There were twelve days remaining until Christmas. Throughout Jump City the weather was frightful. But if you were a resident living within a reasonable distance of the mall you might be there, either able to report to work or to shop. If you were a titan, chances are you would have no trouble getting there if you needed to be, even in such snowy conditions.
Two such titans were Raven and Beast Boy, under cover, wearing holorings designed by Cyborg, there under civilian names Rachel Roth and Garfield Logan. They were the last with shopping unfinished. The others, Robin, Cyborg, and Starfire, had completed theirs already. Raven had yet to buy something for Starfire and Beast Boy had yet to find something for Raven. Even though she listed a few choice ideas, he wanted it to be something personal.
Beast Boy and Raven had been dating since the end of the summer. The titans had long since destroyed her father Trigon and exiled to places unknown the Brotherhood of Evil. Wherever Slade was, whatever he was preparing, he has not surfaced in some time. The titans were enjoying a long deserved break from crime-fighting.
In spite of the weather, many managed to make it to the mall. Raven, as usual, was not a fan of crowds, but thanks to the holorings she was as anonymous as the rest. No fans to hound her or her boyfriend.
A couple of years after coming to Earth and being with the titans she started celebrating Christmas, at least beginning with the eager insistence of Beast Boy and Starfire. She warmed up to helping with the tower's décor and gift exchange, and eventually to watching Christmas specials. Once their popularity with the public grew they participated in charitable events and at times, including Christmas, invited orphans, much like they themselves are, to the tower for a day. These sort of events somehow lifted Raven's spirits seeing, as well as sensing, the happiness of those the titans helped, more so than ever since the burden of suppressing her emotions had been lifted.
But recently something in her changed. While externally looking happy about the things the titans did together and for the public, inside something about Christmas seemed lacking, and up to now she had kept silent about it. Here at the mall with her boyfriend she decided to confide in him how she felt.
"Gar?" she asked as they walked side by side.
"Is this all there is to Christmas?"
Beast Boy stopped, as did Raven.
"What?" he asked, puzzled by her question.
"We've done the same thing each year since forming the titans, sort of forming a tradition like everyone else who celebrates Christmas. That's been great and everything, but is that all Christmas is about?"
Taking her hands in his, for her he smiled, not smugly but rather a gentle, loving smile. "Of course not, Rachel. But what say we hold that thought until after we've finished here, okay?"
After a moment, with a single nod she replied, "Sure." And with that Beast Boy went his way to find something for his girlfriend while Raven went after something for Starfire.
Beast Boy was about to bypass a shop when something in its window display caught his attention. He considered the ensemble before a great idea came to him, one that would complete his gift search. Additionally, the set inspired him with a way to answer Raven's question about Christmas.
In a corner out of the public's eye, so as to remain anonymous when he pulled out his communicator, Beast Boy contacted Cyborg. "Cy, can you rig my communicator to hack into the mall's PA system?"
"Uh, what for, B?" asked his metal amigo.
"Rae's feeling conflicted about Christmas. I just wanted to share something with her, something I hope the public likes, too. Please, Cy?"
After a pause Cyborg agreed, sensing in his best friend's voice a genuine request and not an idea for some juvenile prank.
Beast Boy headed for the three story mall's central thoroughfare on the main level where there were a grand fountain - currently disabled and drained to sport the mall's Christmas décor, including a mock miniature workshop where sat a jolly old man in a red suit waiting to hear children's gift requests for Christmas; a clock and escalators to and from each level. There he waited for Raven by the fountain.
Beast Boy, where are you?
Raven was contacting him via a mental link.
At the fountain, Rae. Come on over, I have something to tell you.
When Beast Boy spotted her, shopping bag in hand, meaning she did find something for Starfire, he agilely mounted the fountain display without transforming and sneakily turned on his communicator. Over the PA system Beast Boy heard his own voice.
"Everyone, may I have your attention, please? And for those of you wondering where I'm speaking from, I'm at the fountain on the main floor."
He paused while many in the vicinity looked his way, including patrons and workers peering from nearby shops.
"I was asked a question a while ago by my girlfriend about Christmas. I would like to share with her what it means." He took a moment and cleared his throat. "And there were, in the same country, shepherds, abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night when lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them and the Glory of the Lord showed 'round about them. And they were so afraid. The angel said unto them, 'Fear not. For behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising GOD, saying, 'Glory to GOD in the Highest. And on Earth, peace. Good will toward men.'"
Following that he received cheers and applause from scores of shoppers and workers. Beast Boy turned off his communicator before dismounting the display. Then he walked up to Raven.
"Gar, that was… that was…" She wanted to tell him how captivating his monologue was, but found herself unable to get out the words.
Beast Boy simply placed his hands on her shoulders and said, "No, Rachel. That is what Christmas is all about. Ready to go, now?"
Snapping out of her daze Raven realized her boyfriend was still empty-handed. "What about you? You still haven't found anything, yet?"
"Don't worry I know just what to get. I'll have it by Christmas."
Then hand in hand they left the mall to return to Titans Tower.
Christmas Day had arrived. In the days leading up to it the titans held their traditional festivities. For Raven, she took time to reflect on Beast Boy's speech from the mall and it gave her a new perception of the holiday. She felt he had somehow given her a gift, and she was grateful for that gift, as much as she was for him being a part of her life.
Minor threats where the team was called in for were swiftly dealt with so that the titans could carry on with their holiday celebration.
Beast Boy seemed rather busy during the remaining days, to the others' bafflement. They would seem him from time to time, coming around with a few extra bags, but he kept much to himself, saying they had to do with his last gift. He would say nothing of their contents.
The gift giving commenced, with Cyborg acting as Santa Claus and handing out the presents. Everyone received great gifts. But Beast Boy had yet to present his for Raven. He had asked Cyborg to leave it over by the Christmas tree as the last gift, covered on a small table.
Beast Boy invited them all over to it. "Merry Christmas, Raven," he said before lifting the cover.
For them all, but more so for Raven, it was the most incredible display. It was not some customary Nativity scene, but one rather unique.
"I made it myself," confessed Beast Boy.
The figures were not of Joseph and Mary and a Baby Jesus, but of the titans themselves, including a few select others, in place of the traditional figures. Beast Boy crafted himself in place of Joseph with Raven as Mary. Their "son" was a pale, grey-green infant with more streaks of purple than green in his hair, although his eyes were a shade of green, set in the manger. Robin, Cyborg, and Speedy were the wise men. Bumblebee, Kole, and Wonder Girl were featured as maids carrying goods-filled baskets. Melvin and Timmy were featured as drummers; Teether was, too, but for a baby he was shown hitting with his hands rather than drumsticks. Atop the stable was Starfire as the angel.
Beast Boy's gift to his girlfriend was extraordinary indeed, and while his friends marveled at his craftsmanship, Raven thanked him for it with her most loving kiss yet.
"Merry Christmas, Beast Boy."
"Marry Christmas, Raven."
A/N: This one-shot was inspired by the theme of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and the monologue of Linus Van Pelt quoting the Gospel of Luke.