Author's Note: This story takes place directly after the events of the two part episode "Aftershock" from the animated series at the end of season two. However, there are bits of Terra's background that follow the comic more than the cartoon. And obviously, I do not own any of these characters. Enjoy!
A Shoulder to Cry on
It had been a gloomy past three days. Raven thought it was bad enough when Terra died, but this was much worse. All the titans sat in a circle in the lounge of the tower; all of them except Beast Boy, the distributor of the comedy relief on the team. For the past two days he had stayed in his room virtually the whole time. He could be seen once every four or five hours walking down to the fridge to get a bite of tofu, but just enough to keep himself from dying of starvation. Luckily there hadn't been any criminal activity since the volcanic eruption that killed their arch-enemy Slade along with their fellow friend. At this point, Raven was pretty sure Beast Boy would still just sit in his room.
"There must be something we can do," pleaded Starfire, sounding worried for her shape-shifting friend. "We cannot simply allow our green friend to stay up in his room forever and ever."
"Seriously, man, his down mood is startin' to spread," spoke Cyborg, who now realized that Beast Boy accounted for pretty much all of the fun that happened in the tower.
"What can we do?" asked Robin, a question that was to himself as much as it was to the other three members. "I went up to his room and invited him to spar with me, but he just sat there and moped."
"And I offered to eat large amounts of unhealthy food with him," said Starfire.
"And I offered to do any of the billion crazy things we do every day," said Cyborg in a frustrated voice. "But nothin' gets him out of bed." The three titans leaned back and sighed, yearning that regular Beast Boy would come sprinting down the stairs to tell them some hilarious joke that wasn't funny at all.
"It seems we have all tried and failed at cheering up our friend," said Starfire, hanging her head in defeat.
"Do you guys really think it will be that easy," said Raven, speaking for the first time since the conversation started. "Beast Boy didn't just like Terra; he loved her. And his first true love turned out to be a dirty, double-crossing wench who not only lied to us about joining the team, but lied to Beast Boy about loving him. She was with Slade from the start and never had any feelings for him at all. Don't you guys get it? She didn't just break his heart; she ripped it out and stomped on it. You can't expect him to simply bounce back from something like that."
Raven felt bad when everyone around her hung their heads even lower upon hearing this. They all knew she was right, and they probably knew it'd be tough to begin with, but the way she said it made everything seem so hopeless. She noticed that Cyborg slightly lifted his head up; perhaps he had thought up an idea.
"Wait a minute, Raven," he said, turning to face her. "Maybe you should go talk to him."
"What?" shouted the other three in the room, with Raven almost falling off the back end of the couch.
"You can't be serious," she said, having lost her monotone voice. "If you guys can't cheer him up with your video games, junk food, and positive attitudes, what makes you think I can do it?"
No one responded to her comment immediately. They all had expressions that gave the impression they were thinking hard about it. "Perhaps Cyborg is right," said Starfire, turning to Raven. "You are not the most cheerful in the group, but you do seem to understand his situation the best."
"Yeah," said Cyborg, happy to see someone agreeing with him. "And you're the only one who hasn't tried yet, so it's worth a shot."
Robin still sat there scratching his head, pondering whether it'd be a good idea to have Raven talk to him. Out of any pair of members on the team, they were definitely the pair that got along the least. It definitely wasn't as bad as when the team had first formed, but they still didn't seem to enjoy each other's company. But drastic situations called for drastic measures, and at this point, Robin figured Beast Boy's condition couldn't get much worse.
"I think it couldn't hurt to give it a try," said Robin, lifting his head. "Who knows, maybe we've been attacking the situation the wrong way. Instead of trying to make him forget all about the incident, maybe someone just needs to talk to him about it. And for some reason, Raven, I have a feeling you're that person."
Raven let out a deep sigh as she got off the couch without complaint. If she had known this would be her punishment for speaking her mind, she would have stayed silent. But Robin had made up his mind, and the other two agreed with him, so she found herself outnumbered three to one. "Me and my big mouth," commented Raven as she made her way over to the elevator that led to Beast Boy's room.
