Beast Boy had always prided himself on being the easy going type, the kind of person who rolled with the punches. He didn't like to worry. He had done enough worrying in his early years to last him the rest of his life. Now, he liked to take it easy. If a path diverged in the woods he would take the road most traveled. There would be less chances for unwelcome surprises and more room to simply walk and enjoy the surroundings.
So why then did he suddenly find himself in this predicament? Why were his hands folded behind his back and his brow furrowed in deep concentration? Why was he tirelessly pacing back and forth across the small confines of his bedroom with his mind puzzled and his feelings confused? When he had woken up that morning everything was just as it had been the day before. How was it that in only a matter of hours his life could suddenly be turned so completely upside down?
With a smile on his face and humming the theme song to the Transformers cartoon, Beast Boy casually strolled through the supermarket's automated doors. It was a hot July day outside, the hottest yet, and the cool kiss of the store's air conditioning system on his sweat speckled brow was a welcome relief.
For weeks now a late night gaming session with Cyborg had been in the works. At long last the evening was upon them, and naturally Beast Boy was excited. He wanted to make the most of it. And that of course meant a trip to the downtown supermarket. For no video game marathon was complete without the proper fuel: Snackfood! Crunchy Puffs, Taco Flavored Chiperino's, Chocolate covered Dino-wafers, microwaveable pizza pastries... only the tastiest readymade confections would do for a night of intense pixelated action. And so with his trademark grin spread across his face, he procured a shoopping cart and ventured deep into the heart of the grocery.
Roughly ten minutes later Beast Boy was just about finished. Five different kinds of chips, a box of cookies, two packages of assorted candies, a few six packs of soda and several boxes of microwaveables, all were thrown haphazardly into his shopping cart. He was just about to head for checkout when he suddenly remembered.
"Salsa," he said aloud to himself. He had nearly forgotten. "What good is corn chips without Salsa?" Scratching his head and idly chewing his bottom lip, Beast Boy looked about the store. "Which aisle was that in again?"
The shopping cart rattled quietly as Beast Boy journeyed from one side of the grocery to the other. His eyes were fixed skyward as he silently read the informational placards hung above each aisle. Meat, eggs, milk, juices, hygiene products, greeting cards, soft drinks, sports drinks, bread, seasonings... each card dictated to him all the numerous items that could be found in each aisle. After a minute or so of searching he reached the frozen food section and regrettably realized he had gone too far. With a frustrated sigh he turned the cart around and began to travel back the way he came. He had just started rereading the placards again when it happened. His hands shook and his ears rang with the sharp sound of cart-on-cart impact as he was stopped dead in his tracks.
'Ah crap I hit somebody,' he remembered instantly thinking to himself. He was just about to apologize when he suddenly found himself incapable of speaking.
She was roughly his age, the owner of the other cart, the one he had bumped into, that was to say 19 or so. Her hair was the color of the sun; perfectly combed, it fell down the middle of her back and swayed gently above her hips. Her eyes were blue, her skin a healthy peach color. She smiled at him and all of a sudden it was like he was fifteen again. It was her. The first girl that had ever stolen his heart. Terra.
"Beast Boy?" she said, her eyes blinking in disbelief. "Oh my God, hi!"
Beast Boy was in complete and utter shock. The last time he had seen Terra she insisted that she wasn't who he claimed she was, that she didn't remember him or the Titans or anything about herself. But now, the way she looked at him, it was like she remembered everything. Was this really the same girl he met all those years ago?
"Hi," Beast Boy finally managed to answer with only mild difficulty. "Terra? Is that you?"
"Of course it's me."
The girl smiled and Beast Boy nearly melted. "You actually remember me?" he said after a beat.
"Yeah," she answered her smile fading a bit. "It took a while. I'm guessing it was some kind of side affect from whatever happened to me back in that cave. For the longest time I didn't remember much of anything about what had happened to me. But then slowly but surely it all started coming back. Oh Beast Boy I'm so sorry."
"No, no it's okay. It wasn't your fault." Beast Boy suddenly found himself saying. "It's great to see you again. Really."
"It's great to see you again too."
And for the next several minutes it was like old times again, almost as if the last several years had never happened at all. The two talked and laughed, reflected on good times, and got caught up on all the important events that had transpired in their time apart. The mood was light and friendly. Beast Boy was really enjoying himself and he could tell Terra was as well. It was after about fifteen minutes or so, however, that things took a more somber tone.
"I really am sorry about everything that happened," said Terra sadly.
"I know and it's okay," said Beast Boy, doing his best to reassure her she was forgiven. "Everyone makes mistakes. Look at it this way: we were all victimized by Slade. And in the end you saved us and set things right. That's what's important."
