Note from the author: I was hoping to have posted this before Christmas but ran into complications with the site. I was able to post on time for my deviantart page, just not here. So even though it was out of my hands, my apologies for this being out of season. This originally started as an idea for a comic on my deviantart page. However after much thought I decided instead to shape it into a one shot story in time for the holidays.

Before I start, just a little reassurance to anyone reading and curious to its status, Quality Time it is still ongoing. The past few months have been busy for me. And while I have been planning and writing scenes and dialogue for the next chapter on paper, I've had no time to devote to start typing it up.

Thank you and seasons greetings to everyone.

Better To Give AND Receive

It was a cold night. Quiet and serene as the darkness encased the backdrop of the city with the stars twinkling brightly above. A chill in the air helped the thin layer of new fallen snow to thrive another day. The eve of Christmas time was now at an end as the holiday was now coming full circle with every passing moment. In a few short hours the sun would rise and the stillness of the night would soon give way to the bustle of anxious children clamoring around the tree, tearing wrapping paper to confetti. But for now there was only the peaceful calm of the night.

All but one place, seemingly exempt from this sweet peace.

Across the bay deep within the dark halls of Titan's tower a single light still dimly contrasted against the all-consuming shadows. Ironically in the one place where darkness and stillness flourished most frequently.

From beneath the door to Raven's room the gentle glow of a flickering candle signaled life where as the rest of the tower was still fast asleep. Inside Raven sat at the foot of her bed, her legs folded in the lotus position, deep in concentration. Yet her aim was not centered on meditation as was clear by the focused stare into a pad of paper in her lap. A pen firmly in hand the faint scratches against paper could be heard with every stroke of her wrist.

"…And so to honor this occasion," Raven whispered to herself, dictating as she wrote, "I do hereby…"

Raven paused, re-reading everything she'd previously written as she tapped the pen against her chin.

"No," she scribbled in broad strokes to cross off everything on the page before ripping it from the pad and crumpling the paper, tossing it over her shoulder.

She set her hand back down against a new fresh piece of paper on the pad. "On this occasion, to commemorate the…" she paused again, critiquing her words with the utmost care, "…significance and therefore…"

She stopped mid sentence.

"No!" she scribbled out more frantically as before, discarding another page. The crumpled lump of paper tumbled across her bed briefly before falling on the floor. There it found its place sitting atop a small pile of at least twenty or so equally disposed pages.

She took a deep breath before venting her subtle frustration with a huff.

She didn't understand why this was so difficult. It had already been hours since what first began as a piffling gesture in her mind had now seemingly evolved into a debilitating sleepless chore. This was supposed to be a token of good will. Now it felt more like a declaration of war.

The single candle floating above her bed encased in a bubble of black energy started to wobble. Raven glanced up, quick to steady her mind as she closed her eyes and with but a thought stabilized the energy holding the candle.

With another deep breath she began tapping the tip of her pen against the pad as if taking a moment to reflect on this development and how she'd come to find herself in the midst of this debacle.

Raven had never been a spirited person, especially around the holidays. Not that she was opposed to a traditional celebration now and then nor did she opt to dampen an otherwise festive mood. But when you're brought up being told you'll bring about untold destruction and devastation, you kind of adopt a glass half empty approach to life that can't be filled by the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause. In spite of this, she'd never attempted to alienate others just because she didn't feel the need to hang her socks by the fireplace.

For as long as she could remember, before the Titans had come into her life, she tried to live from day to day without becoming too attached to anything in particular. But after the prophecy of her father's return had passed and she realized she valued her sanity, she decided to focus on the need for something to keep her connected. Something to remind her why she risked her life on a daily basis. Namely, her friends. And for this reason Raven had begun to find herself a bit more open minded to the whims of the holidays in recent years.

She cherished all her friends as if they were family. Naturally she was not vocal about it much as she felt the bond was an unspoken one in the lives they shared. And she did still have her emotions to keep in check to keep her powers from spiking.

But the notion of family was not what had spurred this predicament she now found herself in. And it certainly wasn't some run of the mill moral inspired lesson she'd seen on one of those Christmas specials on tv where the spirit of the season overtakes someone and gives them warm fuzzies as Santa comes down the chimney as everyone drinks hot chocolate and sings 'Jingle Bells'. Get serious. This was Raven.

No, something far more practical was what drove Raven. Something that didn't have to wait once a year to come around and find its way into her thoughts.

Annoyance.

At least, partial annoyance. Even Raven wasn't so cold that she would automatically delegate one such undesired aspect to any single act on the holidays. Though it was solely directed towards the one person who brought it out in her as few could.

This brings us of course to BeastBoy.

It would be hard to imagine a holiday that didn't go more hand in hand with the resident changeling of the group. Singing loud songs to overly cheery music, eating large quantities of sweets, almost everything accompanied with the color green in someway, and pelting unsuspecting individuals with snowballs on the roof in the midst of deep meditation. At times it seemed as if BeastBoy himself had been made as a poster boy for this holiday. And none of the Titans catered more closely to the holiday traditions than him.

And among said traditions gift giving was at the top of the list.

As much as he loved to huddle under the tree and spark the little kid inside of him as he shook his presents, he was just as much about the giving as he was about getting. It seemed as though in addition to his mind not regressing past that of a child, neither did his heart. And he always had an uncanny way of picking out surprisingly thoughtful and heartfelt gifts.

