A/N: Here's another one I forgot I had written, except this one I had on a notebook. Are you guys glad I pulled out that notebook and started some spring cleaning? This has been not-beta'd at all, k? So, forgive any errors, and if you feel like being a sport, review with any errors you see, yeah?

Disclaimer: I don't own; I make no money.

By Em

"The manner of giving is worth more than the gift."
-- Pierre Carneille, "Le Menteur"

Raven looked down at the shiny, nearly reflective, bright red surface of the package in her hands and wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

"What is it?" she asked, holding it with all the care one might use for a ticking bomb, as she tilted it just slightly and felt its innards shift.

Robin chuckled. "Well, unless you've developed the ability to see through cardboard, you're going to have to open it to find out."

"I mean," she glanced at Robin, "what is its purpose?" she asked. At his raised eyebrow, too much like her own (it was slightly disconcerting to her sometimes how many of her own mannerisms she was starting to recognize in him), she hastened to explain before he could offer another witty, yet utterly facetious, remark. "Why are you handing it to me?" she asked. "What am I to do with it?"

"It has the illustrious purpose of being a gift from me to you," he answered her first question, obviously highly amused. "I am handing it to you because I can't expect even someone with your varied talents to enjoy a gift if I don't actually hand it to you, and I expect you to unwrap the package and see the damn thing," he finished, answering each of her questions in turn.

"But--" she paused to look at it again. "Why are you giving me a gift at all?" she asked.

"Do I need a reason?"

When her expression answered that clearly he did, he chuckled.

"It's February 14th." At her look of expectation, he sighed and smiled at her. "Valentine's Day?"

Her expression cleared into immediate understanding, followed by a very brief flash of panic, finally settling into calm once again. When she was under control again, she deposited it right in his lap.

"I cannot accept this," she said stoically.

Robin was surprised. "What? Why not?"

She flushed and looked nervous for all of three seconds before noticeably clamping down on that emotion as well.

"I cannot," was all she offered.

"Raven," he started. "This is the day to celebrate love and friendship, and I don't really care if you don't feel that you can express any of that yet, but there's nothing wrong with one friend giving another a gift on Valentine's Day."

She appeared unconvinced.

"You accepted Starfire's gift."

"Is that why she gave it to me?" Raven questioned, more to herself than to him, but as his clearly amused nod, she sighed. "Well, I had no choice in the matter when it came to Starfire, did I?" she explained.

"Of course you did."

"It is not the same," she insisted.


Raven could not think of an adequate response.

"Because she's a girl?" Robin offered.

"Because she gave everyone gifts--"

"So have I."

Raven looked skeptical.

"I did," Robin insisted. "Just because I didn't go about giving them out in front of everyone..."

She seemed to be weakening slightly.

"You accepted Beast Boy's gift."

She looked at him, eyebrow raised. "I hardly think a hug qualifies as a gift."

"But you did accept it."

She inhaled, as if to gather patience. "Again: I had no choice."

"Well, you didn't threaten him."

She shrugged. "What would be the point?"

"And you accepted Cy's gift--"

"I couldn't exactly return it once it had been built, could I?"

Robin raised a brow. "So, it's just my gift you cannot accept?"

She faltered, and as she thought of something to say, he went in for the kill.

"Can you not accept a gift from me on the day of love and friendship?"

Raven frowned and he knew he had her. So he put the box back in her lap.

"If it makes you feel any better, I can't return my gift either." He stood up and grinned at her. "I won't even stick around to watch you open it," he said. "We'll just work on getting you to accept a gift from someone this year, shall we?" he asked. "Wouldn't want to push you, or anything."

Finding herself unable to come up with another excuse, she nodded mutely and looked down at the package again.

"We'll leave the work on the 'I love you's 'till next year," he added casually, already halfway across the roof.

Raven, for her part, froze and didn't actually get around to seeing the simple and perfect gift inside the box until she came out of her shock much, much later.


A/N: Does it matter to anyone that I don't say what the gift is? What any of the gifts are? I was feeling lazy and didn't want to go researching what kinds of gifts any of them would give her.