A/N: This is my first fic, so R and R : Constructive critism is welcome
What Can Be Said Only At Night
It has been some time since the whole Brotherhood of Evil and the Tokyo incident and needless to say, there has been a growing interest on the titans who saved the world from an unprecedented danger. And the media has been very eager to satisfy the general population's growing interest in these teen's private life. So after being hounded day and night by paparazzi for the past few years, their leader Nightwing, now aged 20, agreed on the behalf of his entire team to do five-part series by a more reputable magazine that sought an insight on each of the lives of the 'Heroes of the New Age', as they put it.
Of course, the first person to be interviewed was the fearless leader, the ex-Boy Wonder, Nightwing. If they had expected him to suddenly let down his guard and allow himself to accidentally spill deep, dark secrets to the media, they were greatly disappointed. Their paranoid leader gave simple, curt answers to the more invasive questions and expanded greatly on the past exploits of the Titans and the hopes of the team for the future. In other words, the magazines were notably frustrated after their first interview with the Teen Titans. However, there was one part in their interview with the usually calm and collected leader that kept them from abandoning the idea of finding out more about the titan's lives.
As quoted from the magazine:
Us: What of the rumors about you and a certain red-headed teammate?
(At this point Nightwing became unexpectedly flustered)
Nightwing: Umm… A-about Star(fire) and me… Us?... What? I mean she is a...uh… great teammate and …uh…. I would trust her!... Yea! I would trust her in a battle against any super villain, to…uh… watch my back… yea, that's it!...
(By now the cool captain of the titans was red-faced)
From this exchange, they realized that their heroes did, in fact, have a life other than simply saving Jump City and thwarting the fates that intends to doom humankind to a lifetime of servitude. And as a lead up from the previous article about Nightwing, their next victim was the ever innocent and willing 20-year-old Starfire, who ,of course, spilt the proverbial beans about the three-year relationship with Robin/ Nightwing, describing it as 'wondrous'.
You can imagine the expression on Nightwing's face when he saw the cover of the magazine. Printed in large, bold words and decorating every newsstand and convenience store in Jump City: "HOTTEST COUPLE IN JUMP CITY? Polls don't lie!"
Next was resident half-robot, half-human, all-carnivore, Cyborg. He ,like Starfire, was a lot more amiable than Nightwing. He apparently laughed his way through the interview, fully utilizing his people skills, even managing to get the interviewers to comment at the end of the article that 'Victor Stone' was an absolute joy to work with. If only they knew about the Stankball sessions and Gamestation trash talk that he and Beast Boy/ The Changeling had in the Titan Tower.
This month, in the limelight is our favorite changeling. Now, the magazine knew exactly how to generate hype over the interviews by the titans, knew what questions to ask and in what way to get the best possible answer out of these awesome figures. Beast Boy, now aged 19, had filled out a lot in the three years. He had toned up and his skin-tight purple and black uniform showed this change very well. He wasn't huge and bulky like Cyborg was but neither was he as skinny as he was three years ago. For one he had his six-pack. His whole body gave the impression of litheness, of power, exactly as one would get from staring down one of his big cat forms, be it a tiger or leopard. His hair was still a deep forest green, but he kept it cropped and short like before. He had completely lost all the baby fat that he had in his earlier years and now his face was much more angular and sharp. His canines still stuck out, not in a bad way, but rather, it lent his whole face a mischievous look. Anyone had to admit that he was good-looking, despite his skin being unnaturally green.
"We recently asked a portion of Jump City's females who was the hottest Titan out there and got back a scatter of answers. "Aqualad", "Nightwing" and "Speedy" were among the numerous answers. However, when we asked them who exactly they would love have as their boyfriend, the answer was unanimously Beast Boy. Why exactly? Well apparently, he is kind, caring, funny, hot and cool among other traits. But all believe that he was the one they would be the most comfortable and happy with, apparently not like with the brooding Nightwing or the too-serious Aqualad…"
Despite all these praises being sung about him, do not be fooled our little changeling has more secrets than his little façade give away, not unlike our little enchantress. And yet sometimes, the night lends courage to people that the day can never afford to offer. The courage that lets out these haunting insecurities to those who care enough to listen
In the dark room of Jump city's sorceress, a lone stuffed-toy chicken watched as she tossed and turned on her bed. Her room was approximately the same as it was when Beast Boy and Cyborg found her mirror all those years ago. The air still smelled of lavender, incense and herbal tea. It was still decorated with gothic figures, 19th century décor and clay models of weird mythical animals. The hand mirror still lay on her table in easy reach of anyone that dared to brave the wrath of Raven and enter her room. The only thing that was out of place in the entire room had to be the brightly colored stuffed chicken that sat in one corner of her room, alone, without any other stuffed toys for company, silently watching as she continued to twist in her sleep.
