A/N: MERRY CHRISTMAS! And welcome the 2010 Annual Robin/Raven Teen Titan Holiday Fic Fluff-Fest! This started out, I feel I should mention, as a response to one of the challenge fic I write (I think it was the Hugs – Stuff Like That There – challenges) where the theme was "Fur". This was one of three possible scenarios I had dreamed up. It was also a response to the fact that way back when, quite some time ago, I had decided that I wanted to write a few of the more notorious cliches in fandom. This was my attempt to write a "Blanket Scenario" fic. You can probably imagine what sort of fic is waiting for you beyond this note, can't you? "Blanket scenario" and "Fur"?
So, then it turned into a Christmas fic, because Miami (where I make my home) has been suffering through a cold spell while two radio stations have been playing nothing by Christmas music, and writing about cold weather just sort of turned out this way.
I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: As usual, not mine.
Dedication: This fic is dedicated to all of you wonderful readers who come back time and time again to read my stuff and who don't even threaten to kill me when it takes me months (years?) to update some of them. Love you guys!
Let it Snow
"All the way home I'll be warm..."
- Let It Snow, Standard
He had been dreaming of swimming through warm water, of seeing a figure of a woman swimming just out of reach, calling to him and felt his limbs weighted down. He hadn't had any trouble breathing, and he felt just fine where he was, and if it hadn't been for the intense curiosity about who it was asking him to swim to her, he would have been content to stay right where he was.
In the dream, he managed to swim closer, and the light shining down on the woman illuminated long strands of dark hair floating around her head, catching in jewel colored eyes, but keeping her face in shadow.
He reached for her - just managed to touch her outstretched fingers with his, and then, in the way of dreams - woke up.
Consciousness descended even while his eyes were closed and he felt the stiffness in his muscles, but he knew he was laying down on his back. He frowned as he realized he wasn't laying on his bed and was having some trouble determining where exactly he could be.
He wouldn't have fallen asleep on the floor of his bedroom, would he?
He blinked open his eyes and was assailed by the sight of brownish fur. He blinked a few more times, but the fur was still there. What was more, the moment he exhaled, it moved and promptly tickled his nose.
It took a moment's concentration for him to confirm that yes, there was brownish fur hanging close to his face, he was laying on his back on a hard floor, in a strange place where he couldn't see the ceiling, and what was more, there was a very bare -possibly female - arm draped across his very bare chest.
Anyone not as cool and collected as Robin tended to be who woke up in such a situation and didn't remember how they got there might have reacted quite a bit more drastically than Robin's calm appraisal of the situation.
He turned his head to the left and saw the roughly human shaped mound under a pile of dark brown fur and something soft and silky on the inside material. His eyes traced the shape, trying to determine any bit of information that might help him identify the person next to him, but they were completely covered by the heavy, warm blanket.
He tried to move his arm and realized only secondarily that his hand was touching bare, warm, soft skin.
'What the hell happened?' he wondered. The last thing he remembered was the mission - traveling to the Klamath Mountains somewhere between California and Oregon at the request of the locals to deal with an attack of what they were calling 'big foot'.
He remembered the briefing with the local authorities, remembered reaching the location, remembered Beast Boy in dog form searching out tracks from the last known location, Cyborg's mention that his scanners were screwed up because of the cold weather and Raven remarking that the sky looked like snow...
Starfire had suggested they split up - he remembered that too. She could take to the skies and look from above. Beast Boy, having found no tracks he could pick up in his dog form, would shift into an eagle and join her in searching from the sky while Cyborg would stay behind with the T-Plane to fiddle with the scanners and try to get them to work. Raven, even in her long pants, heavy coat, mittens and heavy winter cape had been feeling the cold and thought it best if she didn't tax her powers by attempting to fly, so he had decided it best if she stay with him and search from the ground.
He remembered looking through his long-range binoculars at some movement in the adjoining ridge, his communication from Cyborg being abruptly cut off to static and Raven's serious voice calmly stating they should start back because the storm was approaching much faster than they had anticipated.
