It had taken a week for Raven to allow Beast Boy into her presence again. The team, hoping to avoid another scene, had helped to isolate the two. The previous day she had ventured silently into the Ops Room, sitting on the opposite end of the couch. Everyone had frozen, tensed for battle, but she silently scanned her book. She didn't even look up at Beast Boy. She did, however, eat dinner with the team, and that meant one thing: She was finally forgiving him.
To celebrate, Robin suggested they go out for pizza. Despite the loll in crime, the team hardly spent bonding time, mostly opting to take advantage of the slump so they could explore hobbies. Now was certainly a time to get together, to celebrate "The Thaw", as Beast Boy had termed it.
The creation of personal sized pizzas made the typical fight over the type of pie obsolete. That did little to stop the usual animated debate of meat vs fake meat. As of late, Starfire had taken up the argument, rigorously exalting the wonders of Mustard.
Raven looked to her right, exchanging a small smile with Robin. As annoying at their little quarrels could get, sometimes it was nice to get back to the basics. It reminded her of back when the team first started. If someone had told her she would look back on those first years so fondly, all nostalgic, she would have laughed. Even the most grating nuances were now cherished traits, things that made the Titans what they were.
Funny how things can grow on you, like mold on a soy-and-tofu pizza.
"Hey, Rach!" The greeting broke her musings. Her head whipped up, locking eyes with a deep brown pair. Her heart throbbed and sunk in the same instance. Those eyes could only belong to one person.
"Gabriel." Her tone with expressionless, hiding the slice of pain that radiated with every rapid heart-beat.
"Frigid as always." A smooth, seductive voice drew Raven's eyes away. Whatever pain she had felt was gone, lost in an undertow of breath-taking anger. She exhaled, trying to calm herself.
"What a surprise, to see you both here. It's quite a ways away from the hour motel." She flashed a fake smile at the girl, watching with a sense of satisfaction as she glowered at the innuendo. Raven wasn't far off, judging by how tiny her skirt was. The two stared at each other, a mini-nuclear war exploding between them.
"Did Raven just… burn her?" Both girls turned to shoot Beast Boy a deadly glare. He "eep"-ed and ducked behind Cyborg, who had paused eating midway to his mouth.
"Is everything ok, Raven?" Robin's attention shifted between both girls, trying to determine the threat.
"Peachy." She spat, clenching her hands beneath the table.
"Hey, knock it off, Blaire." The newcomer turned back to Raven, ignoring the snort from his companion. "I- we were, um, worried about you." The man- Gabriel- fidgeted under her skeptical gaze when it turned to him. "Honest, Rach."
"Well, as you can see, I am perfectly fine." She gestured vaguely. "Sorry to disappoint you." The silence between the three stretched.
"Um, who are you?" Beast Boy finally caved under the pressure. Raven turned to him, all ablaze with concealed fury- but instead of backing down: "And why do they call you Rach?"
"Her name is Rachel." The other girl replied with a scoff.
"They are no one of consequence." Raven inwardly smirked- Gabriel had the decency to look wounded. Of course, she knew he wasn't. He was just saving face, like always: the perfect poster boy.
"I'm Gabriel, but I guess you know that. This is Blaire." He awkwardly shuffled in place a moment. "I'm sorry we met under such circumstances. Though I believe we've met from afar."
At this point, Blaire had taken to fervently examining her polished nails. Satisfied she had won the round, Raven took to meditating in place. Though it was not her ideal, she needed to stop the tornado of pain and anger coursing through her. She could feel the dark energy gathering around her clenched hands, hidden under the table. She chanted under her breath, grounding herself with an untouched slice of cheese pizza on her plate. The conversation continued around her, barely registering to her.
"No offense, but I think I would have remembered someone who Raven was so hostile with." Robin radiated confidence, his arms crossed defensively over his chest in that pouty way of his. He had stood when the hostile exchange began.
"We weren't always like this."
"Speak for yourself." Blaire added, still looking sour.
"Oh, I remember." Starfire gasped, drawing the attention. "This is the friend of Raven which was at the tango show!"
"Ah, yes. At least someone remembers." He gave her a weak smile, obviously upset that he was no recalled earlier. "Did Raven not tell you about me?" He looked at her; she could feel his eyes on her. She flushed deeply, still ignoring everything. Please, Beast Boy, stay quiet. Please, don't be smart now!
After a small silence, Robin supplied: "Not really. Raven's personal life has always been personal."
She heard him exhale deeply, probably after running a hand down his face. It was what he did when he was upset or annoyed. At least he was showing some type of emotion towards her.
"Look, ok? I don't want to fight. I'm sorry we've pissed you off. I just want our manager back. We need her back, ok? Raven, we need you." All eyes shifted to the half-demon. Knowing she couldn't ignore anything now- and since her emotions were more under control- she leveled with his eyes. They were still breath-taking, the way they sparkled and shone. "You know you can't walk away. You can't risk it anyways. You know what will happen if you don't."
"Is that a threat?" Robin jumped in, resting his hand on his belt. It was a warning with a clear message: mess with one of the Titans: mess with all. Raven rested a hand on his, gently removing it from his belt.
"No, he's right. I know the consequences." Raven stood, not meeting anyone's eyes. She could feel the tension from her team, now that her own emotions were not masking them. She offered them a tight, forced smile. Hopefully, it would reassure them, but she doubted it. She face the other two, muttering: "I will see you both tomorrow at practice."
