Doesn't Have to be Him
A Teen Titans Fanfiction
Summary: BBxRae. "Because you're not Terra, or like any other fish. You're… better than fish." Why did Beast Boy ever think that fish metaphors would be the best pick-up lines to work on Raven?
Beast Boy usually loved parties.
Oh, who was he kidding – a party was nothing without him and the words 'crazy, out-of-control celebrations' were practically his middle names. He was the top clown and one of the most desired bachelors of the year; he was allowed to eat like a pig and he could party all night long without a care in the world, picking up girls and wrestling with the guys and eating pizza and tofu. What wouldn't he like about parties?
Well, there were two types of parties that he didn't like:
1) the type of party that was located in some grand mansion that required people to wear formal attire and demanded good conduct and behaviour, and
2) the type of party where it was compulsory to bring a date.
Not that he usually disliked the latter, however. It was just that on this particular night, at this particular party, Raven, the Gothic, mystery-clouded, anti-social, impassive member of the Teen Titans, although had declined when he had asked, had agreed to go with Robin, the Boy Blunder, as his date.
"Bah!" Beast Boy snarled, trying to fix up his tie in front of his mirror. There was an unpleasant scowl on his face as he stood there in his messy room. "'No, Beast Boy, I will not accompany you to the party. In fact, I'm not even going'," he mimicked childishly. He poked out his tongue. "'Trust me, Beast Boy, you won't catch me dead in a dress at a something like a social gathering' my butt! If she didn't want to go with me, she could've just said so! She didn't need to lie in my face!"
Beast Boy was wearing one of his good suits – as per normal, it was black and white. Because of the occasion, he sleeked back his usually messy green hair so it was tamed, rather than wild, which he disliked. It's too much gel… Well, at least I don't do this every day, like Robin. Spitefully, he thought, He must have some BAD morning hair.
But Beast Boy knew it was unfair to think of either of them like that. For one thing, Robin was his leader and had saved his butt a number of times – and, although they didn't always get along, Beast Boy knew that Robin was as loyal and as strong as a brick wall against the Big Bad Wolf. Plus, the only reason why Raven was even coming was because she was forced to – Starfire had contracted some sort of alien disease and couldn't attend. Beast Boy felt pity for the orange-skinned girl. Starfire wouldn't stop sneezing and coughing – every sneeze and cough either released an unintentional starbolt or fired a green laser out of her eyes. It was a good thing she'd be staying at home – they didn't want the Justice League to believe that they were under attack during the gathering.
With an aggravated sigh, Beast Boy deemed himself socially acceptable and walked out of his room, feeling silly and uncomfortable in his suit. He walked into the living room where the others were waiting.
"Well, 'bout time, grass stain," his best mate, Cyborg, grinned. "What took ya so long? You weren't fussing about your makeup and hair, were you?"
Bumble Bee lightly slapped her date's arm. "Shut up, tin man," she said fondly. "I think Beast Boy cleaned up good."
Well, Cyborg guessed it was true. After all, BB didn't look like a total penguin – penguins generally didn't have green skin. "Well, BB's here, so where are the two love birds?" he asked, an eyebrow cocked curiously.
Beast Boy unintentionally clenched his hands. "Well, I dunno," he replied, shrugging jerkily. "I thought they'd both be ready by now."
"We are," came a voice from behind him. "It's not like we'd be late, anyway."
"'Bout time, Robin!" Beast Boy snapped, swivelling around. "I was beginning to think that you were dea…"
But he stopped, his mouth falling open as he shamelessly stared at Robin's partner.
Raven had her arm linked around Robin's and she wore a beautifully dark dress. It was simple yet highlighted everything that Raven had; she wore jewelled earrings and a single hair ornament that kept her hair away from her face – it was in the shape of her namesake. Beast Boy, although found that she looked beautiful in her dress – she always looked beautiful to him – couldn't help but stare at her eyes. They were the same lavender, that same mystic colour – however, they were framed by dark lashes that enhanced them.
Beast Boy suddenly gulped down a lump in his throat.
"Nice, Rae," Cyborg commented from behind him. "You don't clean up so bad yourself," the half-man, half-machine grinned.