Starfire had hailed them and started to tell them she could see the storm rushing in, but she too got cut off before she could finish and when he turned to look at Raven, she stepped forward toward him and was suddenly gone.
She never screamed.
He dived for her, heedless of the fact that he had no better way of stopping their fall than she did, but once he grabbed onto her, he searched blindly for a grappling hook, even if he didn't know where he'd try to grapple to, she clutched at him and he turned them mid air so that his back would be the first one hit by the branches and bramble as they fell. He shot a grappling hook blindly, and although it slowed them down, the limb it caught on broke and they continued to fall.
Some feet away from the ground, they stopped suddenly and when he looked at her face, it was tight with concentration. She met his eyes and with a cry like of pain, released whatever hold she'd had and they fell the rest of the way to the ground, hitting hard.
He must have been knocked unconscious then.
Blinking as the arm across his chest twitched slightly, then shifted so that cold fingers were suddenly tucked between his ribs and the blanket wrapped around him, he started to notice other things, such as the fact that there was a heavy warmth pressed into his left shoulder, and a line of warmth along his left side and that if he tried, he could feel the thrum of a calm and steady heartbeat alive inside that warmth.
It had to be Raven.
It was the only logical answer he could come up with. 'After all,' he reasoned, what were the odds that some other female came upon him in the woods and stripped to lay down next to him under a fur blanket?
'Then again,' he qualified, 'what were the odds that Raven would?'
And where would she get a fur blanket, anyway?
He felt the stirrings of a headache and frowned, realizing it was pointless to continue that line of inquiry. Despite however unlikely it seemed, the woman lying next to him must be Raven. She was the last person with him when he lost consciousness, anyway.
And when he managed to gather enough strength to move his arms, he'd pull aside the fur covering them and confirm that.
'And what then, exactly?' he asked himself.
The headache blossomed behind his eyelids and he closed his eyes and forced himself to take deep, steady breathes.
The warmth from the body against him seemed to intensify for a moment, but then she moved, pulling away from him and shifting under the blankets, but ended up still pressed against his side, only without her arm around him.
"If you don't stop thinking so hard, you're going to give me a headache, too," came the muffled voice from within.
He recognized the tone, even if the voice was still muffled enough so he couldn't quite make it out. "You're awake?" he asked, finding his voice hushed.
"I am now," she replied, shifting again, but not (much to his surprise) away from him. Instead, he felt her back arch against his side like a cat seeking warmth. "Could you possibly be any more stiff?" she asked shortly.
"What?" he asked, trying very hard to not think about the possible double meaning to that question.
She sighed, he saw the mound of fur rise and fall with the action, and before he could determine what she was doing, she had turned around and he felt the brush of skin as she lifted her arm to pull back the fur from over her head.
Raven stared back at him; purple hair mussed, some light scratches around her cheeks, and her lips slightly cracked, but Raven nonetheless. "It's at least another few hours until daylight this time of year, so unless you want to freeze, it would be good if I wasn't the only one actively trying to share body heat."
Robin blinked at her uncomprehendingly. She sighed and rolled her eyes, shifting again, her arm snaking around his chest, again, hand searching until her fingers closed around his forearm. "You, with the Level 5 Combat First Aid training, and you don't know that in below freezing temperatures you need to share body heat to keep warm?" she asked, obviously rhetorically, as she tucked his arm around her frame. "While you were passed out, I had no choice but to burrow against you and hope that was enough, but now that you're awake, you can at least make an effort, Robin, really," she gave him a look, and, in effect, snuggled into his side. Then, without further comment, she closed her eyes and lifted the fur back over her head, disappearing once again from his view.
But not from any of his other senses.
He could certainly still feel her.
He was afraid to move, but he could still feel her.
He could feel the warm skin of her arm around his stomach, the softness of her hip against his side, soft puffs of air as she breathed against his collarbone, and the soft roundness of her—
No. No. He could not feel her. Not at all. It was like he was numb from the neck down. He was numb from the neck down.