The deep violet blanket had long since been kicked off her person. It was summer and the air in the room was unbearably hot, but the temperature of the room was not what gave Raven her troubled dreams, her nightmares. She unconsciously bit her lower lip, her face an expression of fear. She would occasionally give a squeak now and then.
"Don't leave…" she mumbled to an empty room. Her hair was plastered to her forehead by her cold sweat, her hands clutching desperately at either the bed sheets or the pillow case. Suddenly her eyelids flew open as she jerked up right, panting heavily.
"It's only a dream…just a dream… just a dream…" She subconsciously repeated over and over in order to reaffirm herself the reality of the situation. She was now 19 years old and her growth in those three years was undeniable. She had grown more beautiful as anyone in Jump City would testify. Her hair was still kept at shoulder length and she had grown slightly taller, but she largely still resembled the Raven of old. However, emotionally, she had grown in leaps and bounds. Now, she was more self-assured, more confident and had a larger capacity to show emotions. She still couldn't fully let loose, but compared to three years ago, she was a positively sunny.
Yet, as she sat, breathing heavily, on her bed in the middle of the night, she felt anything but sunny. She stared up at her stuffed-toy chicken guardian, trying her best to calm down. It was one of those rare nightmares she still had that displayed her emotional vulnerability, her insecurities of being abandoned because of her half-demon nature. "Of course you won't get left behind; the titans have proven that time and time again…" She chided herself inwardly. "But…." There was always that 'but' in her mind. That just because they haven't yet, doesn't mean they won't ever…. She forced herself to stop that train of thought. She knew where it was going and she didn't want to go there, at least not tonight.
She glanced again at the huge stuffed chicken, at its beady eyes. She didn't know why but despite its unblinking gaze, she always felt calmer when looking at it. Shaking her head slightly, she got up. A cup of tea was exactly what she needed to calm her nerves in this situation.
The doors 'swooshed' open as she levitated pass them and into the common room. It was too hot to wear her cloak and since she was in the privacy of the night, she decided not to don it for the quick trip to the common room to brew herself a cup of her favorite tea.
She obviously had not expected to be caught in just her leotard by the resident changeling. Contrary to popular belief, she could not just sense where people are, that was simply a rumor that she encouraged in order to further intimidate her enemies. As such she was surprised when she noticed the silhouette of Beast Boy in the common room in the middle of the night.
"Hey" he spoke softly, but loud enough for her to hear.
"Hey" came her monotonous reply.
Then, there was a pregnant pause. Beast Boy seemed to be caught up in his own thoughts and Raven, well; she seemed to be observing her unexpected guest. Beast Boy sat at the dining table and didn't seem like his usual carefree self. From what Raven could see, he seemed haggard, exhausted….
And he wasn't wearing his shirt. How could she have missed that?
She supposed that during the summer, it was simply too warm to sleep with his shirt on. His hair was messed up from just getting and he sat with a cup of warm soymilk in his gloved hands. He stopped staring at his mug of soymilk and looked up at her with tired eyes. He had caught her observing him and flashed her one of those sincere smiles he reserved only for her; completely unlike those fake, artificial grins he constantly gave everyone. Except this time, she saw a bit of bitterness and sadness in that smile. She turned away trying to hide her slight blush at being caught staring at him half-naked, levitating to the kitchen to brew her tea.
She grabbed her cup from the rack as the water in the teapot started to come to a boil. She glanced around for her tea leaves which she remembered she bought recently during their grocery run last week. Jasmine, if she remembered correctly. Suddenly, she noticed that Beast Boy was behind her. She had been so distracted and sleepy that she hadn't heard him coming up behind her.
"The jasmine tea leaves are in the top cupboard to your left. I sorted the groceries that day."
He reached up from behind her and flipped the cupboard open, not noticing or choosing to act oblivious to the close proximity between them. They were almost touching, his bare chest to the back of her skin tight leotard.