Bumble Bee smiled and held Cyborg's arm. "Don't mind him, Raven! You look gorgeous! Don't you think so, BB?"
Beast Boy, who was suddenly sweating and feeling nervous, stuttered, "I-I think you went a little too far with the makeup, Rae," he lied. Why was he lying? He managed a shaky grin. "Too much mascara for you."
Raven looked at him blandly. "That's what I thought too, but Robin claimed that it looked alright."
"It's fine, Raven," Robin said, glaring at Beast Boy beneath his mask. "Beast Boy's just joking, that's all."
"And besides, BB knows next to nothing about makeup," Cyborg quipped. "Anyway, we're all here. Ready to go?"
"Wait, what about BB's date?" Bumble Bee questioned.
Beast Boy scratched the back of his head. "Err… ah… She, um, said she'd be there already," he answered sheepishly. "So no need to wait! Let's just get goin' already!"
"Who is this girl, anyhow, Beast Boy?" Robin questioned the changeling.
The green man easily waved his hand in a dismissive manner. "Oh, don't worry, Rob – you'll see her at the party." Beneath his breath, he added, "Or not." He looked back up and beamed. "So what're we waiting for? Let's rev up the T-car and go!"
They all noticed his peculiar behaviour but decided not to comment further on it. They piled into the T-car and drove to Victorium Hills, the location of the party in Jump City. Once they arrived, they got out and proceeded towards the front doors.
"Hey," Cyborg said as they walked. The sky was dark and the stars blinked frequently like candle lights. The air, cool and wispy, was refreshing – it was neither too hot nor too cold and the breeze was gentle and soft. "Where's BB?" the metal man asked as he looked around for his little elf-like friend.
The rest looked around too. "He was just behind us a moment ago…" Robin muttered distractedly. "Oh well. Beast Boy's probably mucking around somewhere – don't worry, he can take care of himself." They followed Robin's example and walked up the stairs leading up to the gigantic venue, looking like a mansion. There was someone on guard at the front entrance. When they approached, the guard asked, "Names?"
"Robin with Raven, from the Teen Titans," Robin quipped. He recognized this man – he'd seen him around with Bruce a couple of times.
Cyborg added, "And Cyborg, also from the Teen Titans, with Bumble Bee from Titans East."
The guard nodded, ticking something - a checklist. "And Starfire and Beast Boy?"
"Starfire's currently ill and unable to attend," Robin informed formally. "And Beast Boy…" He looked around but didn't spot anyone who was green. "Well, I guess he'll be coming later, I suppose."
The guard nodded once more and let them inside. "Please enjoy yourself," he rumbled as they walked passed him.
"Thanks," Robin replied.
They entered what seemed like a giant hall. There were a lot of people inside, the mixed conversations creating a packed feeling. There was music in the background as a group of musicians played at the far corner of the room and there were tables of food all around the hall, along with round dinner tables with reservation numbers on them.
"Come on," Robin said, gesturing them to follow. "Our table's this way."
They followed him, eyes wandering around the room. Most people they recognized, since they were mainly superheroes. The ones they couldn't put a name to were their dates; relationships within teams weren't the usual, really – too much complications. Their table was numbered sixteen and they each sat, Robin next to Raven and Bumble Bee next to Cyborg, who was next to Robin. Suddenly, Beast Boy appeared, sitting on Raven's opposite side.
"Hi y'all!" he greeted with a toothy grin. "What did I miss?
"Where were you, Beast Boy?" Robin asked, eyes slightly narrowed despite the fact that the others probably couldn't see it beneath his mask.
Beast Boy shrugged evasively. "Meh. Just lookin' around, you know, stuff like that. No need to worry, Rob!" He puffed out his chest and tapped it with a finger. "The amazing changeling can't be hurt or kidnapped that easily," he grinned.
Raven glanced at him blankly. "So where's your date?" she asked in her usual monotone voice.
Beast Boy's eyes widened momentarily before his face broke out into a forceful smile. "Guess she's not here yet, eh? Oh well! That just means all the ladies in the room can get a piece of Beast Boy, since he's completely single!"
