The sliding doors opened and closed. Raven entered the common room, her nose buried in a book while she remained oblivious to what was happening around her. This was one of the gray sorceress's unadvertised skills, to be able to tune out frivolous distractions. Villains were more than familiar with her awe inspiring dark energy and her skill as practitioner of magic had only grown over the years, but this was a skill she mostly used in the Tower.
And the years had gone by. The Teen Titans were now simply known as the Titans as they were all at least 21 years old. Much had changed over the years: Robin was now known as Nightwing and was engaged to the mighty Princess Starfire. The Tamaranian had also matured and now possessed a very muscular and at the same time curvier form than she had as a teenager. The orange skinned alien no longer had to envy Raven's bosom as she now had mammaries that put the demoness's chest to shame.
Other than having upgraded technology Cyborg was pretty much the same. Beast Boy had grown a few inches taller and was now the same height as Raven. He also had a more adult physique with wide shoulders and a now muscular torso.
Raven paused her reading to scan the common room. Other than a newer GameStation console and an even bigger TV it looked the same as the day they all first moved in almost seven years ago. What also had yet to change was the way her teammates behaved.
It was December 31st, the seventh day of Christmas. The huge tree was still in the common room and even though its needles were starting to fall off she knew that it would stay put until the 12th day of Christmas, which was the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, when it was said that astrologers from the orient came to visit the Christ child.
The irony of the Titans celebrating Christmas was not lost on her. Starfire was an alien who worshipped a heathen goddess named X'Hal. Cyborg was an atheist. Richard was a lapsed Protestant who never set foot in a church. Beast Boy was raised Catholic by Mento and Elasti-Girl and while he insisted that he was Catholic he hadn't been to Mass in years. And then of course there was Raven, who even though she was a demoness she actually understood the concepts and doctrines of Christianity better than any of her teammates. Still, seeing the tree go up every year was a rite she had to learn to tolerate. She could literally feel Rage bristle every year when Advent came around, but as the years passed Raven was finally able to control the part of her psyche that was a direct gift from her father and was even able to participate in some of the year end activities with her friends. This year had even been a milestone for her as she, for the first time ever, helped decorate the Christmas tree.
Tonight there was going to be a different sort of celebration, a more secular one. The ushering in of the New Year was a holiday that she had never cared for in the past. As far as she was concerned it was an artificial holiday, more of an excuse to engage in debauchery than anything else. Yet her teammates were busy decorating the common room for the year end celebration. Tables were being set up for a buffet feast that caterers would be delivering soon. Starfire was flitting overhead, hanging banners welcoming the extended Titans family to the celebration, giggling happily to herself. Beast Boy was unpacking party hats, bags of confetti and party favors. Cyborg was setting up the electronic entertainment, which included a disco ball that he had already hung from the ceiling.
The sliding doors opened and Raven saw Nightwing enter the room, pushing a hand truck loaded with boxes.
"Cyborg! The caterers arrived! Titans! We need to finish getting ready; the first guests will be arriving soon!"
Raven intercepted Nightwing who stopped as she blocked his path.
"Excuse me Raven, but I'm kind of in a hurry."
Raven ignored his request and opened one of the boxes, from which she extracted a bottle of sparkling wine.
"Dick, is this a good idea?"
Nightwing smiled as he replied.
"Raven, this is the first year when everyone is over 21."
He chuckled at her.
"Oh come on, are you really expecting everyone to drink sparkling grape and apple juice again?"
"Why not, we've done that for years. Or do you want a Tower full of drunken superheroes?"
"It's just wine, Raven. No one is going to be intoxicated. I said that there would be no hard liquor, remember?"
"You sure bought a lot of wine"
"Actually Alfred sent it from Wayne Manor. By the way, this is the good stuff."
"And that makes it OK?"
The masked hero chuckled again.
"Oh, lighten up Raven! So who's your date for the party, anyway?"
"I don't date."
"Well … maybe you should. Now if you'll excuse me …"
Nightwing deftly maneuvered the hand truck around Raven and stopped in front of some tubs of ice, into which he inserted the countless bottles of bubbly.
"So you want me to lighten up? I'll show you what 'lightened up' is, Bird Boy" She muttered under her breath.
-( scene break )-
The party had been in full swing for over an hour and Raven remained conspicuous by her absence. The others didn't give that fact a second thought as Raven always made herself scarce during the annual Titans's New Year's party, often only showing up just minutes before midnight and leaving immediately after the new year had been rung in, probably so that she could avoid having to hug or, even worse, kiss anyone as part of the celebration.
It was barely past 9 PM at this point. The food was good and the bubbly flowed freely. Mas y Menos grumbled as they were still underage and they were the only guests stuck drinking soda pop, but were actually having a good time. Music was playing and the male Titans, who were usually too self conscious to dance, were now feeling a lot more uninhibited and were eager to dance with the lady Titans. Jericho was causing quite a commotion as he expertly danced with Argent and Jinx. Nightwing and Cyborg were manning the bar, refilling the drinks for the nearly fifty guests present.
"This has to be our best party ever!" Cyborg remarked. "Look at BB dance with Starfire. Are you sure you aren't jealous Nighty?"
Richard chuckled as he refilled another drink.
