawn that rumbled in his chest that he was exhausted after several hours of fighting, making love, and soothing away her tears that seemed as though they would last forever.

How would she act towards him in the morning? If there was one thing about Raven that hadn't changed in the slightest after all the years they had known each other, it was that her reactions to situations were impossible to read or understand. It was endearing, if not extremely frustrating, and something that he knew he was too worn out to worry about right now. When daylight came and they were both awake was when he would know.

He stopped off in the bathroom before returning to her side, and long after he had slid back in next to her and covered them both with the sheets he stared at her, memorizing the contours of her beautiful face; the sharp line of her jawbone made fuzzy by the pale moon light that came in through the window, the high rise of her cheekbones, the length of her lashes that fell across the small bags she had always had just under her eyes. She really was amazing, in every way, shape and form possible. His fingers played with her hair, his arms opening to embrace her as she rolled into him to press her face against his shoulder, and he kissed her forehead and whispered confessions he did not have the courage to admit to her in the waking hours until exhaustion gripped him entirely and he drifted down into a deep, dreamless slumber.

***

TBC

Author's notes: the sex scene in this chapter took me forever and a fucking day to finally finish. I've written it out by hand many times before, but was honestly really displeased with the way previous attempts had come out. I hope that this version is as fun to read as it was to write. It should be mentioned that a lot of the details towards the end were cut out on purpose, for several reasons. Mostly, I don't want to shit their pants on me and delete my story because of the whole "no sex rule" (this is why parents need to actually MONITOR their children. I shouldn't have to curb my creativity because you can't handle your child, asshole). Secondly, because it is primarily written from Raven's point of view, I wanted to show just how muddled and fuzzy her perception was. I hope I achieved that goal.

Chapter Five up as soon as midterms are over! And as always, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who takes the time to read and review!