Raven slowly walked down the hall that led to Beast Boy's room. She knew his was around the corner, and immediately on the left. Even though her appearance seemed cool and collected, in her mind she was frantically thinking of what to say to Beast Boy to cheer him up. It was the completely wrong situation for Raven to be dealing with; Beast Boy was all wound up in emotion, while Raven was a master of showing no emotion. She breathed a heavy sigh as she knocked on the door. She decided she would see how he was acting and play it by ear.
"I told you guys, I want to be alone!" came the shout of Beast Boy's high-pitched voice. Raven used her powers to slide open the door, revealing the confines of the changeling's room. Comics were strewn all over the room, hiding in all sorts of places. There were also towers of pizza boxes, Beast Boy always being too lazy to throw them out. On the top bunk sat Beast Boy, his back to Raven and his head hung low. It was so weird for Raven to hear Beast Boy, the constant ray of sunshine on the team, sob.
"Look, what part of-" started Beast Boy, as he turned and was surprised to see Raven standing in his doorway. "Oh, you've got to be kidding me," sneered Beast Boy. Raven was taken aback; she had never imagined Beast Boy like this. "They sent you to cheer me up." His voice sounded almost hysterical; couple with his choked up words made it difficult for Raven to discern what he was saying.
"Beast Boy," Raven said, trying her best at a compassionate tone. She was just hoping it didn't accidentally come off as angry.
"No, wait, they didn't," claimed Beast Boy, pointing a finger at Raven. "You came up here by yourself to rub it in my face about how you were right all along."
Beast Boy's face looked hysterical; he was trying his best to put on a scowl, but the tears in his eyes wouldn't allow him to look anything other than heartbroken. His boyish, 14-year-old face was covered in several wet streams. "Look, Beast Boy,"
"Shut up!" he shouted, flinging the object he held in his right hand at Raven without looking. Raven used her powers to catch the object in mid-air, the expression on her face unchanged. She calmly fixed her hair as she observed the object thrown by the green teen, who proceeded with his bantering.
"I was wrong, okay? Are you happy now, Raven?" His voice was getting more intense, his arms flailing wildly. "In every argument we've ever had, you've always been right. Every single disagreement! I don't know why the hell I thought this time would be different? I know what you'd say about now. 'Beast Boy, the fact that a girl seemed interested in you should've been an obvious give-away that she was lying.'" Beast Boy tried his best to force out a laugh in order to go along with his argument. "Go ahead and laugh! It's funny, right?" His forced laugh continued to get higher until it turned into whining; his sadness had taken over.
Raven did not so much as crack a smile. By now she had observed that the thrown projectile had been a locket in the shape of a heart. "Beast Boy, this is the locket-"
"I don't give a damn what it is! I worked my ass off making that thing ever since she rejoined the team. Unfortunately for me, I was unaware that she had already plotted our deaths, and slept with Slade multiple times. Don't you guys get it? I loved her with every fiber in my being, and she ended up being a traitorous whore. A whore who had been given the mission of destroying us before we even met her. A whore who had been told to lead on one of the male members of the team in order to gain the rest of the team's trust." Beast Boy was coughing now trying to hold back his tears. What happened next stopped Beast Boy's sobbing almost immediately. He felt a gentle hand get placed on each shoulder, and was then very softly pushed onto the middle of his bed's lower bunk. Raven took a seat on the edge of the bed right in front of him, her legs folded under her.
"You're wrong, Beast Boy," said Raven, almost sure that this didn't sound like it was helping. "I'm not always right. I remember always yelling at you to control your emotions; I always said that controlling your emotions was the key to everything."
Beast Boy sniffled as he was still in shock; he couldn't believe how gentle Raven was being right now. His shock continued to grow as Raven moved in closer and stared right into his eyes. "But sometimes, suppressing the emotions is the same thing as running away; you're just delaying what you'll have to deal with eventually. You've gone through a lot in the past couple weeks, Garfield." His head shot up at the use of his real name; he wasn't aware anyone else even knew it. "And I know the rest of us can't even begin to understand your sorrow. All I know is that right now, you need to stop holding back and let it all out."