"Nah, we both know he likes someone else."
Cyborg shook his head.
"I feel for the grass stain, I know he thinks we don't know, but he's wasting his time pining for her. It ain't gonna happen."
"I always wondered what he saw in Terra. I mean, she really wasn't good looking. She had to be homeliest female super hero I ever met." Nightwing remarked.
"That's because she wasn't a super hero. I guess he was kind of desperate back then."
"Back then? I think he's still desperate. Girls can smell that from a mile away. It's pure girl repellent, Cy. He needs to grow up."
"You got that straight. And speaking of growing up, where is our favorite demoness?"
Nightwing shook his head.
"Oh, you know her. She'll show up at 11:59, ring in the New Year with a glass of prune juice and head back to her room at 12:01."
"That's our little demoness, the life of the party. Say, why don't you go dance with your woman? You can't let the grass stain have all the fun. And don't worry, I can cover the bar, I don't have a date tonight."
"Thanks Cy. I can't believe that Karen dumped you for Malcolm …"
Nightwing stopped mid sentence and gasped as the doors opened. Standing in the entrance, wearing a hot pink cape and a revealing two piece black swimsuit and wearing only sandals on her feet … was Raven. She approached her two teammates and picked up a glass of bubbly which she consumed in a single gulp. She then thrust the glass in Cyborg's direction, indicating that she wanted a refill.
"I'm glad you decided to join the party, Raven." The tin man greeted her as he refilled her glass.
"That's … uh … some outfit you're wearing." Nightwing added.
"You told me to lighten up and after careful consideration I decided to take your advice."
"Well … that's great! Just go easy on the bubbly; I know you've never had wine before."
"I'll be fine." She replied as she began to mingle with the crowd.
Kid Flash appeared out of nowhere and joined Nightwing and Cyborg at the bar.
"Look at her, she is so hot! And once we get her liquored up she might even be some fun!"
His remark earned him a collective glare followed by a rebuke from Nightwing.
"You stay away from her, Wally! If you take advantage of her, I'll kick you out of the Titans!"
"Oh come on, this is just what she needs."
"Wally! I'm warning you."
"Relax, I won't deflower her or anything. The most I'll do is steal a kiss from her."
"Knowing you, you'll try to cop a feel from her. We all know why Jinx dumped you." Cyborg growled.
"Geez! Fine, I'll leave her alone." Wally complained before zooming away.
The party continued. Raven returned every fifteen minutes or so for a refill and the effects of the alcoholic beverage were becoming evident. At first she mingled better than she usually did. Cyborg continued to keep an eye on her. After the 3rd refill she started to smile. After the 5th she even laughed.
Around eleven o'clock Cyborg and Beast Boy were manning the bar and Raven returned for what would have been her tenth refill. She had her arm draped around Hot Spot's shoulder and was leaning against him. The human torch looked extremely uncomfortable and as he made eye contact with Beast Boy he nodded at a clearly intoxicated Raven who once gain thrust her empty glass at the bionic Titan.
"Shyborg, my glash is empty." She slurred.
"Sorry Raven, I think you've had more than enough."
Raven released Hot Spot and staggered towards Beast Boy who had already moved in front of the bar. She stumbled and dropped her glass, which broke as it hit the ground. Beast Boy caught her, with her face buried into his chest.
"Raven, are you alright?" He asked her.
"You're cute Beashtie Boy. You know what I like besht about you?" She continued to slur.
Raven grabbed both of the changeling cheeks and gave them a good squeeze. He yelped in surprise while the throng of guests that had gathered to watch the spectacle laughed.
"You have a really, really sexy butt."
Nightwing approached the changeling and whispered into his ear.
"Take her outside so she can get some fresh air."
Beast Boy nodded his agreement as he draped Raven's arm around his neck and led her out of the common room. Jinx accompanied them to make sure she was OK. Once they were outside Beast Boy told Jinx he had things under control. Jinx nodded and returned to the party. As soon as she was gone Raven released Beast Boy and stood up straight. She looked perfectly sober. He gave her a puzzled look before reacting.
"So that was all an act?"
"Yes, it was."
"My reasons are many."
"You're kidding me?"
"No. I'm not. First of all, I wanted to teach Nightwing a lesson. He'll never, ever again tell me again to lighten up".
"You sure got him there, he looked so embarrassed."
"Second, I wanted to show him the pitfalls of serving alcohol at parties."
"Oh, come on Raven! Everyone was doing fine."
"It only takes one drunk to spoil a party. Another reason was to get out of the party, but there's one more reason."
"Yes, I got to grab your butt in public and I totally got away with it."
The changeling laughed.
"Rae, you are my girlfriend now, even if it's still a secret. If you wanna grab my butt, you can do it anytime you want."
The sorceress gave him a rare reward: she smiled at him. She then wrapped her arms around his neck and they exchanged a fiery kiss.
"So how did you drink all that and not … you know … get plastered?"
She responded between kisses.
"I poured it down the fichus plant in the corner … we're probably gonna have to get a new one."
As they continued to smooch Raven's hands wandered down Garfield's back and just as they found their target …
Nightwing, Cyborg and Starfire appeared out of nowhere.
"Busted!" They shouted in unison.
Beast Boy and Raven didn't even flinch.