For a moment Terra was silent, her eyes cast upon the floor. After a few moments she smiled softly to herself and pushed a few strands of blonde hair behind her ear. "You know," she said. "I guess it's kind of silly, but, after my memory came back, I realized one of the things I regretted most... was ruining my chances with you."
With those words Beast Boy immediately felt his stomach back flip and heat rise to his face. Scratching the back of his neck he smiled and let loose a nervous chuckle and said, "Oh really? You don't say."
Terra smiled sweetly and a very distinct patch of red suddenly sprang up on her cheeks. Nervously she drummed her fingers on the handle of her shopping cart and began awkwardly shifting her weight from one foot to the other. "So I was wondering," she said. "Since our first date, our only date I guess, ended so badly, I was hoping that maybe if you weren't doing anything we could maybe give it another try."
Beast Boy's grin was threatening to escape from his face by the time he marched through the common room's automated doors with all his groceries. He could hardly believe it. There must have been an angel smiling down on him that day. Sure, the date wasn't exactly official yet- the plan was to go to dinner and a movie on Friday and he had to double check the schedule to make sure there was nothing definite planned for that particular time slot -but still the very idea that he was getting a second chance (a third chance even) to make up for lost time with a girl he'd always believed was tailor made for him was remarkable. What he was feeling at that moment was indescribable. He wasn't sure he had ever been so happy.
Taking a moment he pulled the scrap of folded note pad paper out of his pocket, the one Terra had given him, and stared idly at the seven digits jotted down on it in blue ink. "Mmmm, girl number," he droned lovingly to himself before putting the paper back into his pocket.
With a song in his heart he set his grocery bags on the counter and began putting them away in the appropriate cabinets. It was when he was about halfway done that he heard the swishing of the common room doors. Looking over his shoulder he saw Raven float her way into the room.
"Beast Boy?" the girl said somewhat quietly.
"Hey Raven!" he practically shouted, spinning around on his heels and leaning casually against the counter. The level of confidence he felt in himself, it was like he was invincible, the master of all that he surveyed. "What's goin on, oh lovely mistress of the dark arts?" he said with a smirk.
"I was wondering if I could talk to you for a moment."
Raven nodded her head towards the direction of the couch, intimating that Beast Boy follow. The young man smiled and obliged and the two made their way over. It was after they had sat down that he noticed there was something different about the violet haired sorceress that day. She appeared fidgety, nervous, like something was troubling her. This was unusual. As long as he had known her, she had always been very good about keeping that particular side of her in check. Even on the battlefield one could never tell exactly what was going through her mind. She always appeared calm, in control. The fact that she now appeared visibly bothered had him concerned.
"Beast Boy," said Raven after a beat. "Before I say anything I want you to know that this isn't something I do lightly. I'm not just blurting this out because it suddenly popped into my head. This is something to which I've given a lot of thought and spent several hours meditating over. I've considered the pros and cons, the implications, as well as the consequences and the rewards. And I've decided that...well..."
The young woman hesitated and the room quickly fell silent. Beast Boy, his concern growing, was just about to ask Raven if she was okay when she took a deep breath and continued.
"Beast Boy," she said. "I...I...like you."
Beast Boy was silent. Was that it? The green boy gave the girl a perky smile. "Okay, well, I like you too Raven," he said, giving her a friendly pat on the shoulder.
For a brief moment Raven's brow furrowed and she appeared frustrated; however, it was very quickly wiped from her face. "No," she said. "I mean...I really like you."
Awkwardly Beast Boy repositioned himself on the couch and cleared his throat. "Well, I really like you too," he said.
Raven's shoulders slumped and she let out an exasperated sigh. "No, I mean I like-like you, okay?"
Pure and utter confusion was smeared across Beast Boy's face. "Is this some sort of word game?" he asked innocently.
Raven slapped her forehead hard with her palm. "Azar help me," she said as she slowly but roughly ran the appendage down her face. "No, Beast Boy, it's not a word game."
"Cause I'm not really good at those."
"It's not a word game."
"I mean I'm still willing to play, but I need to at least know what the rules are before-"
"Beast Boy, listen to what I'm saying." Raven's eye was twitching in a most threatening way as she glared hard at the boy seated next to her. "I'm trying to tell you that I, Raven, really, really liiiiiike you. Okay?"
Things went silent and for a moment Beast Boy appeared to be in deep thought. Rubbing his chin, the green boy stared off into the middle distance. Raven, realizing that at long last the loveable but slow witted boy might finally be getting it, swiftly calmed herself and waited patiently for his reaction.