Raven was almost knocked back by the force of Beast Boy's embrace. She immediately felt her left shoulder dampen due to the changeling's tears. "The way I felt when we were together," Beast Boy continued, now letting his tears run down Raven's blue robe. "It was something I had never felt before." His voice was significantly toned down, but he was still openly weeping and slightly hysterical. "My whole life I've been a circus freak and a weirdo. No girl my age ever showed interest in me. I guess when it happened for the first time, I was too caught up in infatuation to suspect anything of her. It all seemed so genuine; so real."
Raven, whose arms were raised due to the unexpected jump from Beast Boy, slowly wrapped her arms around Beast Boy. Beast Boy could feel his muscles loosening up as they were relaxed by the gentle embrace of Raven's arms. "It wasn't just you, Beast Boy. We were all tricked by Terra; she even had me convinced upon her second arrival. No one on the team had reason to believe she was working for Slade after she returned from training, let alone when we first met her. And I know it doesn't mean much, but I'm sorry for what she put you through."
Beast Boy had now lifted his head from her shoulder and was sitting up straight, his eyes red due to rubbing. He let out a chortle as he smiled for the first time in three days. "Ya know, you were the last person I would've imagined cheering me up. But in a strange way, I feel like you were the only one who could've done it." He smiled a sheepish smile while scratching his head, as Raven tried her best to hide her blushing. "Sorry about the robe."
Out of all the surprises Beast Boy had gotten that day, none was more shocking than the laugh he heard escape Raven's lips. "Hey, genius, it's not like I have twenty of these in my wardrobe."
Both of them stood up from the bed laughing, each person happy to see the other one smiling. "Thanks, Raven," said Beast Boy once more as the two heroes exited the room.
"Hey, I hear something," said Cyborg, getting out of his laid-back position. The three titans were dumbfounded to see Raven with a cheerful look on her face, closely followed by Beast Boy with a smile, something that had become uncharacteristic of him in the past few days.
"Hey guys," said Beast Boy in a calm tone. He didn't have time to say anything else, as he was immediately rushed by the likes of Cyborg, Robin, and Starfire.
"It's great to see you down here, Beast Boy," said Robin, putting his hand firmly on Beast Boy's shoulder.
"Yeah, man, glad to have you back," came the familiar sound of Cyborg's voice.
"Yes, your presence is quite wonderful," chirped Starfire, in her usual speech that was devoid of any contractions. "May we hear one of your jokes?"
Beast Boy scratched the back of his head while soaking in the faces of his friends. "Give the jokes a few days, Star. I haven't exactly been in my room practicing new material."
Cyborg and Starfire both roared with laughter at the witty comment as Robin turned to Raven, who was standing outside the circle looking on. He looked at her inquisitively as if he was about to ask how she did it, and then simply gave her a thumbs up and said, "Good work."
It was close to midnight, and Beast Boy found himself getting dressed to go outside. It wasn't that he couldn't get any sleep; it was just that he knew there was one other person who was awake at this hour, and he decided that he wanted to talk to her.
It was fairly chilly outside, so he put on his jacket as he ascended the staircase. As he got to the top of the steps leading to the roof, he could barely make out the silhouette of Raven floating in the air, deep in meditation. He slowly and quietly walked up to her so that he didn't disturb her.
"You should go back to bed," said Raven without breaking out of her meditative state. "I imagine it's been a little while since you've gotten a good night's sleep."
"Couldn't sleep," Beast Boy replied coolly.
"Really?" Raven could sense his lie.
"Well, uh… no." Just tell it like it is, he thought. "Truth is, I really wanted to talk to you." Raven broke out of her meditation and slowly floated down onto the edge of the tower. "Is it, uh, okay if I join you?"
"Funny," she said, although her voice didn't imply anything funny, "I wanted to talk to you too." She patted the spot to the right of her, motioning for Beast Boy to sit down. He slowly took a seat next to her, being careful not to sit too close. He didn't want to make things more uncomfortable than they already were. "Mind if I go first?" she asked, turning to look at Beast Boy.
