Author's Note: This is an EDITED version of the original chapter. I was reading some of the chapters and wasn't satisfied with the style and am hoping to improve. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.
DISCLAIMER: Don't own nothing
With a speed unexpected from an animal of such large proportions, the Beast leaped from tree to tree with agility and graceful ease. It stopped only now and then to sniff the air, making sure that it never lost the scent of its target. After a few minutes of continuing through the thick foliage, it stopped short. The scent was definitely stronger now, especially as the Beast approached a clearing. Even from a distance, its acute senses had caught the sound of a small waterfall. The Beast was certain, even surrounded by humid jungle and its vast array of pungent smells, without a doubt, its prey was here. Letting out a soft growl, it once again stealthily approached the clearing, yet making sure to stay hidden behind in the dark security of the bushes. The Beast's ears flicked in the direction of shuffling leaves, and its eyes caught sight of what it had been pursing so ardently.
The Beast watched, breathing as silently as possible as its prey stepped out from the jungle. Another soft growl escaped the Beast, but this time, it sounded more like a contended purr. Its prey looked around as if to make sure there weren't any unwanted spectators, and moved closer towards the waterfall, and the lake that the fall emptied into. All the Beast had to do was wait for the prey to turn around, and within seconds it could pounce before the prey could react. Just as its powerful leg muscles flexed to make a leap, the prey suddenly turned around and looked at the exact spot the Beast had been hiding. The Beast couldn't help but widen its eyes in surprise...
'I know you're there Beastboy, I can sense you,' said Raven.
Beastboy shifted into his human form wordlessly. He frowned. How could she possibly have guessed where he was hiding?
'I'm an empath, remember? I can feel your emotions.'
Damn it...and I thought I was so close, Beastboy grumbled to himself, before stepping out into full view. Whatever childish retort he was about to make died on his lips when he saw what Raven did next. She dropped her cloak in one fluid motion to reveal herself wearing a fitting black bikini. Every womanly curve, every sensual swell was accentuated. The black sheen of the fabric contrasted fabulously against her unblemished grey skin. Deep in the jungle, there was nothing but the dusk light shining down on them. The buzzing of the insects could be heard from the depths of the forest. Yet there was little about his surroundings the changeling cared about now. Here, far away from civilization, far away from prying eyes he could drink in every moment with her.
And right now, she truly was a vision.
Raven turned her back to him, and dived smoothly into the lake. She emerged a few seconds later throwing her luscious purple hair back. She called out to Beastboy, 'So, are you going to drool like that forever or will you be joining me?'
Beastboy shook his head to clear his mind, and grinned before he quickly stripped down to his boxers. He chose to wade waist deep and watched as Raven swam gracefully to join him midway. She let him entwine his arms around her slim waist, as she wrapped her legs around him, and let him support her.
'You know, I'm really glad you let me bring you here. It's a great break from the Titans,' said Beastboy as he lazily moved in the water, and let his forehead rest against hers.
'Hmmm. No kidding, I wouldn't have believed how beautiful it was here if I didn't see it for myself. Upper Lumumba is absolutely breathtaking.'
'You know what else is breathtaking?' asked Beastboy slyly, as his arms wrapped tighter around Raven. She gave him a sultry smile, sending Beastboy's already racing heartbeat on a faster pace, before replying in a husky voice, 'No...please do enlighten me on that...' In reply, Beastboy lowered his head, and kissed her passionately. Raven let out a soft moan, and tightened her legs around him, bringing Beastboy closer, if it were possible. Beastboy responded with a growl and deepened the kiss, but before he could go any further, he heard a noise, and quickly broke the kiss to see who had intruded on their secret location. He continued to embrace Raven, but he let his eyes and ears search for the source of the disturbance.
'Calm down Beastboy, it's only a bird,' Raven said, pointing towards a tree close to the lakes edge. Beastboy followed looked up at the tree to indeed see...'That is the freakiest bird I have ever seen. What the hell is that?' he said bewildered. He had never seen any creature like it before. It wasn't that large, but had purple and red tail feathers the length of a peacock's. Its beak was like a hornbill's, and it had orange with yellow feathers on the rest of its body.
'Rae, I'm not sure whether that is even a species from this region...I mean-'Beastboy was cut off when the unusual bird opened its beak to cry out.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP
What the hell?
He turned around to face Raven again, but as he watched, she seemed to fade right out of his arms. Panicked, he looked around, and watched as the rest of the jungle started to fade out rapidly as well. In seconds, everything turned black, and suddenly he realized why.
With an annoyed growl, Beastboy opened his eyes and searched for the source of the high-pitched beeping noise. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, and tried to reach for the alarm clock. However, in his semi-awake state, he forgot that the alarm was near the lower bunk and before he knew it, he had leaned so far over the edge of the top bunk that gravity did the rest of the work of getting him up. Or, more down, in this case. With a yelp, he fell in a jumbled heap of limbs and sheets, while the blasted alarm still shrilled happily.