"Wait a minute..." said Beast Boy eventually. "Raven, since when do you even like games?"
With eyes glowing red, Raven leapt to her feet. Throwing his arms out in front of him for defense, Beast Boy cowered in fear as the violet haired girl towered over him, her size double what it once was. "LISTEN TO ME, YOU LITTLE GREEN IDIOT," she bellowed in a throaty supernatural voice. "I'M TRYING TO TELL YOU THAT I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU!"
Beast Boy lowered his arms. "What?" he said, now seeming to be hearing her words for the first time.
Immediately Raven found herself shrinking back down into her seat on the couch. She cleared her throat and the same nervousness she had illustrated before came back in full swing. "Well," she said playing with her fingers. "Yes. I believe that...I am in love with you."
"Oh," was all Beast Boy offered in response.
An awkward silence fell between the two as they sat motionless on the couch, both staring straight ahead, neither looking at the other.
"Soooo," said Raven slowly. "What do you think of that?"
"I don't know. I mean...I guess...I think it's good? Like.. That...you said that?"
"Do you think you might feel the same?"
At that Beast Boy froze. Suddenly, much to his surprise he found himself rife with indecision. He had a date more-or-less planned with Terra, a date he had just been so excited about mere minutes earlier. Everything logical told him he should tell Raven no. And yet he hesitated. Did he feel the same way?
"I don't know," he finally said.
"Oh," answered Raven.
Again the two fell silent, and suddenly Beast Boy felt terrible. He could clearly sense Raven's disappointment with his response. It was definitely not the answer she was seeking.
"So what happens now?" said Beast Boy eventually.
"Well, I think the most logical thing to do would be for the two of us to see if, in the midst of this discovery, there's any potential to be had for a meaningful relationship."
"I think we should spend some time together."
"Oh. You mean like on a date?"
Raven cringed as if merely hearing the word caused her discomfort. "Yes," she said. "A date. I looked over the schedule and I know for a fact that Robin doesn't have anything planned this Friday so I was hoping you and I could maybe...I don't know... go to the carnival?"
Once again Beast Boy found himself seizing up. Friday. It had to be Friday. And yet once again, even though everything within him was demanding that he turn the girl down, still there was that part of him that refused to let him do so. Finally he was left with only one alternative.
"Can I get back to you?"
And so here it was that Beast Boy found himself, in his room, wearing out the carpet with his pacing, trying to figure out his situation. The day had started the same as every other day. It had been easy. Why then did everything suddenly become so hard? Stopping his pacing Beast Boy took a deep breath and put his arms out in front of him as if to steady himself.
"Okay," he said aloud. "Hell froze over and two girls asked me out on the same day. I'm going to have to turn one of them down. But which one?" For a moment he held his breath, almost as if he was expecting his room to give him an answer. He then groaned in frustration and grabbed his hair with both hands saying, "Awww why is this even a problem? It's Terra right? I like Terra don't I? I should just go out with her?" Again he paused. "But what if? I mean Raven is kind of...No no. Stop it."
Once again he began pacing. After a few minutes he stopped. "Okay," he said. "Calm down. I'll just need to think about this logically."
There was no doubt in Beast Boy's mind that there was at least a physical attraction present for both girls. And why wouldn't there be? He was, after all, a red blooded, albeit also green skinned, American male and as such he could not help but take notice whenever there was a pretty girl around. To be honest though, Terra was more what he would call cute while Raven he had to admit was more the definition of beautiful. Raven had an air of mystery about her, something that he had to admit was not present in Terra. And this undoubtedly made her more attractive.
On the other hand, and what he felt really mattered, was compatibility. And that was where Terra was hands down the better choice. Beast Boy could honestly not think of anyone who was more suited for him. They worked perfectly together, he and Terra. They loved the same TV shows, the same movies, the same music. They both liked to have fun and play practical jokes. That and they always seemed to laugh at all the same things.
Raven, however, was quite the opposite. Really, Beast Boy could not think of someone with which he had less in common. She didn't play videogames or sports (not usually anyway). Her taste in movies extended only to art house films, dramas and the occasional horror flick while Beast Boy mainly preferred over the top actions and goofy comedies. She was straight-laced and serious, not to mention, sarcastic, overly critical, and at times downright mean. Still there was a dependability about Raven that he really liked. Even when she was being mean to him she always looked out for him and always helped him when he needed it. She was always there for him. Quite honestly, he felt safe when he was around her.
