A/N: So, here's installment number 2 of the 2010 Annual Robin/Raven Teen Titan Holiday Fic Fluff-Fest! (Didn't I promise you that y'all would have at least two?) This one will probably be tweaked at some later time, but for now, I don't think it'll embarrass me too much if I post it as is. It's been family time the whole day today, and I won't even be at my house tomorrow, so I might not get to doing that third or fourth ones I wanted to do...but, you know...maybe late on the 25th?
In any case, I hope you enjoy this one too!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!
"I won't ask for much this Christmas / I don't even wish for snow..."
- All I Want For Christmas, Mariah Carey
It started, as trouble usually does, with a question.
Not a difficult question, or even a very original one at that. Just a simple question, asked half-jokingly, and at this point, without much hope of her actually providing an answer.
"So, Rae…what do you want for Christmas?"
They were decorating the tree right after Thanksgiving, as was their custom, bantering back and forth (as was also their custom) calling out things on their Christmas list, and if it hadn't been because they'd all started calling out things they'd never really think of getting ("A time machine!" "Free meat for a year!" "World peace."), it might not have been a problem.
"Yeah, Rae…what do you want for Christmas?"
Raven set the delicate shiny red globe on a branch of their tree equidistant between a green one and a gold one and turned to look at Robin, who had been the one to ask the question most recently. "I don't want anything," she answered simply.
Robin had quirked his lips and cocked his head in that way she knew meant he was about to argue, but he was beat to the punch by Cyborg.
"There's gotta be something that you want," Cyborg insisted, coming up next to her to place a silver reindeer ornament haphazardly on the tree. "Everyone wants something."
"Like hearing all your friends singing in joyous harmony," Starfire provided as she flew around the top of the tree, hanging tinsel as she went.
"You've gotta wish for something, it's part of Christmas," Beast Boy chimed in, still trying to untangle the garland. "Like, I'm wishing for a motorcycle."
"No matter how unlikely you are to get it," Robin quipped.
"Then, what's the point of wishing if you aren't likely to get it?" she asked, taking another red ornament and searching the tree for the perfect spot to place it.
"Well," Cyborg and Beast Boy looked at each other and shrugged.
"It's like, a Christmas thing," Beast Boy offered.
"It's about the wishing, not the getting," Cyborg said.
"Why bother if you won't get it?" Raven insisted.
"Because," Robin said, coming up next to her and placing a red ornament just where she had decided she was going to place hers. He turned to her and ignored her glare for having usurped her spot. "You never know," he answered her question.
She raised a brow skeptically.
"It's the magic of Christmas, Rae," Robin said, smiling and bumping her shoulder. "It's the season of hope."
And it was those words that really got her thinking.
The season of hope.
It hit her, although she didn't answer them that day (didn't even let it be known she was still thinking about it), that there was probably plenty of things she could wish for even if it wasn't something she really thought she'd get.
The week after Thanksgiving, even as Robin dragged her along with the others into the mall to start their Christmas shopping because he was all gung-ho on getting their shopping done early this year, she thought she would wish that she was fully human, although the very next day, she took it back because, really, if she were fully human, she wouldn't be able to be part of the Titans. If she were fully human, she might never have met them in the first place, and that wasn't something she would ever wish for.
The week after that, she thought she'd wish she had a different skill set – she watched Robin and Cyborg play one of their videogames, calling out to each other as they tried to win and thought that having powers that didn't require her to keep such a tight leash on her emotions would be a good thing– so that her friends wouldn't have to doubt what she felt for them, but then she smiled as Starfire attempted to make eggnog and Starfire smiled back and she realized it would be a wasted wish because they knew regardless.
She dismissed wishing for peace on earth and goodwill toward man off right, since she was practical enough to know that such a thing would never really work, and sometime during the second week of December, as she followed Robin's R-Cycle from the air as it sped through the city toward the Bank of Perez, she hit upon it – the perfect wish.
She wished that their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day not be interrupted by crime, i.e. that they have those days to be themselves without having to rush out to be crime fighters, i.e. that she and her friends could enjoy the magic of the day as friends.
"That's a nice wish."
Raven had been around them all long enough to know when they were giving a less than enthusiastic response, so she caught the lack of inflection in Robin's voice without even trying. "What's that suppose to mean?" she asked, looking up from where she had been attempting to measure out just the right amount of flour.
