Woah! Another story within 24 hours? I'm on a roll here! Not the transcript style(it's very tiring to write, trust me), and the result of a sudden brainwave. Another BB/Rae fic, but again, no romance. This takes place about a month or two after 'Aftershock', which is why there's not even a hug here.(I've somehow always felt that Raven's I'm-drowning-save-me-hug after the Malchior incident was the first hug between them. Don't want to disrupt that.)
As usual, please review!
Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans. I'd have willingly swallowed a plate of glorg if it helped but I don't.
It was the start of an unremarkable day. The cavern was mostly unremarkable, in the manner of being mostly unknown to the majority of the city that thrived above it. There was just one, single, remarkable thing about it. That was its purpose. For it was a tomb. A shrine.
A very remarkable boy sat at the base of the statue that was the one defining feature of the cavern. A very life-like statue, one might wonder. A small plaque with three phrases was all that identified the girl.
A TEEN TITAN
A TRUE FRIEND
Beast Boy stared at the stone girl's face, his own face expressionless but his plaintive green eyes speaking volumes. There was so much sadness in them that one would have wondered if it really was Beast Boy there, the green-skinned changeling lovingly called 'grass stain' by his friends.
"You're up early," a voice called out behind him, the one person he never expected to be there.
"Couldn't sleep," he replied simply. "How did you find me?"
She came to stand next to him, her dark cloak just barely sweeping the ground. "You do know that your communicator is also a tracking device?"
"Oh. Yeah. Guess I forgot."
"That doesn't surprise me. You aren't particularly notorious for your scintillating memory."
"Not now, Raven."
She glanced at him then. He didn't look angry, but he definitely didn't look like his usual cheerful self. Almost soundlessly, she sat down next to him, her legs crossing automatically in her usual meditation stance.
"How often do you come here?" –she asked, a bare hint of curiosity in her monotone.
"Almost everyday," he admitted.
He finally looked at her. "Do you even have to ask?"
"I know generally. What are your particular reasons?"
He was quiet for a moment. "I don't have to tell you," he said, a little stubbornly.
"No," she agreed, "but I'd still like to know."
He was quiet again for a long time; so long, that she thought he wasn't going to answer, when he did.
"It's not because I miss her. I hate myself for that, but she'd left us twice before the… end. I was… used to her going away. I made myself get used to it. I come mostly because I couldn't tell her, I never got the chance to tell her –the truth. So I keep coming back, I keep telling her what I hadn't back then, but every time, everyday, it's always too late." A single tear trickled down his cheek. "I'm used to her going away, Raven. But I'm not used to her never coming back. I don't want to."
Raven's voice was very, very soft. "Beast Boy," she said, "you have to."
"No!" The sudden outburst stunned her. He was suddenly angry, and more tears flowed down his cheeks as he jumped to his feet. "I won't accept it!"
Raven got to her feet as well. "Beast Boy… she isn't even present in there-"
"I won't! I will not give up on her… she is there. And she's coming back!"
"Beast Boy!" Her voice was more firm. "Try and understand. I can't feel her presence."
"You're lying!" –he yelled. "I know you are! You've always hated her! You were always jealous of her! You hate me, too, don't you! I bet you're secretly enjoying how miserable I am! And now you don't want her back!"
His shouts echoed in the cavern for a long time. Some part of Beast Boy's brain told him he should be scared of the frozen look on Raven's face, but he didn't care. He simply turned away from her, and towards the statue, tears unabated. The silence stretched for a long time. If he didn't have his sensitive ears and nose, Beast Boy would have thought she'd left.
Her next words were completely unexpected. "You're right. For some part." He turned around then, surprise stalling his tears for him. She looked as calm and serene as ever. "You know, Beast Boy, you're more perceptive than anyone gives you credit." A pause, a small sigh, and she continued, "I did hate her. For a long time. I was too suspicious of her anyway. Even after we became friends, I was still jealous of her. She was… everything I wasn't. Everything I never could be."
No one knew exactly how much Raven suffered after Terra arrived. Except perhaps Starfire. Surprisingly, only she was the one who recognised Raven's feelings of inadequacy, freely admitting that it was exactly how she'd felt when her sister, Blackfire, had come to visit. The bond between the two girls had deepened over this shared understanding, even as Raven began to let Terra more and more into her life.
"When she betrayed you, Beast Boy, she betrayed every single one of us. I'm sure you know that. She was family for each and every one of us, and I never hated her more than I did when she attacked us that day. And now," she paused to glance at Terra's statue. "Now I may not like her as much as I used to. But she was your friend, Beast Boy. That's enough for me to forgive her, and it's enough for me to want her back. Even as impossible as it is."
Beast Boy sniffed and glanced back at the statue. "Impossible," he repeated sadly.
Raven took a cautious step forward. "I'm sorry Beast Boy. I wish there was something we could do. I really do."
He sniffed again after several long seconds. "Yeah. I know." He turned around to face her, looking slightly sheepish. "I'm sorry I said all those things."
"It's alright. And by the way, I don't hate you. I thought I've already told you that."
He shrugged, eyeing the floor. "I thought you didn't mean it."
Raven raised an eyebrow. "If I told you I didn't hate you even after you ended up literally running around in my head, then I definitely meant it."
He chuckled. "Right. Sorry about that again."
She nodded. "Besides, if I went around hating every person who annoyed me, I'd hate everyone in this world. Including myself."
He grinned and ran his hand through his hair. "I'm not that annoying."
Her voice was sarcastic. Normal. "Meh, I guess not. But your jokes are."
"Hey! You told me I was funny once, remember?"
"We'd just met. I was being polite."
"One of these days, Rae, I'm gonna make you smile and then you'll admit it."
"Don't call me that. Or I'm not teleporting you back."
He scoffed. "I can make my way back myself."
"Not before Cyborg throws away all your tofu breakfast."
He glanced at his watch with a shock. "Dude! Is it that late already? Let's go!"
The operations room in Titans Tower was surprisingly quiet. Just the soft flapping of newspaper pages as Robin read through the day's news, Cyborg humming tunelessly as cooked something over the stove, and the gentle click of needles as Starfire tried to knit(horrendously). It was nice, peaceful. Then Cyborg, to his increasing distress, noticed a plate sitting on the counter, filled with nothing but-
"Get your hands off my tofu!" A voice announced, as a large patch of dark energy on the floor admitted the remaining two Titans. A collective groan passed through those assembled. The daily ritual had begun.
It was only when the meat/tofu debate was on full swing, that Raven went to sit between the remaining two. "Well?" –asked their leader.
As Starfire beamed, "Glorious!", Robin only nodded. "Thanks, Raven."
Raven simply shrugged. "It was getting too quiet. I couldn't concentrate."
Just as Robin raised a masked eyebrow tauntingly, there was a loud crash as a plate of something flew over their heads and smashed into the huge bay window. The two boys were really getting into the debate.
The three friends glanced at each other.
"I'm going to my room," said Raven.