Raven hit him over the head rather harshly. "Don't be so loud!" she said, glaring slightly. "You want the whole room to hear you?"
Beast Boy nursed the back of his head pitifully. "Well, yeah, that was kinda the point…" he pouted.
Raven rolled her eyes and glanced at Robin. Robin nodded and glared at Beast Boy sternly. "This isn't some teenage party, Beast Boy. You have to conduct yourselves here. It's the anniversary of the formation of the Justice League – you have to be respectable. Besides, there aren't any single ladies in here to 'get a piece of Beast Boy'. Do you really want to anger some superhero boyfriend of theirs?"
"What's with you two and ganging up on me?" Beast Boy snapped. "I just want to have a little fun, that's all!"
"Aw, someone's got their nickers in a twist because their date stood them up, right?" Cyborg teased. "Chill out, man! I mean, look over there! A whole table of tofu! Guess they were expecting vegetarians."
"WHERE?" Beast Boy yelled, his attention suddenly diverted. He spotted the table of vegetarian dishes and practically jumped out of his chair. "Later, guys," he said, eyes glued and mouth already drooling. "Gotta go feast like a Beast Boy does!"
His team members rolled their eyes but smiled faintly as the green changeling ran towards the table, immediately stuffing his face with food. "BB's got the right idea," Cyborg said, helping Bumble Bee get up. "Come on. Let's chow down!" he grinned. Together, he and his date walked towards one of the 'meater' sections of the tables.
Robin chuckled and glanced at Raven. "Those two are always about food, aren't they?"
Raven smirked. "Food and video games, you mean. You're no different either, Robin. Instead of food and games, however, it's your R-cycle and your stereo." She rolled her eyes upward with a smile. "Boys and their toys."
"Hey, I thought you didn't mind my music," Robin said playfully.
"With the volume up so high I could hear it on the rooftop? Please."
Robin laughed. "Point taken." He looked around. "Thanks for coming with me, Raven. I know you didn't want to come in the first place, but since it was compulsory to bring a date and Starfire was sick… Well, thanks for spending your night here with me, anyway. It means a lot."
"No problem," Raven shrugged. "I know how important these types of things are to you. I'm sure I can sacrifice a night to make you happy, even if I'm only filling in Starfire's shoes."
Robin blinked at her, surprised. "You're not filling in anyone's shoes, Raven," he said slowly. "In no way do I see you as a replacement for Starfire. I see you as a dear friend, Raven, and really, you're irreplaceable."
Raven, despite herself, felt blood rush to her face as she quickly looked down. No, she thought. Robin has Starfire – he'll always have Starfire. With a deep breath, she calmed herself down and the colour on her cheeks receded. She then looked back up, her face once again an expressionless void. "Thank you…" She gulped – she couldn't believe what she was about to say next. "And I feel the same way too… Except about you."
The Boy Wonder gave her a smile that almost made her blush again. "Thanks, Rae."
In order to shrug off the awkwardness she was feeling, Raven remarked, "You should get some tips from Beast Boy, Robin."
"For what?" he asked, puzzled.
"Well, he managed to get in here without his date – and I thought you couldn't do so."
"Yeah, I've been wondering about that." Robin shrugged. "But it'll be alright. I mean, it's not as if anybody would notice. If they do, I'm sure Beast Boy will be forgiven – no one can really hold a grudge against him for long."
"Yeah…" Raven muttered absently. "I should know." But where was that little green changeling? She looked around, trying to spot him among the mass of chatting people, wondering where he was. In truth, she was concerned about him. Being an empath, she could sense other's emotions, and Beast Boy's were particularly in turmoil. "I'll go find him," she told Robin, standing up. "Someone has to make sure he doesn't eat ALL the food."
Robin cracked a smile. "Was that a joke?"
Raven glanced back at him coolly. "I don't do jokes, remember, Boy Blunder?" She smiled softly to let him know the truth and walked away, intending to find the only team mate shorter than her.