Robin glanced at her from where he was prepping the skillet. "What's what supposed to mean?" he asked, confused.
"You," Raven answered. At his continued look of confusion, she set down the bag of flour and turned to look at him full-on. "You said, 'that's a nice wish,'" she quoted.
He blinked and thought. "Yeah," he said slowly, as if trying to parse through his words and figure out why she was upset. "So what do you mean what's that supposed to mean?" he asked.
"I mean, what's wrong with it?"
Robin raised his eyebrows, obviously not understanding and becoming even more surprised by the fact. "Nothing's wrong with it," he answered. "I said that it was nice."
She narrowed her eyes at him a little. "But it's the way you said it."
Realizing what she must have caught on to, he couldn't help but smile a little and went back to the skillet in the hopes that she wouldn't catch it.
"There," she pointed out, coming up next to him. "Why are you smiling like you do when you think I've done something…" she paused, searching for the word, or deciding if she wanted to foul her mouth with its utterance, "…cute," she said like it tasted bad in her mouth.
He continued to smile, but refused to look at her even as she stepped even closer to him.
"Robin," she called, her tone warning.
"What?" he asked, still fiddling with the skillet.
"Spit it out," she demanded, poking him in the arm to punctuate each word.
"Okay, okay," he relented, looking up and smiling fully at her. "It's a nice wish," he said, "but it's like, a cop-out," he tried to explain. She raised her brows and he continued trying. "You're not really searching yourself for what you want, but going for what the world needs, which is fine on the whole, and a nice thought and all that, but part of wishing for Christmas is that we get to sort of explore who we are and what is missing in our personal lives, you know?" he asked. "At least, that's sort of the way I've seen it."
"What's missing?" she echoed on a question.
"Sure," he affirmed. "Say Beast Boy who wishes for the motorcycle," he explained. "He's really wishing for the freedom it'll give him," he explained. "And probably some element of feeling grown up, you know?" he said. "And Cyborg wishing for the fancy smart phone when he has a million different ways of communicating?" he shrugged. "He's really wishing for some kind of normalcy," he guessed. After a moment, though, he grinned. "And probably some non-networked way of talking to Bumble Bee," he laughed.
Raven thought through his words and found she really did understand. He had gone back to the pancake batter he'd made as an example and started to pour it onto the skillet. "And what do you wish for?" she asked after a moment.
He didn't look up at her and for a few moments, he didn't look as if he were going to respond, although she knew he had heard her by the way his brows had creased and his lips were pressed together.
She felt suddenly as if she'd gone too far and pressed beyond even the almost non-existent boundaries of their friendship. "You don't have to tell me," she offered. "Forget I asked," she amended and went back to the flour and tried to remember how much he'd told her she needed to use for edible pancakes.
"No," Robin said and for a moment she thought she had used too much flour so she started to pour some out. His hand on hers stopped her and she looked up at him. "You got the flour right," he told her. "I meant no to what you said," he explained. He held her eyes and she found herself unwilling to move away, even though the distance between them was much smaller than she was usually used to having with anyone, even Robin.
"I know," she spoke. "That's fine, I know you don't have to tell me." She started to move away, but he tightened his hold on her hand and she held still.
He shook his head. "I can't," he told her. "I won't forget you asked," he smiled at her, but it wasn't the usual happy-go-lucky, playful smile, but something deeper, more serious if smiles could be serious. "But I also can't tell you," he explained. "Not yet."
She nodded, even though she didn't think she quite understood how it was he couldn't tell her yet. "Fine," she said.
He let her go and took a step back from her, but she got the feeling it was more because he was responding to her reaction to his nearness than because it bothered him any. "But I can tell you what the underlying wish is," he offered.
"You don't have to," she said, looking back at the ingredients they'd set out when she'd decided to allow Robin to teach her the proper way of making pancakes.
"I know," he said simply. "But I want to," he added. She looked at him and he smiled that different smile again. "If you want to know."
She found that she really did want to know, but she didn't know why. "What is it?" she asked.
"Happiness," he answered, still smiling at her. "My wish is really a wish for happiness."
"Aren't you happy now?" she asked, she thought, logically.