As he reached up to help her grab the tin of tea leaves, it was encased in a black aura and levitated down into the Raven's grasp without his help.
"You do know I was going to help you bring that down right?" he said as he quirked an eyebrow at her.
"Well, it is the thoughts that count." She smirked as she floated away from him.
"Dude…" he whispered softly as he chuckled.
As he leaned back onto the counter behind her, she could feel his questioning gaze on her back while she finished up making her tea. And it didn't help that she wasn't wearing her trademark deep blue cloak, which without, she was feeling more than a little naked.
When she was done, she turned slowly to face him while sipping her tea, holding it gingerly in both hands. Beast Boy took that as his cue to ask her why she chose to come down in the middle of the night.
"Soooo… why did you choose to come down in the middle of the night?"
She stared at her tea, not wanting to meet his eyes. Finally, she whispered as she turned to look out the window at the beautiful night view of the sea, still choosing not to meet his eyes.
"Nightmares", she whispered.
If it were anybody else, they would not been able to make out what she said. They would have had to ask her to repeat herself a little louder. In which her response would be "I needed a cup of tea" or "It's just too warm tonight" or any other blatant lie that other titans would have accepted. But with Beast Boy, his sense of hearing was sharp enough to pick out her initial response. Perhaps that was why Raven had chosen to confide in him rather than the others. Or maybe, it was just because he was a better listener.
"The same ones as before?" his voice was softer than before, gentler.
They had talked about her nightmares before. It was on the roof, during one of those moments they shared. Again it was at night. The nightmares had been repeating in her sleep for over two weeks before Beast Boy confronted her about it and she decided to tell him. He said that he knew because he could sometimes hear her heavy breathing and mumblings at night when he passed her door after one of his midnight snacks. And that he had been worried for her. At that time too, it was due to her fear of being left behind again.
He had hugged her and promised that he would never abandon her.
Tonight, in response to his question, she simply nodded. He reached over and laid a place a hand on her upper arm.
"You know that I will keep my word right?"
This time, she turned back to face him and met his questioning gaze. She saw in them concern, sincerity and warmth. She reached up her free hand to touch his and gave him a faint smile. It was so faint that anyone else would think that they simply had imagined it, but Beast Boy knew better.
"Yes, I know"
"Good," He said firmly and pulled back his hand. She missed the secure warmth it provided but she didn't say anything about it.
"How about you?"
"Hmm?" He had obviously lapsed back into his thoughts.
"Why are you up so late?"
"Oh well…it's too warm today…" He averted his eyes and glanced over at the coffee table.
"You don't actually think that I would believe that do you?" She deadpanned.
He sighed and walked over to the coffee table and his entire body was lit in moonlight. It touched his green skin and made him glow in an otherworldly fashion. She stared at him, "wow… he really has grown a lot…" she thought. She admired his physique: his six-pack, his toned muscles and his smooth skin. He was now taller than her.
She watched as he bent low and picked up the magazine. The one with the article which sang praises about him.
"This, this is bullshit" He looked down at it, bitterness and sorrow written all over his face. "Most wanted bachelor? Voted would-be best boyfriend? All of it is fake results that have been fabricated so that the magazine would sell better."
His ears drooped and his shoulders sagged. He was slowly shaking his head.
"You know that that's not true" She said in her monotone.
"Yes, it is!" He slid off one glove. Instead of nails, grew claws that curved inwards. His entire arm was shaking. "This, this is proof of it. Proof that I am not human anymore… You don't hear it Rae…you don't hear it. When we appear in public, you can't hear the whispers through the crowd. I can."
He paused, pointing to his ears, his back facing her.
"'The Oddity' they called me. 'The Freak Of Nature' they whisper. I can hear it all. And now, now they call me most 'desirable'? Who could possibly love a green freak like me?"
He finished the sentence with a nonchalant shrug, but under the moonlight she could easily see that he was trembling.
Inside, Raven had no idea what to do. This was something she had close to zero experience with. Sure, she had consoled him and comforted him before, with Terra and the Beast and, of course, when he decided to tell her about his parents drowning that night down by the sea, but those times were based solely on impulse, on instinct. Now, once again, she had no clue as to how to do it. Usually it was the other way around, where Beast Boy did the comforting.
