Rise of the Beast
A Teen Titans Fanfic by Quill N. Inque
I do not own Teen Titans.
Chapter 18: Beginning Anew
Raven felt strangely hollow as she slowly returned to the waking world. An inexplicable, empty feeling permeated her core, almost like a black hole of nothingness, and Raven knew what it meant.
To put it simply, her magical gas tank was on empty.
Memories of her final confrontation with the Beast flooded Raven's aching brain. For just an instant, sheer panic threatened to overwhelm her, but such negative feelings died just as quickly when Raven heard Beast Boy snoring softly from the hospital bed beside her.
That, in and of itself, made the whole traumatic experience worth the risk it posed. In any case, Raven knew from experience that magical energy never faded completely. That was the funny thing about magic: no matter how much you used, it would always replenish itself. But such things could take time, and given the amount of metaphorical juice she had used in her last-ditch attempt to save Beast Boy, Raven concluded that it would take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for her magic to build back up. And because of that, Raven knew immediately that she wouldn't be joining her friends on any missions for a while. That was irritating, of course, but given the alternative, a little time off didn't seem so bad.
Besides, she thought dryly, I'm so exhausted that I couldn't tag along even if my powers were functional. I'm actually somewhat surprised the spell didn't kill me. Not that I'm complaining, though…
Her bleary, purple eyes focused on Beast Boy's unconscious form.
Or, at least, he HAD been unconscious a few seconds ago.
Beast Boy gave a lopsided grin as their faces met. "Hey."
Raven smiled back. "Hello."
The changeling glanced around the sterilized white walls. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
"You know exactly what," Beast Boy replied, his voice still husky. "That…THING beat me, Raven. I lost, and so many people paid the price! How many died on Halloween, Raven? Ten? Twenty?"
"Try 'none'," Raven replied. "True, you managed to wreck some stuff, and a few dozen police officers are nursing bruises and broken bones, but frankly, I think it could have been a lot worse."
"So when do the men in white coats come to take me to the funny farm?" Her friend asked bitterly. "There is no WAY the city's gonna let me stay here after what happened."
"Hate to crash your pity party, BB, but nothin' like that's gonna happen." Cyborg's cheery voice interrupted as he and the other Titans hurried inside the sickbay. "I won't lie to ya, there are a couple of higher-ups who ain't too happy, but from what we heard, most of 'em actually felt really sorry for ya."
"What?" Beast Boy was clearly confused.
"While you were both recovering, Robin, Cyborg and I went to speak to the city's High Overlord," Starfire said. "We enlightened them as to the incredible suffering you have endured recently."
"What Star means," Robin clarified, "is that we spoke to the Mayor and the City Council on your behalf. I think their pity more than made up for any irritation they felt over a few damaged sidewalks and windows."
"And, of course, a six-billion dollar bribe from the People On High didn't hurt, either," Cyborg snickered.
"Who?" Now it was Raven who was perplexed.
"Girl, you gotta read the paper once in a while," Cybor snorted. "I'm talkin' about the Justice Leage, Rae. They've been keepin' a closer eye on Titans around the world, ever since the Brain tried to pull an Order 66 and wipe us out."
"What's Order 66?"
"My GOD, Raven!" Cyborg was clearly horrified. "Have you NEVER seen Star Wars?"
"In any case," Robin finished, "The municipal government decided to cut you a break, since you've helped do so much for the city. They'll probably insist that you pass a psych test, too, but that's about it."
"And please do not insist on accompanying us on missions," Starfire pleaded. "You are both exhausted, and you need your rest."
Beast Boy sank deeper into his pillow. "I'm not complaining."
Raven shrugged casually, but the fact of the matter was that being able to spend some quality time alone with her boyfriend was very appealing. "Fine," she conceded, struggling mightily to hide smile on her face. "I guess it could be worse."
"Got that right," Cyborg agreed, and he spared a glance at his still-damaged shoulder to punctuate his point.
The message was not lost on Beast Boy. When he spoke, his voice was ashamed. "I'm sorry, guys," the changeling said. "I hope I didn't hurt you too bad, Cy."
"Don't worry about it," Beast Boy's erstwhile friend waved a hand. "As soon as I'm able to get down to the garage, I'll be fine."
"We're gonna leave you both to recuperate," Robin said, handing Beast Boy an unlabeled DVD. "Here's a little something to keep you occupied."
I don't need a movie to keep me entertained, the changeling thought. Not when Raven's already captured my attention. But it was a considerate gift, and he responded accordingly. "Thanks, dude. I'm sure me and Rae will enjoy it."
A mysterious smile hovered on the Boy wonder's lips. "Oh, you'll LOVE it. The movie seemed very…appropriate."
With that cryptic parting statement, Robin and his fellows left the infirmary, closing the door softly behind them as they made their exit.
Raven groaned as she sat up. "How do you feel?"
"Me, too," Raven agreed. "But on the bright side, the Beast is finally gone. He'll never trouble you again."
"You killed it?" Beast Boy asked incredulously.
"Not exactly," Raven admitted. "I merely reduced it to such impotence that it will never be strong enough to try and pull something like this. The Beast is still there, but you won't be having conversations with yourself anymore."
"So, it's alive, but caged and muzzled?" Beast Boy looked at his girlfriend with hope shining in his eyes.
She couldn't help but chuckle. "That's one way of putting it. How about we watch that movie Robin gave you?"
"We don't even know what movie it is!" the changeling protested as Raven plucked the disc from his hand.
"There's only one way to find out." Raven spoke as she sat heavily on the side of Beast Boy's bed.
For a moment, the screen above them heralded the "fast forward signal", to be replaced by a very well-known scene from a certain Disney movie. Raven's eyes widened with delight at the unspoken message the tape held, and her hand strayed toward his as Mrs. Pott's angelic tones wafted through the speakers:
Tale as old as time,
True as it can be,
Barely even friends, then somebody bends,
Unconsciously, Raven snuggled closer to him, and Beast Boy's face turned crimson as the song continued:
Just a little change,
Small to say the least,
Both a little scared, not a one prepared, Beauty and the Beast.
Ever just the same,
Ever a surprise,
Ever as before, ever just as sure,
As the sun will rise!
Unbidden, tears began to obscure Beast Boy's vision. The song could have been written for him, and his heart lurched at the next verse:
Tale as old as time,
Tune as old as song,
Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change,
Learning you were wrong!
Raven's soft hands gently turned his face away, and for a moment, the two stared at each other wordlessly, for their eyes said more than words ever could. Then, slowly, Beast Boy and Raven embraced as the melody reached a crescendo:
Certain as the sun,
Rising in the east,
Tale as old as time!
Song as old as rhyme!
Beauty and the Beast!
Tale as old as time,
Song as old as rhyme,
The movie continued, but despite the masterful work of Disney's animators, it failed to gain the couple's attention. In fact, Beast Boy and Raven never so much as glanced at the TV.
They were hopelessly lost in the simple, sweet happiness of being together.
A/N: And so we have reached the conclusion of my humble tale! I sincerely hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it! And avery special thanks goes out to all the people who reviewed my story! To X's Shadow, CrypticMoonFang, BBxRavenLuvR, BornBlindtoBeauty, and all the rest, I send my gratitude for all your warm reviews and helpful criticism! ^^ I have truly been honored by such an enthusiastic reception, and it gives me great joy to present this final chapter as a gift to you all. In conclusion, my friends, it has truly been a privilege to write for you, and I hope to see you all again soon!
Your humble servant,
-Quill N. Inque