"Stupid Robin." Beast Boy snapped the twig. "Stupid birdbrain." He snapped the twig again. "Stupid I-can-do-everything-myself leader." He snapped the twigs until they were nothing but tiny pieces of bark. "Ooh, look at me, I'm wearing a mask and I'm so mysterious and cool." He threw the pieces (he didn't even know where he got the twig from) over the balcony, not bothering to watch as they fell on the unsuspecting guests below. Ignoring the exclamations of surprise from downstairs as the twigs dropped into people's drinks, meals and carefully styled hair, Beast Boy sighed and leaned his arms and head on the balcony.
He'd seen the interaction between Robin and Raven. In fact, he'd see it every day. It was obvious even to him that Raven liked Robin the best out of all the other Titans. It was even worse considering that they had a Bond. Robin could make Raven smile – all Beast Boy could do was annoy her. Robin actually knew how to handle her –Beast Boy just went with the flow and somehow mess things up. Robin was strong, courageous, independent and responsible, someone you could trust – Beast Boy just tried his best to be like him, yet he couldn't; he wasn't the Boy Wonder.
"Just once," he mumbled to himself, staring at the nothingness beyond him. "Just once I'd like to punch him."
"Punch who? Are you referring to Cyborg? I wasn't aware that you were that mad at him."
Faster than he could transform, Beast Boy whipped around and was met by Raven's impassive face. "Uh, ah, Rae!" he exclaimed, suddenly tongue-tied. "I-I'm not mad at Cy!"
Raven cocked a slender eyebrow. "Then who were you talking about?"
Beast Boy couldn't tell her. If he told her 'Robin' then undoubtedly she'd go all defencive and ask him why. Then the situation would get a little too awkward for his liking. "Never mind, Rae. Just talkin' to myself." It was his turn to ask her a question. "What're you doin' out here anyway? Don't you have someone else to keep company?"
Raven recognized his slightly bitter tone but chose to ignore it. "No – Robin doesn't need me. He's probably conversing with Speedy or Kid Flash." She continued to gaze at him peculiarly. "However, you, Beast Boy, seem to need some company yourself."
"Pfft," the green changeling snorted, looking away from her and leaning on the balcony once more. "A hot teen like me, needing company? Trust me, Rae, if I wanted company, it'd be easy to get."
The dark empath sensed his troubled emotions and even then, his outward behaviour was strange – why was he pushing her away? Usually, he'd be the one pining for her attention. "Listen, Beast Boy," she said calmly as she walked up to stand next to him. "Tell me what's wrong. And don't you dare lie." She gave him a sideways glare. "If you do, I'll do to you what you did with that twig."
Beast Boy gulped; yet he was also confused – Raven seemed particularly interested in him tonight. "Why do you care so much now, Rae?" he asked, giving her a mischievous grin. "Falling for me under the moonlight?"
Raven couldn't help but roll her eyes. "How very funny," she said dryly. "Now, can you please tell me what's troubling you? We've already got one sick Titan – we don't need another."
"But I'm not getting sick!"
Raven gave him a knowing look. "But in your heart, you are."
Beast Boy looked away, anywhere but her. They stood there in silence for awhile, looking at the trees overhead and listening to the music and the chatter all around them. However, they found it quite easy just to focus on the sound of the wind.
"I asked Terra," Beast Boy suddenly said, his voice slightly muted.
Raven didn't even bother to glance at him in surprise. "Terra? As in, the Terra who has amnesia and wants nothing to do with us?"
"Yep," the changeling said gloomily. "That Terra."
The half-demon sighed, feeling pity for the boy. "Oh Beast Boy…" She shook her head and finally faced him. "Why did you do that?"
Beast Boy gave an exasperated sigh and rested his head on top of his hand. "Well, I needed a date, and since my first choice turned me down, I couldn't think of anyone else." His eyes were blank and unseeing, gazing into a place even Raven couldn't identify. "I knew it was a long-shot – I mean, she made it quite clear last time that she didn't want to involve herself with me. But…" He closed his eyes. "I guess it still hurts, Rae, even if I don't feel the same way about her anymore."