Beast Boy turned to face her and found himself staring right into her beautiful, dark blue eyes. He quickly shook his head in confirmation and turned away to hide his red face. "Look, Beast Boy," Raven said while staring out at the city. "I realized I owe you an apology."
Beast Boy turned to look at her with an inquisitive glance. "What do ya mean? If it wasn't for you, I'd still be in my room weeping."
Raven paused to think about the best way to approach the topic. "Well, when I first walked in, you assumed I was there to insult you. We both know that we haven't exactly been the best at getting along. But besides the fact that you annoyed the ever-living crap out of me!" Her voice changed to an irritated growl, one that Beast Boy was quite familiar with. "I guess I figured you weren't affected by what others said; you always seemed to have a big grin on and cracking jokes. Until I saw you truly hurt for the first time, I never stopped to think that what I was saying was hurting you on the inside." She turned so that she was looking him straight in the eyes. "So I'm sorry, Beast Boy."
Beast Boy kept staring at those beautiful eyes, until chuckling after a few seconds. "Well, call it coincidence, but I also wanted to give a long overdue apology. I know it must have been hard when you joined the team. You were from a different world; your ways were different from ours. And I know I didn't exactly do a good job at welcoming you to Earth. I thought you were really creepy and I was downright terrified of you." To his surprise, Raven let out a slight giggle at this comment. "But all the others immediately befriended and trusted you… and I should've done the same. So for that, I'm sorry."
Beast Boy watched as he saw Raven put on the prettiest smile; he could tell by her eyes that she was truly grateful of his apology. Raven's smile went away when a breeze blew in, causing her to grimace while she shivered and hugged her shoulders. She was wearing her usual attire of a tight, one-piece suit and a cape to match.
"Shit, you must be freezing," said Beast Boy, as he made to remove his jacket.
"No, it's fine," said Raven, trying to tough it out as usual. She tried stretching her cape so that it would cover her shoulders and arms. The look on Beast Boy's face told her that he wasn't buying it. "Besides, then you'll be cold."
Raven was caught completely off guard when Beast Boy, still wearing the jacket, put one arm around her and pulled her in close. Immediately, Raven felt warmth radiate from two places: the body of the changeling who currently had his arm around her and her own red cheeks. Raven's first mental response told her to furiously slap Beast Boy across the face; that's what she would've done back when they first met. Then she had a second response, which was the one she chose to act on.
Now it was Beast Boy's turn to be surprised. He felt Raven snuggle even closer to him, as she laid her legs on top of his. Then she slid her head onto his chest so that it acted as a chin rest for him. "Hey, Raven," he said, trying to hide the shock and excitement in his voice.
"Yeah, Beast Boy?" There it was again; that soft but beautiful voice.
"I know this ain't really your thing, but I was wondering if you wanted to go see that new horror movie with me. Scary movies are only fun if your with somebody."
Raven looked up to see his usual sheepish grin. "Beast Boy," she paused, trying to comprehend what was going on. "Are you asking me out on a date?"
Beast Boy suddenly reverted back to his flustered state. "I mean, like… Well, you don't have to think of it like that. I mean, we don't even have to sit together-"
"Beast Boy." Raven was now on her knees and facing him. Both young superheroes could see the care for one another in each other's eyes. Whether they knew it at the time, this was the beginning of what would become a beautiful relationship. "I'd love to," she finished, giving the green titan a hug before getting up. The two walked back into the tower holding hands, both deep in thought of what had just occurred.
"Nothing like a sandwich in the middle of the night to get me back to sleep," said Cyborg, as he pulled out his roast beef sandwich. "Huh?" he said, reacting to the sound of someone entering from outside. He stood there silent and astonished as Beast Boy and Raven walked back in holding hands. Cyborg looked down at the sandwich he had already taken a few bites out of. "Man, these late-night sandwiches are startin' to mess with my head."
Hope you all liked it. This is the first fanfic I've ever written, and my first one to be put on this website. Let me know what you think. I appreciate your complete honesty, but try not to be too harsh.