She turned towards the door, obviously planning on leaving. The angst piercing her chest was going to tear her alive. She just needed to get away, to meditate alone somewhere. As she passed between the two, someone grabbed her hand and twirled her around. She was facing Gabriel, wrapped in his arms. She almost swooned, but caught herself.
"We have a lot to talk about. Please don't-" Slap!
Raven cut him off with a resounding slap. She heard a variety of gasps from behind her. His face was already tingling red. She could only imagine how much it much hurt, because her own hand was numb.
"Don't you DARE." She growled out. "I will see you tomorrow." Her portal swallowed her up without another second passing.
"Well that was…" Beast Boy broke off, not sure how to finish. No one else bothered.
Beast Boy was worried. It was dark- hours after the incident at the pizza place. No one had heard or seen Raven since she walked out of the restaurant, leaving them all with a ton of questions. After a quick discussion, they decided she would- as usual- show up when she settled. Maybe she would answer their questions, but most likely she wouldn't.
They had pieced together the little information they had, but still were left with more questions that anything. Even Robin, the logical one of group, failed to make any sense of it. They were all resigned to the fact it would likely be yet another mystery filed under the "Raven" section of their memories.
Everyone except Beast Boy, that is.
Even though he wasn't the intellectual of the group, he held the missing key. Even if he wasn't part animal, he could identify human emotions and their reasoning in a heartbeat. He smelt the sweat, heard her racing heart, and nobody missed the obvious animosity between the two pale girls. He watched the hurt flash across her face- he read into the cool, detached voice she used when trying to hide something. And he had an idea about what.
He thought back to a night weeks ago- when Raven was drunk- and the day after. She spoke about thinking a man was her soulmate, but he cheated on her. Surely, that explained everything.
It was all so apparent, even an idiot could see.
Obviously, Raven was in a secret lesbian relationship with Blaire, who had cheated on her with Gabriel. She, of course, wouldn't want anyone to know, so she made sure it sounded like a man cheated on her. It was just the level of ingenuity she was infamous for, the crafty demon. Well, half-demon.
Beast Boy was also a man of action. He understood what needed to be done, and he was just the man to do it. He would track the woman down, and choke the truth outta her.
Since it was nearly eleven, and midweek, none of the creepy cafes would be open. She wasn't in her room, and the park wasn't her style. If she were anywhere in this dimension (which she might not have been), there was only one place left.
"I thought you might be here." He grinned widely, looking at the outline of Raven in the moonlight. She sat still, even when he squatted beside her. "I know what happened. It must have been hard, having your girlfriend cheat on you. I mean, that Gabriel guy was attractive enough."
"Excuse me, you think what?" Beast Boy scooted away. Raven was literally shaking with anger. He stammered, trying to determine what to say to evade being murdered.
"You think I am a lesbian?" Beast Boy let out the breath he was holding. She was laughing.
"Well, it's good you can laugh about it. It still very fresh, I'm sure."
"Beast Boy, I am not a lesbian."
"Oh, well… what?"
"Beast Boy, Gabriel cheated on me, with that, that thing called Blaire."
"Oh, so you're not a lesbian?"
"No, Beast Boy, I prefer men." She paused, glaring at him. Her emotions switched in a second. "Do I look like a lesbian?"
"No! No! I was just being dumb, and stupid, and, and Iamreallysorrydonotkillme!"
"At least you admit it." She was laughing again. He tried to pretend to be affronted but ended up laughing along with her. "Thanks, Beast Boy… You always make me feel better."
"It's what I do." He felt his chest swell at the praise. He gave his trademark goofy grin to her. "So, where do you know those guys?"
"I manage their act at the club." She paused, rolling her eyes at his duh. "We met at a tango class- what? We had a lot of free time after the Brotherhood fiasco. Gabriel was my partner. He was way better than I was." She grinned self-consciously, "I'm really a terrible dancer. Anyways, he wanted to take the act on the road, but I didn't. So, I found him someone who would: Blaire. That one came back to bite me." She laughed, but instead of the light chirp, it was dark.
"Well, I'm sure you weren't a terrible dancer."
"And why would you say that?"
"Well you're pretty graceful… on the battlefield I mean."
"How would you like to eat those words?"
"Rachel, are you asking me to dance?"
"Are you chicken or something, Garfield?"
"Low blow, Ray."
"I believe you started it, Gar."
"You'll have to teach me."
"I'm an excellent teacher."
"Do go easy on me, Teach."
"Come on, let's dance."
Grounding in PTSD: "Grounding techniques are essential to help people remain focussed and in the present. They can be used to prevent arousal from getting too high during trauma reprocessing."
These can also be used to calm any overwhelming emotion. Grounding involves examining something- the feel, appearance, taste, smell, ect. People use it all the time, for instance, staring at something to keep from crying.
If you were wondering Raven was grounding a pizza. -.-
I know, your mind exploded. Two updates in a week. :P
Anyways, now on to the main plotline. If I may say a word on it?
I had originally had a different idea, but I lost that outline a lonngggg time ago. -.-' Anyways, I created a new one, and I'm really proud of it. Yes, it will involve Gabriel, Raven, Blaire (who is Mascára) and Chispas (will be introduced again later) as well as a couple other newbies. I'm excited, but I've never really written action scenes before, so I'm a little worried.