Raven didn't reply, couldn't think up a reply. What was she supposed to say? She wasn't exactly the best person to go to for comfort. "I'm sure you'll find someone for yourself, Beast Boy," she said softly. At least now she'd located what was troubling him – at least, that's what she thought. "Don't worry about it. How did that saying go?" Her voice turned slightly wry as she remarked, "'There's always plenty of fish in the sea.'"
Although he was a little bit upset of being reminded of his past wounds, Beast Boy couldn't help but chuckle. "Please don't ever do that again," he joked. "Hearing something like that coming out of your mouth is just too weird!"
Raven resisted the urge to roll her eyes again. She was always rolling her eyes around Beast Boy. "Well, sue me for trying," she stated stiffly. "I'll think it more thoroughly next time before I try to comfort you." Then she made a move to leave, only for Beast Boy to snatch her wrist.
"Sorry, Rae, didn't mean it like that," he said, giving her a rueful smile. "Please stay."
She couldn't help but hesitate, glaring slightly into his green, emerald eyes. But then she sighed and complied, regaining her former position beside him.
After a few moments, Beast Boy said, "What about you?"
Raven glanced at him, asking, "What about me?"
"Why did you turn me down?"
"We've been over this," she said, her voice carefully guarded. "I didn't want to go. The only reason why I'm here is because it's important to Robin."
"And it wasn't important to me?" the boy suddenly asked, looking at her.
Raven met his gaze, her own eyes widening slightly. But then her expression eased and she looked at Beast Boy with utter impassiveness. "Why would it be important to you, Beast Boy?"
That's not fair, Beast Boy moped, looking away with a blush. You're not meant to answer my question with your own. Out loud, he asked roughly, "Why did it have to be Robin? Of all the people in the world, why him?"
Raven quirked an eyebrow, thoroughly confused. "Well, why not him?"
"Arg! Can you please answer the question, Rae? It's not fair that you're dodging it!" he stated, gritting his teeth.
She was incredibly confused. "But you were doing the same thing as well."
"You did it first!" Beast Boy retorted childishly, poking out his tongue at her. "Raven, come on! When I asked you, you almost threw me out the window. When Robin asked, you were all smiles and compliant. Tell me the truth: you like him, don't you, Rae?" So why can't you like me?
"… My feelings on the matter are irrelevant," she said, her eyes dangerously narrowed and her lips thin. "However, I'd like to inform you that the relationship I have with Robin is purely companionship. What ever you're suggesting, Beast Boy, that's not how it is."
She was getting angrier, that was for sure, but Beast Boy tended to be blind about these things. "Puh-lease," he scoffed. "Now who's the one lying?"
"I'm not lying!" Raven snapped. The balcony trembled somewhat but neither of them noticed. "What's wrong with you? Why are you suddenly so interested? Nothing's happening between me and Robin. How could you even suggest that? What about Starfire?" She took a deep breath to try and calm herself down. It didn't work very well. She glared at Beast Boy darkly. "What's your problem?"
"I don't have a problem!" Beast Boy yelled at her. "Maybe it's 'cause I'm a little pissed, alright? Doesn't mean I have a problem! I mean, who cares if you like the Boy Wonder and not me? Certainly not I! I mean, it's like what you said: there's plenty of fish in the sea."
Anger, sadness, loneliness, concern, jealousy, desire – Raven suddenly felt it all. She took a step back. "Beast Boy…"
Realizing what he'd done, Beast Boy quickly said, "No, don't go yet, just hear me out, Raven." With a tired sigh, he stood up straight and scratched the back of his head nervously. He couldn't meet her eye. "You're different, Rae. Y-You're not a… fish."
Raven stared at him deadpan.
Beast Boy continued hastily on. "I mean, no one can replace you, Raven, really. Like, if my goldfish dies, I can just buy another one, right? B-But I can't do that with you." Damn… it… he thought, wincing in the inside. Why did Rae have to suggest that stupid fish metaphor? It was only made worse when all Raven did was stare at him coldly. "Okay, okay, let me start again!" He took a deep breath, thinking that he was stupid for even doing this and that he was hopeless at confessions. "It… It really hurt, when you chose Robin over me. It hurt more than Terra turnin' me down… again. And I know you're gonna say it was only because of Starfire - yeah, I get it, but that still doesn't change the fact that you said 'no' to me and 'yes' to him. Especially since I… really… li-"
"Stop." Raven lifted up a hand in a desperate attempt to make him stop talking. Her eyes, although she tried to keep them emotionless, were swirling with emotions she knew she couldn't allow herself to feel. "Just stop." She wished she had her hood. She wished she was anywhere else but here, with him. She knew she shouldn't have come.