He started to panic as images of the body parts he had been cataloguing he could feel came unbidden to his mind and he shut his eyes tight and started thinking about anything but Raven in her current state against him.
Starfire's Pudding of Remembrance as it oozed out of the pot.
One of Beast Boy and Cyborg's stankballs.
Alfred in a speedo.
Raven shifted and he exhaled as he felt her hand tuck more comfortably against his side, her cheek settle against his shoulder and one of her feet dip under his calves.
Sure, it was cold, but it did absolutely nothing to cool him off.
Dear frickin' Jesus on a Pogo stick! How much was he expected to endure?
This was Raven! Naked (or, as naked as he could tell without peeking, anyway)! Cuddling (cuddling!) against him! While he was also naked!
Sure, he had restraint. He wouldn't be able to train her in all those close contact hand to hand sessions knowing what he knew about how he felt about her without a whole heap load of restraint, after all. Still…even he had his limits.
He was just a guy, afterall! A guy, he might add, currently being cuddled (cuddled!) by the very beautiful girl he had realized he—
A girl – he felt he needed to remind himself- who considered him her friend and who relied on him to be her leader and not to act like some horny teenager just because she was lying next to him (naked!) to share warmth in a very dire (like something out of a porn movie, maybe) circumstance.
'Get it together, Bird Brain,' he chastised himself.
There had to be another way they could share warmth. After all, it wasn't so drastic anymore, was it? He was awake, and not suffering from any contusions that he could tell. Maybe they could put on their clothes and share warmth that way?
"Uh," he started, but had to stop and clear his throat before he could continue. "Raven?"
"No," she answered, her voice muffled (but not at all sleepy) from under the covers.
"What do you mean, no?" he asked, surprised.
"I mean no," she answered, still from under the covers.
"You don't even know what I'm going to suggest," he argued, momentarily forgetting the particulars of his situation.
"No, we're not getting out from under these covers, to put on clothes that are probably still wet from our time in the snow while inside an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere with no wood to put in the fireplace in below freezing temperatures before sunrise during a snowstorm," she elaborated.
And despite having been perfectly aware that it was Raven (naked!Raven) lying next to him, he had somehow forgotten that she was also an empath, because the realization that she not only knew what he was going to suggest, but that she had probably been feeling all of his inner turmoil until then hit him like a ton of bricks.
Finding he had little choice in the matter but to come clean (not all clean, of course), he sighed, looked to the wooden beams of what he recognized now was – as she had said – a cabin, and spoke. "I'm trying to be a gentleman here, Raven."
She moved, pushing the covers off her head and lifting on one elbow to stare at him. He inadvertently glanced at the skin revealed by the shifting of the covers and then very promptly glued his eyes to hers. "You really haven't done this in awhile, have you?" she asked, the annoyance obvious in her tone.
He frowned as he looked at her. Hadn't done this? Of course he hadn't done this. He knew the paparazzi liked to portray Richard Grayson as a womanizer and all that, but it wasn't true and she should know that. "Of course not," he answered, his tone sharp. He took the opportunity that she wasn't entirely against him anymore to shift so that he was partly on his side as well. "Why? Have you?" he questioned.
Raven looked as if she was disappointed in him. "Of course I have," she said, verbally rolling her eyes. "You're the one that insists we go to refresher courses on our First Aid certification regularly."
He blinked. First Aid certification? Was that what she was talking about?
"Ah, right…" he mumbled, uncertain of how to mask the fact that he wasn't thinking about First Aid certification at all.
"We obviously can't go out in a snow storm," she stated.
He nodded. "I see your point."
"And there aren't any caches of wood ready to be placed in the fireplace," she continued. "I looked."
"Of course you did," he agreed.
"And our clothes are still wet."
He caught himself before agreeing, and was left without knowing quite what to say. It did seem logical, but still…
He sighed. "Raven," he started, only to inhale sharply when she pulled the covers back over her head and snuggled back against him.