His smile only grew. "Right now?" he asked, cocking his head to the side as if he were considering her. "Yep," he answered. "But I'm wishing for the forever kind."
"And there's something you can wish for that will give you that?" she asked skeptically.
He nodded. "Oh, yeah," he said, going back to his own preparation. "I might not get it this year, but I've been wishing for it for several years now, and I have high hopes," he looked at her and that smile was back, the one that would take her years to figure out, "One day, I'll get it."
And although she really had no clue what he could be wishing for that was sure to give him the forever kind of happiness, his underlying wish made her realize what her underlying wish was...she wanted the same thing. She wanted to be happy - not just happy in random moments, but to have that kind of happiness that one woke up feeling and kept feeling inside throughout the day no matter what happened - the kind that was always there like white noise or subtext.
"How do you know what to wish for that'll give you that forever kind of happiness?" she asked, watching as he flipped the pancakes on the skillet, revealing the perfect golden brown on the other side.
He glanced at her, but she didn't turn away from looking at the skillet, so he went back to watching the pancakes. "One day, it just hit me."
She looked up at him. "What did?"
"What made me happy," he answered easily. "One day, I realized that there was one thing in particular that always made me happy, no matter what, and I realized..." he trailed off and looked at her, grinning crookedly. "Well, I just knew."
She considered it and he reminded her about the batter she was supposed to be mixing, so she went back to do that, half her consciousness parsing through her memories, searching out snippets of happiness and filing them away for comparison in order to find the common element, half her consciousness listening to Robin's instructions and adding what he told her was missing or stopping when he told her she should stop, and by the time Robin declared her batter ready to cook, she had a neat little stack of memories set aside, ready for her to go through them with a fine tooth comb.
As luck would have it, Robin smiled at her as she flipped over a pancake at just the right time so that it was as nice and brown as his had been, and their eyes met and she smiled and it all suddenly clicked.
She was happy.
She was usually happy when she was around Robin.
No, to be fair, she was always happy when she was around Robin, even if just a little bit...even if she was also annoyed or frustrated or something else.
It was Robin.
Her heart flipped and she almost dropped the spatula and Robin reached out and took her hand, holding it tight around the utensil.
"You alright, there?" he asked, searching her face.
She couldn't help it; she smiled right into his eyes.
"I figured it out," she told him, surprising herself with the inflection in her tone.
"Oh?" he asked, smiling in response. "What did you figure out?"
Realizing that she was being entirely too emotional, she toned down the smile on her face and leveled out her voice so that when she answered, she sounded almost like herself. "I know what I want for Christmas," she answered.
He was still smiling, still holding her hand holding the spatula. "What?" he asked.
She surprised herself with how badly she wanted to tell him, but of course she didn't. It was too early yet. She had to have some time with it first. It wasn't everyday a girl realized she was in love, after all.
Before she knew what was happening, she was blushing because it had finally registered that (1) she was in love, (2) with Robin, and (3) Robin was awfully close and holding her hand.
"Can I have my hand back, Boy Wonder?" she asked. "I promise not to drop the spatula."
He searched her face once more, then let her hand go and took a step back. They watched each other for a moment. "You're not going to tell me, are you?" he asked, still smiling.
She shook her head. "Not yet," she echoed.
He opened his mouth and would probably have said something else, but stopped and frowned. "Crap, the pancakes!" he exclaimed, turning back to the skillet.
Raven handed over the spatula and let him do what he did best - save things - content to watch him work.
No...happy to watch him work.
This would take some getting used to, she figured, and she'd read enough books and was aware of herself enough to know that someday, it would sink in that she was in love with her teammate and leader and possibly, her best friend and when it did, she would probably realize the futility of her feeling...but what was it he had called Christmas?
The season of hope.
So, she'd wish, and she'd hope.
And anyway, when she thought about it, she sort of already had her wish, didn't she? She was with him and she was happy.
In the end, that's probably all that mattered.
A/N: So, yeah...this fic was definitely inspired by "All I Want For Christmas (Is You)" by Mariah Carey. And it feels a little different than what I usually write...I think because we're in Raven's head as she comes to the realization of how she feels about him rather than the other way around which I think is what I usually do, isn't it?
Well, anyway...hope it's fun and enjoyable and I hope it only adds to the mirth and merriment of your holiday!
Thank you all for bringing me into your lives!