Then there was the long term. He and Terra simply clicked. There was no two ways around it. They had always gotten along and it wasn't unfair to assume they always would, and that life with Terra would be an easy one. There was a part of him that believed that a relationship between Raven and himself was also feasible. But undoubtedly it would be a lot more effort and there was still no guarantee things would work out.
Beast Boy sighed and dug the phone number Terra had left him out of his pocket. "Terra seems like the obvious choice," he said aloud. So why couldn't he bring himself to call her. This was a no brainer right? The girl he had everything in common with versus the girl he was undoubtedly more attracted to but with whom had a tougher time seeing himself. Rubbing his face with his free hand he turned and looked to the clock on the wall. It was almost time to meet with Cyborg for their gaming night. He supposed he still had time to think it over, and that, for the moment, he would just take it easy.
Quickly licking Chiperino dust from his fingertips Beast Boy picked up the controller and pressed start. In a matter of seconds the common room was once again filled with the sound of clicking buttons as he and Cyborg continued their gaming marathon, fully immersing themselves in the rousing intergalactic dogfighting action of Space Mutineers. Beast Boy of course was not fairing very well, but the night was still young. However, while the weight of his impending decision was momentarily stayed it wasn't long before he once again found it creeping back into the forefront of his mind. Deciding his friend might be of some use, he decided to tell him everything that had happened.
"And so there you have it," said Beast Boy leaning from side to side on his seat as his on screen character avoided another pixilated hail of laserfire. "I got two dates with two different girls lined for the same night."
"Wow," said Cyborg. "Since when did you get so lucky?"
"Lucky nothing. More like since when did my life become a bad sitcom?"
"So what are you going to do?"
"Well, I was hoping you might know."
"I can't tell you how you feel B. You gotta decide that for yourself."
"I don't know. Terra seems like the one for me, but there's just something about Raven. It's like ever since she told me how she feels, I can't stop thinking about her."
"You have known each other a long time. And you two do get along a lot better than you used to."
"Yeah, that's true-ooh-ooh-look at this!"
In a moment of sheer excitement, Beast Boy leapt up on the couch. For the moment everything else was forgotten as his thumbs danced over the controller buttons. Onscreen his character dodged and deflected all of Cyborg's laser blasts before circling round to his back and laying into him with a devastating special attack. There was an explosion and a sting of triumphant music as the game proudly announced player 2 the winner.
"Woo-hoo, I beat you Robodude!" shouted Beast Boy tossing the controller down on the seat cushion next to him.
Cyborg smiled and shook his head. He leaned back on the couch and said, "Nice job, man. And how many years has it been since we've been playing this game."
"Doesn't matter," said Beast Boy. "What matters is I worked my butt off to get to this moment. Where I can finally say, I BEAT CYBORG AT GAMESTATION!"
Cyborg arched an eyebrow at Beast Boy's outburst. "I guess I don't have to ask you how it feels."
"Oh ask me. Please ask me how it feels."
"Okay, how does it feel?"
"It feels great!" shouted Beast Boy raising his fist in triumph.
"Well worth the time and effort?"
Beast Boy was ready to let loose with another boisterous outburst when suddenly he froze and his breath caught in his throat. He lowered his fist and sat himself back down on the couch. "Yeah," he said somewhat quietly. "Yeah, it was."
Cyborg looked at his friend skeptically. "You okay?"
Beast Boy nodded. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I think I am."
Beast Boy smiled. "Nope. Everything's fine."
Wearing the nicest clothes he could (considering the weather), which amounted to a pair of tan cargo shorts, a green collared short sleeved shirt and a pair of green tennis shoes, Beast Boy approached the door. With his free hand- his other containing a small bouquet of assorted flowers -he gently knocked on the door and waited as a muffled voice from the other side informed him that she was "coming." He heard a click and then the door opened.
Her outfit was simple, nothing more than a pair of charcoal grey short shorts, a dark blue halter top and a pair of open-toed sandals, but she wore it well, and there was no denying that, with her hair tied back, she looked absolutely beautiful. She nodded to him and the smallest of smiles crossed her lightly painted lips.
A wide cheek-to-cheek grin sprang up on Beast Boy's face and suddenly he found his heart beating faster than it ever had in his life.
"You look really nice, Raven," he said, offering her the bouquet.
"Thank you," said Raven, accepting the offering. "And thank you for at least humoring me with this whole...date...thing. Honestly I never expected you to get back to me. I know I haven't always been the easiest person to get along with."
Beast Boy smiled. In the most gentlemanly of fashions he stood to the side and extended to her his elbow, which she gladly accepted. "That's okay, Rave," he said somewhat casually. "Don't you know? The best things in life never come easy."