"Go to sleep, Robin," she said from under the covers, her breath ghosting warm against his chest.
"Raven," he started again, failing to notice how easily he had gotten comfortable around Raven being pressed against him.
"No, Robin," she spoke again.
"What are you saying no to this time?" he asked.
She pulled the covers back again so she could give him another look. "No, we are not talking about this," she said bluntly. "As if we had just woken up after a drunken romp and we realized we had to discuss the fact that we'd had sex to salvage our friendship," she added, just as bluntly. She shivered a little from the cold, snuggled down against him again, wrapping her arms around his torso and leaving her head exposed. "We have not had sex, drunken or otherwise, and there's nothing we need to talk about." She sighed. "Now can I get back to sleep please?" she asked. "It took quite a bit of energy to heal that bump on your head, you realize."
Bump on his head? He didn't remember anything at all after she stopped their freefall from what must have been some sort of cliff. He frowned as he remembered her look of concentration and effort as she held them suspended above the ground. How much effort must it have taken her just to stop their fall? And then to somehow get an unconscious body however far away to wherever they ended up? And then, on top of all that, to heal him?
He couldn't believe she was actually awake.
Before he really realized what he was doing, he had wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close against him, tucking her head into the space just under his chin and resting his cheek on her hair. "I'm sorry," he said.
Raven felt soft and plaint in his arms, as if she would let him place her however was most comfortable for him, unresisting in the least.
She moved her arms from where they had ended up as he'd drawn her close, out from between their bodies, and tucked one between his ribs and the mattress and the other around his waist. "Unless you're apologizing for waking me up with your ceaseless ruminations, there's nothing to apologize for," she said, and he could feel her lips move against his skin.
"How did you get me here, anyway?" he asked, hardly realizing that his fingers were warming themselves against her skin.
"You had an inflatable raft in your utility belt," she said. "I put you in it and dragged it over the snow."
He was awed at her industriousness and imagination, and actually found himself laughing. "That's funny," he mused. "I seem to remember someone giving me crap when they found out I had an inflatable raft in my utility belt," he said casually. "I wonder who it was..."
"Yeah, yeah," she mumbled. "You can't possibly prepare for every eventuality, Boy Blunder," she said. "If you could, you would've maybe had some kindling or a few logs in there somehow and we'd have a way of keeping warm other than using our body heat and a bear fur blanket someone left behind."
He laughed. "If you figure out how to shrink firewood into compact travel size, you let me know and I'll add a compartment for it, I promise you."
He felt her lips curve into what he could imagine was a smile. "I'll work on it and let you know."
"You do that," he said, closing his eyes and feeling strangely at peace. He exhaled and adjusted so he could rest his cheek against her head at a more comfortable angle. "In the meantime, this isn't so bad once you get used to it."
"Gee thanks," Raven deadpanned.
He winced. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded."
She exhaled and shifted a little and he had to loosen his hold a little to let her do it. As soon as she was done, he held her close again. "I know," she allowed.
He wasn't quite sure what to say after that, and after a few moments, he felt her breathing even and her body relax and he was sure she must have fallen asleep. And, although it occurred to him that he felt warm and comfortable and relaxed and like he could fall asleep quite easily, he resisted. He wasn't quite sure at first, but a little introspection gave him the answer easily enough.
He could feel Raven's breath caressing his shoulder, her cheek warming the skin of his chest, and her heartbeat thrumming through her body to his and all he smelled was the scent of her shampoo. Every one of his senses was taken up by her presence.
He felt completely enveloped by the woman he loved, and he didn't want to miss a moment of it by surrendering to sleep. So he lay there instead, breathing in the moment and storing it away for future reference, halfway hoping that the storm outside never abated and that no one thought to look for them. He had freeze-dried food enough in his utility belt to last them through spring, he was sure, and if he missed out on steak and ham and bacon occasionally, well...it was a small price to pay.
"Do you know what day it is?" Raven asked, surprising him.