'Crapy piece of technojumble!' he cried out, more in pain then exasperation, as he finally turned off the alarm. '10:30? Only? Duuuuuuuuuuuuude...you could have given me another hour or so!' he whined. He yawned, and realizing there was no way he could fall asleep anymore. He rubbed the shoulder that he landed on. He groaned a little in pain, hoping it would not compromise his training sessions. Boy Blunder would give him a lecture he really couldn't care for. He decided he might as well take a shower before heading out to the common room to grab some breakfast, or lunch...or maybe both, if there was time. He stretched to loosen his tight muscles, and walked over to a pile of clothes in the corner. Quickly shifting into a dog, he sniffed around until he found a relatively fresh set of his uniform, and made a mental note to dump the rest into the laundry later that day.
It was only until he was under the steaming water of the shower, that he had time to reflect on the dream that he had earlier in the morning. Although he found it difficult to remember most of what had transpired, he did remember one part, or rather one person, quite vividly. His head jerked back, as he remembered Raven, and once again shook his head rapidly, hoping to rid his mind's eye of any...compromising visions.
Man, I have got to lay off Starfire's cooking. The kind of freaky dreams I've been having lately...
For the past few months now, Beastboy had noticed that his idle mind would many times linger on the dark sorceress. He couldn't pinpoint the exact moment, but one second he was just cracking jokes, and pulling pranks to get her to smile for one reason, and the next second, he was still cracking jokes and pulling childish pranks to her attention for a whole different set of reasons. And it wasn't just to see her smile, but lately he had been thinking too much about her. Whether it was just to watch her silently from a distance make her herbal tea, meditate, or read a book on the sofa, and imagine her devote that much attention on him, or if it was keeping an extra eye out for her when they were out fighting.
Of course, he cared about every member of the team...but Raven...for some reason, sparked something even deeper. It was almost like the Beast as well seemed intent on her well being, and the Beast rarely, thought much about one particular teammate. After all, it was simply an embodiment of Beastboy's raw emotions and pure instinct. Surely, anything it felt was something that Beastboy was feeling subconsciously, or why else would it react? And why now? Why her?
I mean...come on...Raven? She'd never even look at me more than twice, and speak to me even less. I mean...dude...we don't even have anything in common! Even if she said yes to one date, what the hell would we talk about? Family? She'd just damn her dad to hell...if that were even possible...and work? We do the same thing!
No common hobbies...nothing...nada...zilch...
He sighed, and turned off the shower. No time for daydreaming anymore, as his stomach let out a rather audible growl. Quickly drying himself, brushing his teeth, and throwing on his uniform, he walked to the common room to make himself something to eat. As the common room door swished open he let the scents tell him who was there, who had already been there, and what had happened so far. Hmm...coffee, toast, eggs, zorkaberries, with hints of bacon...eww Cyborg you flesh monster, hash browns, and orange juice. Guess everyone has had breakfast except me.
And then, he smelled another scent that drove all other thoughts out of his mind. A small smile involuntarily played across his lips.
Lavender incense and herbal tea.
Beastboy's eyes fell on Raven, who was as usual, sitting on the sofa, reading a book. Beastboy couldn't suppress the smile that now became a full-fledged grin. It was simply the two of them, and he called out in greeting, 'Morning Rae! Where's everyone else?'
'Firstly, good morning. Secondly, don't call me Rae. Thirdly, Robin and Starfire are in the training room, and Cyborg is out looking for spare parts for the T-car,' she droned in her signature flat tone. Not once did her eyes leave her book. She leafed over a page, ignoring the changeling. Undeterred, Beastboy said,'Oh, 'kay...uh...so what are you planning for the rest of-'
'Beastboy, I'm reading. And when I'm reading, I really don't like to be disturbed, understand?' she cut him off. Her tone may have been flat, but the sharpness in the words was not lost on him.
'Oh...right...sorry about that Raven,' he said meekly, his ears drooping a little. Wordlessly, he took out a box of Coco Pops, some soy milk, a bowel, and spoon to eat his breakfast. He sat nevertheless, in such a way that he could still see her as she read her book. For now, he was content to just sit, eat, and catch a few glances of the dark empath as she continued reading. At one point though, she must have realized he was watching her because she suddenly turned and looked around at him just as he glanced once more at her.
She cocked her eyebrow, and Beastboy was caught off guard. Shit, she caught me looking right at her! he thought. In his surprise, his spoon slipped of out his hand. It fell with a loud clinking onto the floor, and Beastboy hastily picked it up, before retrieving a new one. He nearly dropped that one too, when he heard Raven ask, 'Beastboy were you just staring at me?'
He visibly sweatdropped.
'What? Me? No! I wasn't...I would never...I mean not never...but just right now, I...you know...' he stammered. She rolled her eyes as he babbled an excuse, and simply said, 'A simple no would have sufficed,' before returning her attention back to her book.
Beastboy flushed and once again silently sat down to eat his breakfast. Real smooth there dude. If that didn't make her think you were a sleazy dork, I don't know what else will.
Never before in all their years together had she made him so self-conscious. Normally he would have laughed off her words, or made a joke to lighten the situation. But lately he found himself more quiet in her presence. A part of him, he knew, was trying to be less of the prankster, and more of the young adult that he was becoming. It wasn't even a change he wanted for the group. It was more for her.
Only for her.
He had hoped, someday, she might see him in a different light. She him was not just a team or house mate. Maybe...hopefully...something more.
Yet here he was, unable to maintain a 30-second conversation, and dropping things like a love-sick school boy.
He sighed inwardly.
Yup, today is going to be one of those days, he thought miserably.