Three Women Wearing White
A Raven and Aqualad One-shot
Garth watched as Raven directed the clean-up crew around the fancy banquet hall. She was barefoot, her high-heels sitting next to a matching, small clutch purse on the table. Her hair was pinned up into some intricate design that looked like it took hours to complete, and she was wearing the brightest shade of pink he had ever seen.
"The pictures need to be boxed up and returned to the tower. And don't forget the cake topper!" She sighed and fidgeted with her hair, as if she wanted to run her hands through it, but couldn't. Garth doubted it even moved with all the hairspray in it. "Damnit. I told Bruce to just have this stupid thing at the party at the tower, but no it wasn't good enough for him. We had to have it here, where I can't trust a single employee with properly packing a photo frame."
"Do you always talk to yourself?"
Raven spun around, turning a color that matched her dress, and Garth smiled in response to her shocked gaze. "Garth! Oh my god, I didn't know you were still here! It's so late." She glanced at her phone, checking the time and frowning. "It's almost one in the morning, shouldn't you be heading back to the tower?"
He shrugged. "I will eventually. I just thought I'd see how you were doing." He raised an eyebrow as he surveyed the workers, diligently doing what she asked, and swearing up a storm. Not that he blamed them, he was almost positive that Raven would have been a slave driver. "How did you get stuck with this job? Shouldn't you be heading back to the tower now?"
"Not yet." Raven laughed, a small smile peeling across her lips. She pointed to herself. "Maid-of-Honor. I get bequeathed with all kinds of wonderful titles and jobs. Clean-up crew. Wedding planner. Designated driver. Oh, and bathroom dress holder." She gave him a sarcastic smile and Garth snorted. "That one's my favorite."
Garth laughed and leaned back on his heels, watching her. Of course she looked exhausted, she'd probably been doing this all day and hadn't stopped for a moment to breathe. And she had probably done it last month at Terra and Garfield's wedding too, and would probably do it at Victor and Karen's wedding next month. The poor girl needed a break, or she was going to fall apart any moment. "It looks like they're almost done here, let's say we go for a walk." He grabbed her hand and started for the door, feeling her tug at his hand."I think they can handle the last few pieces, you need a break."
"But..." Raven started to protest, until Garth turned around and raised an eyebrow at her, and she just sighed in response. "Oh, alright. But I need to stop back here and make sure everything has been taken care of." Raven grabbed her high-heels and purse, and followed him out of the hall. It was unusually quiet for Jump city, and Garth liked it that way. Raven would be a little calmer if there wasn't something to worry about every three seconds.
"There's a park across the street, let just sit for a while."
Raven glared. "I've got stuff to do, Garth." He turned and glared back at her, until she snapped her mouth shut, calling him something rude. "Fine. I'll take a break. Jeez, you'd think I was committing a crime the way you keep staring at me."
Garth chuckled. "Almost." His eyes turned serious as he watched her walk next to him. "You're really going to wear yourself too thin if you don't take a break every now and then." He led her across the street to a small, quiet park that over looked the bay. Through the spring mist, they could see Titan Tower's lights flicker on and off. Garth sat down on a bench, tugging at her hand until she followed. "You've got Bee and Cy's wedding next month, and last month you had Terra and Beast Boy's." He cocked his head to the side. "What about yourself?"
"I don't get time for myself." Raven smiled and gently punched his shoulder. "I'm a Titan. You should know how that works."
Garth didn't know whether to trust her judgment or tell her she was going to break-down any minute. "Raven, I'm serious. I don't want you to break down because of stress." He grabbed her hand, running his thumb over her knuckles. He saw a blush cover her cheeks again and there was something satisfyingly male that liked knowing he could do that to her.
It was no secret that he felt something for Raven. He was always trying to find excuses to come to Jump, and for the past three years he managed to find an excuse to see her at least twice a month. As far as he knew, Raven hadn't figured out his secret yet. To her, he was just a really good friend, who was always there. At least, that was what he assumed. Lately, she'd been a torrential storm of emotions, and he couldn't get a good read on her. Garth just chalked it up to stress from the weddings, but there was something else behind it, he just knew it.
"I'll be fine, Garth." Raven fidgeted for another moment. "Stop worrying about me."