He thought about for a moment, making the calculations in his mind. It had been the 23rd when they left for the mountains, they hadn't gotten out onto the trail until sunset because the locals had said it was around that time that big foot was usually spotted and they'd been out there for several hours before the storm hit. "Sometime on the 24th, I think," he guessed. He looked toward the windows, seeing the kind of light always present in snowy regions, even in the mostly nighttime. "Although maybe it's the 25th already," he amended. "How long was I out?"
"Not long," she answered. "Four or five hours," she added. "But that's not what I meant," she didn't bother shifting again, so although he'd normally want to be looking at her when they had a conversation, he was content to just hold her instead.
"What did you mean?"
"I meant did you realize that it's the 25th of December."
He started to answer that sure he realized it, hadn't he just told her that by his calculations it was probably the 25th, but he stopped himself without uttering a word.
The 25th of December.
He exhaled and found himself chuckling under his breath, looking up into the rafters and sending a silent prayer of thanks to whoever was listening. He didn't realize that she had taken the opportunity that his cheek wasn't resting against her head to look up at him until he looked back down at her and saw her looking at him in curiosity.
"What are you doing?" she asked when their eyes met.
He smiled. "Well, my mother always did say we should thank Santa Clause when we got our wish for Christmas," he told her.
She looked at him consideringly for a few moments, and he could see her juggling between possible meanings and whether or not she should press the issue. He waited for her decision, wondering whether he would take the opportunity if it presented itself.
"Your wish was to be stranded in the mountains with a bump on the head, no firewood, and the threat of hyperthermia?" she asked skeptically.
He didn't feel the need to point out that adding her into the mix made it almost exactly the kind of wish any red-blooded guy would thank every Santa Clause on every street corner and mall from Jump City to Gotham for, and definitely didn't feel the need to point out that it was the kind of thing he had been wishing for (give or take a few details) since he'd held onto her when she almost fell through the elevator shaft when she lost her powers that one time.
"I'm warm, and I'm comfortable, and I'm safe, and there's no way in hell I'm about to be taken out of this warm bed by that blasted alarm Cyborg installed that would wake the dead if some putz decides to make an attempt on the Bank of Perez or some kid's piggy bank, so yeah...this is pretty close to what I wish for every year," he offered instead.
"Except for me," she added, still meeting his eyes.
He searched her eyes, figured what the hell, and smiled. "You being here is what makes this..." he searched her expression, giving himself one last moment to consider, but when she only looked curious and expectant, he dove in anyway. "...perfect."
He had thought she might react badly to the statement once she realized what he was saying, he had even thought she might take it as a joke, or as one of the rare instances when he teased her or acted like a guy, but she didn't.
Instead, she took her time looking at him, her eyes scanning his expression for something he wasn't sure how to give her. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, she almost smiled and lowered her head back onto his chest.
"Merry Christmas, Robin," she said.
Surprised, it took him a moment to respond. "Merry Christmas," he replied, almost on automatic, while his mind whirred with thoughts.
Did this mean what he thought it meant? Was she accepting what he had been trying to find a way to show her for so long? Had she figured it out?
"Now, go to sleep," she commanded, untangling her arm from around him long enough to pull the fur blanket over both their heads.
In the dark created by the blanket, Robin pulled Raven closer to him still, shifting until her head rested on his shoulder and his arms had an easier perch around her waist, and smiled.
As he finally surrendered to sleep, he couldn't help thinking, even if he suspected Raven might still pick up on it...
'Best. Christmas. Ever.'
A/N: I thought I should let you guys know that this is only one of three (possibly four) TT Rob/Rae fluff-fest entries I've got ready for you guys this year. There's another one that's practically ready to post, one that's waiting to see if Kysra can threaten the muse into providing a better, more complete ending for, and one that is started but not finished (set in the Fable-verse). I might also have another one, but I don't want to mention what it's about since I wouldn't want to make a liar of myself if I can't get it ready in time. (I did mention that TWO radio stations have been playing non-stop Christmas music, right?)
So...keep an eye out and let me know what you think, 'kay?
Merry Christmas, all!