"Go already!" An exasperated voice in her head whispered.
She approached him slowly, unsure of what to expect. She placed a hand on his shoulder and when bare flesh touched bare flesh, Beast Boy felt a shiver run down his spine and Raven felt a slight tingl. Not an unpleasant sensation, just… a tingle.
"Beast Boy…" She whispered, but he didn't respond.
"Beast Boy… Look at me" she said more firmly. This time, he turned towards the slight pressure on his shoulder. But when he did, he looked down, not meeting her eyes, his ears still drooping.
"Look at me, please" This time there was a gentler tone to her voice. She placed a hand on his cheek and again felt the slight tingle. She maneuvered his head such that now his eyes met hers; deep viridian eyes met beautiful amethyst eyes.
"You are not a freak and the color of your skin does not define who you are. You do. And you are Garfield Logan, the amazing, funny, life-of-the-party titan. So don't let what others think be the cause of your pain or grief, their opinions aren't worth it." It was said gently yet firmly, like there was no room for argument.
"Thank you" he whispered as he placed one hand over hers.
Perhaps it was the intensity of the situation, where neither of them could or wanted to break eye contact. He started to lean towards her, like there was a gravitational pull towards her. One that he couldn't resist nor that he wanted to resist. He saw that she too was being pulled towards him, leaning towards him too, unable to resist the same pull. Then, their lips met.
He raised his free hand and placed it on her neck, pulling her closer to him, pressing their lips closer against each other. She wrapped her hands around his neck and he placed his hands on the small of her back. Chest to leotard, lips to lips, neither wanted to break apart. But they did due to their need to breathe.
They pressed their foreheads together and gazed into each other's eyes. Beast Boy, of course, was the first to break the silence.
"How can you love a green freak like me? " He questioned.
"How can you love a half-demon like me, then?" She responded in kind.
"I just do" was his simple answer
"Exactly" She smirked.
Luckily, they managed to wake up before the rest of the Titans came into the common room. Or at least Raven did. If the other teens had managed to reach the common room before she had woken up, they would have seen both of them curled up on the couch, Beast Boy's arms wrapped protectively around Raven and Raven pressed to Beast Boy's bare chest. Now that would have been a sight.
Raven had never felt so secure in her sleep. Not even before she was sent away by the monks of Azar. But tonight, her sleep had been peaceful.
Raven woke up to a green chest and two warm arms wrapped tightly around her. She burrowed further into his chest as the sunlight came through the common room's window and woke her up. Then she realized that they were in the common room. And that the rest of the titans were sure to come in soon. However, when she tried to sit upright, Beast Boy's arms pulled her back toward him. "Rae…." He mumbled in his sleep.
"That's sweet but get up before the rest of the titans come in" she remarked in her usual monotone. His arms unwrapped from around her as his eyes fluttered open.
"Wha-"was his first word when he awoke, still in a sleep-dazed state.
"Get up" She repeated, already in the kitchen brewing herself another pot of herbal tea.
Let's just suffice to say that both of them managed to seem normal when the rest of the titans arrived at the scene, Beast Boy playing his gamestation, albeit early, and Raven in front of the window meditating.
The relationship started there and the effects could be seen, if one bothered to notice. And none of the other titans seemed to notice. Its either that or they intentionally acted oblivious to the changes in each of the titans. After all, the changes did seem to be for the better.
It was just the small details.
Raven was no longer the only one to greet the other titans early in the morning. Beast Boy was up as well. Raven would be sitting in the lotus position in her usual place, right in front of the huge windows, in the morning sun. Beast Boy would be found sitting at the dining table, chewing on the tip of a 2B pencil, trying to fill in either a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle in the daily Jump newspaper. This raised a few eyebrows at first but was easily shrugged off. Beast Boy has matured a lot over the past three years, maybe he simply wanted to become an early bird.
Then, if people cared to notice, the soymilk in the titan tower disappeared faster than usual, as did the tea leaves. In the case of the soymilk, everyone just guessed that Beast Boy was just really, really thirsty. They didn't think or dare to check Raven's cup. As for Raven's tea leaves, well, no one really checks that anyway, only she kept track of it and put it among the things on the grocery list when necessary.
Oh, and Beast Boy was allowed to call her Rae… three times a day at most. Raven was quirky that way.