"It's my job." Garth brought her hand up and kissed her knuckles. Raven turned a deeper shade of red, her mouth falling open a little in shock. She snapped her hand away and glared at him, but he just laughed. Raven, of course, kept the frown on her lips.
"You're going to get punched in a second, Garth." He put a few extra inches between them, he knew when to raise the white flag with her. Raven flashed a smile at him. "I always knew you could listen." There was a pause and Raven kicked off her shoes again, digging her toes into the dewy grass beneath them. "So, why are you out here so late? Shouldn't you and your date have gone back to the tower for a roll in the hay?"
Garth jerked back from the harshness in her words, she'd never been so upset with him. "But, I didn't have a date. You knew that."
Raven raised an eyebrow. "You marked 'two' on your response card."
"Oh." It was his turn to blush, and Garth stared at his hands, folded in his lap. Of course she would have known about that stupid mistake. After all, she planned the whole damn shebang almost by herself. "I... was actually hoping you might come with me. But then you got so busy and I forgot to ask." He rubbed the back of his head. "Sorry."
"Oh." Raven looked away, clearing her throat. She fidgeted with the hem on her mini-dress, avoiding his eyes. "I didn't know."
"I..." Garth shrugged. "I'm sorry... I guess I just didn't want to bother you." Raven nodded and stared out at the bay, still not looking at him. Garth sighed and leaned back into the bench, watching as a barge slid through the still water. Minutes passed, he wasn't sure how many, but it felt like hours before either of them spoke again. This time it was Garth. "So... how does it feel, to have everyone settle down?"
"Besides me?" Raven turned and laughed, but it didn't feel right. It seemed forced and awkward, like she was trying to hide pain behind it. "I don't know. It's weird. Cy and Gar are going to stick around and help me train the new hires, but Robin and Star are going to Bludhaven." She shrugged. "It's almost sad... to watch everyone go their own ways. As silly as it seems, I guess I just assumed that we would always be together. But, life happens."
"Life happens." Garth reached out and grabbed her hand again, but this time she didn't flinch.
"You know... I really would have liked it if you asked me to go with you..." Raven's voice was barely above a whisper. It was so quiet that Garth thought he might have been hearing things. But the color of her cheeks confirmed her words. "It would have been a nice gesture."
"It wouldn't have been just a gesture, Raven." Garth moved a few inches closer and looked into her eyes. She pulled back a little, but not far enough to stop his advancing. "I would have wanted to go with you." He sighed and leaned back into the bench again. "Did you ever wonder why I always found reasons to come to Jump? Why is was always just me and not the team?"
"Sometimes." Her voice wavered slightly. "I thought it was strange that you always came alone... But I just figured..." Raven blushed and turned to the tower. All the lights had turned into darkness except the red ones to notify aircraft. The world seemed so still, as if everything had stopped to listen to their conversation. Garth watched her tug at her hem, still avoiding his gaze.
"You figured what?"
"I..." Raven cleared her throat and looked back at him, trying to hide the soft blush on her cheeks. "I figured you came for Starfire."
Garth had to fight to keep his laughter under control. For Starfire? Sure the girl was sweet, but she wasn't exactly the person he turned to for conversation. Nor was she the kind of girl someone like him fantasized about. Raven on the other hand... Garth blushed a little and looked away. That was something he didn't need to think about right now. "I didn't come to see her, Raven... three years and you still can't figure it out?"
"I... no, not really." Raven chuckled. "I guess I can be a little dense sometimes. I don't expect to be the object of anyone's affections."
"You're a little more than the object of my affections." He laughed and reached out to smooth a stray hair away from her face.
Garth leaned a little closer. "Would you mind? Being my date for Cy and Bee's wedding next month, Raven?" He watched her swallow, still fighting to keep herself composed. She nodded slowly, and Garth in a move that was completely out of character for him, captured her lips in a searing kiss. He caught the whispers on her protests and silenced them. For a few moments he wanted to forget about the white dresses.
So... I'm not exactly sure what this is... My intention was to do a flash-piece on Raven/Aqualad because someone had suggested it on my blog. So I guess this is what it is? I would really like to do something a little longer and a bit more involved, so I guess I'm really just testing the waters (no pun intended) to see how this goes. Meh. Let me know how you feel.
Also, I have a poll on my profile page for my summer writing. Which of my Teen Titan's stories should I write a sequel for. Let me know what you think. Thanks!
With Love Always: Xaph!