"No, please," Raven interrupted again, looking away. "Beast Boy, you know who I am. You know about my powers and why I have to keep specific things locked away. Whatever you were about to say, never say them to me. I won't let you… because I can never return those words."
Beast Boy ignored the shattering pain in his chest – he tried very hard to ignore it. "But you can still feel, can't you, Rae?" He took a step closer to her. "I mean, you feel it for Robin, so you must be able to feel it for m-"
"Stop it!" Raven harshly whispered. "I can't do this to you, Beast Boy. I care about you, and I don't want to see you hurt. Give up on me – it'll never work. You'll only be put through pain if you continue to…" She shook her head. "… I'm leaving."
But before she could leave a broken Beast Boy behind, he said softly, "But you're hurting too, aren't you, Rae?"
Raven shook her head and turned her back to him. "Don't you remember, Beast Boy?" she asked quietly. "I don't feel pain."
When she walked away from him, Beast Boy replied with a silent, "Liar."
They were back in Titans Tower and everyone was exhausted. They retired to their rooms early, with Robin checking up on Starfire just to check if she was okay (and that the security room she'd been placed in hadn't been blown into smithereens). But Beast Boy, although everyone else had gone to bed, could not – he was feeling restless and unfulfilled; something happened tonight that created a loose end. Something wasn't finished yet.
And he knew what it was.
He walked towards Raven's room and stood in front of the door. He knocked, not expecting an answer, and said, "Hey, Rae, it's me: your favourite Titan BB." Hey, that rhymes, he thought absently to himself.
As expected, what replied was silence. Beast Boy knew she wasn't sleeping. When he pressed his ear against her door, he could hear her uneven breathing.
"Alright Rae, listen up. And don't you dare interrupt me." He coughed into his hands. "Tonight didn't go so swell and I was a stuttering idiot, comparing you to fish and all." He heard Raven scoff slightly at the other side of the door. Beast Boy allowed himself a small smile. "But I think you got my point. And I want you to know, Rae, it doesn't have to be him. It doesn't have to be Robin. Because he's blind and stupid and he can't love you back – but… I can."
Please don't open the door now… Beast Boy pleaded. If she did, she'd see his tomato-red face, lighting up like a Christmas light bulb. "S-So, um, Rae? Just know that I, ah, I'm not Robin." Duh. "But… even with your powers, and your freaky demon side, or your creepiness… I won't give up. Not on you, Rae, ever. Because you're not Terra, or like any other fish. You're… better than fish." He almost slapped his own forehead. Great pick-up line. "…T-There's just no one else like you, Rae, and even if you push me away… I won't let you go."
There was a pregnant pause after his confession when Beast Boy was left to stew. When he couldn't take the silence anymore, his face just about to burst due to all the blood concentrated up there, he quickly stuttered. "W-Well, goodnight, Rae! J-Just to let you know, I'm not drunk! I mean what I say!" With a squeak, he said, "I-I'll see you tomorrow."
Then he bolted, blushing furiously and his heart pounding a mile a minute, not glancing back. Even though he didn't get a response, he felt elated – it was because Raven didn't interrupt him. Maybe he did have a chance after all. He grinned to himself and punched the air with his fist. "Go Beast Boy!" he cheered. "You're such a smooth-talker! You nailed it!"
In Raven's room, the dark empath leaned against the door and sighed. Her face, too, was beet red. She was glad no one was witness to her reactions but the darkness. She could hear Beast boy whistling happily to himself outside and shook her head, smiling fondly.
"Stupid Beast Boy…"
Her heart was still pounding. It was pounding even harder than it ever did with Robin.
Crap, she thought to herself, squeezing her eyes shut. Yet she couldn't stop smiling. It just had to be Beast Boy, didn't it?