Other than that, their behaviour was mostly the same. Beast Boy still got on Raven's nerves with his corny jokes and Raven still threw him out the window. Same old, same old.
And everything went unnoticed by everyone… for a while.
It has been a month since the Beast Boy's article came out. Raven had already been interviewed and her article was soon to be in print. It was 2a.m. in the night and all was quiet in the tower. Starfire fast asleep, or rather in a pseudo-comatose state, having dreams of a certain Nightwing. Cyborg was recharging in his room filled with metal and blinking lights. Said Nightwing was still awake reviewing some criminal files but would soon be deciding to sleep. In his room or in Starfire's room was anyone's guess. As for Raven and Beast Boy, well, with Beast Boy's room being so utterly cluttered and filled with the unknown; they were comfortable on Raven's deep violet bed, under the watchful eye of the stuffed-toy chicken guardian, who, incidentally, was not so lonely anymore.
When Beast Boy found out that she still kept his gift to her, to his delight, he went out and got her a few more. The only excuse he gave to her about the sudden influx of stuffed-toys was that the chicken looked 'sad by itself'. Of course, she stopped him soon after that, commenting that she didn't want her room to turn into a pink paradise like Starfire's room.
Suddenly, Cyborg's cybernetic eye flashed red again, which was weird because usually nothing could wake him from his recharge-slash-sleep. In his head, information was relayed; apparently the Titan Tower was still in security lock down as none of the titans disabled it to take a quick trip to the bath room or get a midnight snack. But it had detected suspicious motions slinking around in the sector 3 of the tower. Rather than go alone and risk whatever was out there getting the jump on him without any of the other titans any the wiser, he went over to Nightwing's room since his sensors showed that he was still awake.
"I am telling you that I sensed something!" Cyborg insisted as they reviewed the security tapes throughout the entire tower for his mysterious visitor.
"Yea, yea because I am sure any villain worth their salt would be willing to attack us in our own tower where the security system would easily annihilate anyone that tried to force their way because of those updates that you added to our system." Nightwing said sarcastically as he leaned against the doorframe of the security control room.
Cyborg had caught him just as he was preparing to join his sweetheart in her room. This meant he was caught changing into his pajamas. "Starfire said it was cute…" he mumbled red-face as Cyborg smirked at his red pajamas covered in the insignia of Robin; the grey circle with the yellow 'R'. That explained his current attitude to the robotic man.
"There! It's…It's… Silkie… Dang…"
"Now, now don't be disappointed Cy, I mean it's not like all the effort you put in the security system is wasted… Even though since three years back, no one has dared to attack us in our own tower" Nightwing said in a smug voice, with a smug expression on his face.
"Wipe that stupid smirk off your face! I bet you a twenty that there is something interesting on these security tapes!"
"You're on! And more fashion shots of Silkie do not count as interesting" He grinned. How long had it been since he had been so sure he was going to win a bet against Cyborg?
Cyborg pretty much knew that he was going to lose twenty dollars to Nightwing. He hadn't detected anything other than Silkie for the past few years. So he wasn't very optimistic, but he had to stand up for his technology after all those long hours spent toiling on the security system.
Then Nightwing saw something that made his eyes go wide. It was just a few days back, in fact, and the security camera on the roof caught some very interesting footage.
It was at about 12.00 a.m. when all of the titans were usually asleep. There two titans stood, bathed in the silvery moonlight. Was that Raven? Was she wearing a dress? A deep blue dress, darker than her cloak which went down to her ankles and…wait a second… Were those high heels? The dress itself was a beautiful thing, pleated from the waist down and held up by straps on her shoulder. Plain and simple, yet somehow on her, it looked ravishing. Wait, was that Beast Boy? In a Tux? Formal was not one of the things anyone expected Beast Boy to be dressed in and a tux is, well, a tux. And it fit him well, surprisingly, as if it was specifically tailored to his body.
"Oh, hell no… That ain't the grass stain…"
Nightwing just stared at the video playback open-mouthed, absolutely dumbfounded. He nodded and continued to watch the footage with disbelieving eyes.
They watched with wide eyes as Beast Boy offered his hand to Raven, an invitation to dance in the moonlight to the classical music he had prepared in the background. They swirled and twirled. Raven with the grace that one could only expect from her petite form. And Beast Boy danced with the feline grace that no one would have, yet should have, expected from him. Like a performance caught on security tape. Then the music died down and Beast Boy invited Raven to a candlelit table he prepared just for them. Apparently he made enough for a midnight snack. Raven looked as taken aback as Cyborg at what was on the table.
"Is that meat? Beast Boy must have gotten sick cooking that."
Sure, it was very little, just enough for Raven and no more, but the idea of Beast Boy cooking meat just for her was simply mind-blowing. And it seemed like Beast Boy was able to cook well from Raven's expression.
They paused the video there, freezing that moment in time.
"You are kidding me… you have got to be kidding me…" Nightwing muttered as he fished out a crisp twenty dollar bill and handed it to Cyborg's eager, waiting hands.
"Hey, maybe there's mo-re" Cyborg wiggled his eyebrows at Nightwing, rubbing his victory in his leader's face, laughing maniacally.
The security footage went for about twenty days which meant the origin of their relationship was still a mystery. But their frequent nightly meetings were open for two pairs of eyes to see; one eye in which case was red and glowing.
The time Beast Boy and Raven sat on the couch watching an old movie that was obviously Raven's choice. Raven resting her head on his shoulder, her hair silken and falling all over his shoulder. That was when Beast Boy whispered something and the usual monotone could be heard on the footage. "Don't ruin the moment". Loud and clear, and that was either a stupid joke or… well, the highest likelihood was a stupid joke. Beast Boy chuckled as he lifted his hand to tuck a few stray strands of her hair behind her ear.
Many, many more of Beastboy and Raven's meetings played out all over the security screens that night. Sneaking out and coming back wet, obviously a nighttime swim. Other times sneaking out in casual clothes for a night out on the town or a walk in the park under the full moon. Other times just sitting together in the common room reading and so on and so forth.
"Hey Cy… perhaps there is more cash to be made than a simple twenty… are you thinking what I am thinking?"
"Well, Raven's interviewer apparently didn't get much info outta her and it's not going to be published for a week… enough time to add another story… if I am understanding you right…"
Evil grins grew on their faces.
"Step aside ladies, the perfect boyfriend has been taken. Jump City's resident enchantress has reserved our most sought after Changeling. How's that for a surprise girls? Who would have guessed that the two polar opposites on the team…''
"…Would make such a perfect couple?" Raven read the first few lines of her article in disbelief.
Then a red-headed ball of alien joy exploded onto the scene with her boyfriend in tow.
"Oh how wondrous friend Raven. You have decided to partake in the earthly courtship rituals with friend Beast Boy. This is most glorious news. We must celebrate with the eating of the Tamaranean Pudding of Gloksnar! I will go prepare some now!"
"How did they find out?" Beastboy questioned aloud as he picked up the magazine. "Wait…these pictures of us dancing a few nights ago on the roof look like they were taken off a security camera…and since Starfire only found out about it today…"
It did not take a genius to put two and two together, especially, when Cyborg walked into the room shouting, "Hey Night! Those expensive motorcycle parts you order have arrived!"
A pair of heads turned towards Nightwing and Cyborg.
"Where exactly did you get the money to fund this recent expenditure, Night, when you were complaining last week that you were absolutely broke after your last date with Star…."
"Now, now, let's be rational about this…" Nightwing said weakly.
With two teammates approaching them in a menacing manner, they did the only thing that seemed sensible, they bolted.
Later that afternoon, for once, it wasn't Beast Boy who was launched out of the titan's common room window.
If one examined them closely enough they would see that Raven and Beast Boy were not opposites, but rather parallels of each other. Two sides of the same coin. Raven was picked up by the monks of Azar as her foster family. Beast Boy was picked up by Steve and Rita after the tragic accident that killed his parents, of which he still harbors great guilt for being unable to do anything. Beast Boy has the Beast inside of him. Raven has Rage. Raven had her heart ripped out by Malchior. Beast Boy had his torn to shreds by Terra. He was green. She was grey. He had a masterful hold on his emotions, enough to give an almost perfect pretend smile even when his heart was full of turmoil. Raven had a masterful control over her emotions, enough so as to not let any stray emotions cause mass destruction. It's how they use that control that differs and that is the reason why so many people term them as opposites. That's why so many people are unable to see why they are so perfect for each other.
It was just the small details.
The ones that people never fail to miss.