While the superhero business was hardly the most lucrative BeastBoy always managed to scrape together just enough to spring for gifts for each of the Titans every year without fail. If memory served her correctly, last year he'd gotten Cyborg a tub of that industrial strength wax for the T-car. The kind that once applied Cyborg wouldn't let anyone look at the car, let alone sit in it for three days till the luster of the car's shine had dulled. He'd gotten Starfire a gift basket to the International House of Condiments downtown. From a culinary standpoint Starfire couldn't have been more delighted with the 'Mustards Around the World' collection.

Of course this was still BeastBoy so a gag gift was to be expected from time to time. And five to one odds were Robin was the one who'd get it. Difficult to shop for, BeastBoy had made it a habit every other year or so to present Robin with something rather…comical (at least comical in the sense that it was usually met with him having to get up earlier to train or an extended patrol without a tofu break in between). The remote controlled toy helicopter with mistletoe attached to the landing gear came to mind. As did the self-help book he gave in plain view of Starfire entitled, "Love, Denial, and Everything In-Between."

All things considered BeastBoy did everything within his power to make the holidays shine a little brighter. It was a welcome sentiment as that unspoken bond about family came into play again.

Which brought the current Yuletide boggle back fresh into Raven's mind. Every year she told BeastBoy not to get her anything. Well, perhaps 'told' was a bit of an understatement. Raven's version of told was actually closer to firm reminder, occasionally border-lining on passive threat.

Whatever the case she just wasn't big on presents, holiday or not. She had her health, she had her friends, and she still had a world that had averted doomsday. What more could she want? It also didn't help that Raven wasn't a particularly effective shopper. Raven was never big on crowded places like the shopping mall and what few stores she did venture into did not cater to anyone's interests besides her own. If she wanted or needed something she was perfectly capable of getting it herself. And it would be a poor trade to give in return something the others wouldn't genuinely want.

Raven put down the pad, resting the pen on top, deciding to take a break. She got up, walking to the nightstand beside her bed where she had set down a cup of herbal tea earlier.

Taking the cup softly into her hands she brought the rim of the cup to her lips taking a brief soothing drink. She went to set the cup back down but paused before lifting it once more to eye level. Inspecting the cup did little to ease her thoughts on the matter at hand. Particularly due to the fact that it was the very root of her problem.

A mid sized deep blue porcelain teacup, smooth to the touch. Firm handle, lightweight, easy to hold, and in pristine condition. On the front of the cup a large, somewhat blotchy but caringly hand painted black silhouette of a raven with its wings spread open. It was clearly an afterthought from how the paint had set. And yet for the better part of the year whenever she made tea she almost subconsciously reached for this one in particular and washed it immediately after every use so it would ready for the next cup to be poured.

Raven sighed. "Of all the places to put an antique store," she said monotone as ever, "There just had to be one next to his favorite comic book shop."

Last year this very cup had been given to her as a gift. A Christmas gift from the elf in beast's clothing. And had started this whole thing.

There was still much about Raven that BeastBoy didn't know as she still kept to herself a fair deal. But he knew that she drank tea often. He knew that she had a taste for vintage items based on her book selection. And of course blue was her favorite color. So when he happened past it in the window after picking up a few back issues of Lone Samurai Ninja Zombies, it seemed a perfect fit for her. Of course more so after the small detail of personalizing the cup for her. BeastBoy's skills with a paintbrush were far from impressive but even he could manage a black bird on a cup.

When Christmas came, she grudgingly accepted it after a failed attempt to refuse it. Her later instinct was to throw it away believing he'd somehow laced with inside of the cup with hot sauce or some other irritant to her taste buds. Realizing such a setup was far too elaborate for the likes of BeastBoy she rationalized it to be merely functional. But eventually she came to use it. When it became her favorite even she didn't know.

She set the cup down.

And here she was back where she started. A year gone by and that annoying green monkey still on her shoulder. She didn't know precisely why it bugged her. It just did. That he could do something so thoughtful, so kind. And she had paid it so little mind with hardly a word of thanks.

No more. This year was going to be different. This year she'd absolve herself.

She sat back down, taking the pad back into her lap and began writing. She would only pause to gauge the time as to how much was left until Christmas morning was upon her.

After much deliberation and continued trial by error writing page after page, Raven made her way to the main room. As she slowly walked down the hall the sun was just starting to creep over the horizon in the distance signaling the day had officially begun. And yet all Raven could do was wish for it to end.

Triumphant, however at the cost of a full night's rest Raven was clearly far from top form. Finishing her little holiday contribution had set her back farther than she'd thought. Her feet dragged across the floor as her head drooped between her shoulders. Her eyes were hardly open at all as a yawn grudgingly forced its way out of her. All she wanted to do was give the green boy who'd polluted her thoughts his due word of greeting, the tiring fruits of her labor, and if at all possible slink away quietly to crawl back into bed.

The door swished open.

Never had Raven been more grateful for automatic doors as she just couldn't spare the energy. She took one step toward the main room before slumping in her step. Her eyes narrowed though whether the result from lack of sleep or anger was difficult to determine.

Mostly because BeastBoy was in plain view.

He sat in the middle of the couch flipping through channels at high speed, rright eyed and bushy tailed. It figured that the only time BeastBoy could be expected to rise early was the one time she couldn't sleep a wink.

"Of course," Raven shook off the brief glare of annoyance, "Tis the season." Seeing others so awake and alert seemed like a sick joke under the circumstances. And the fact that for a change it was BeastBoy wide awake and Raven dragging her feet made the aggravation even deeper.

"Oh, hey!" BeastBoy tuned up an ear glancing in her direction with a smile. "Merry Christmas, Raven."

"Likewise," Raven retained her casual neutral demeanor. "Merry merry and a happy happy."

He turned his attention back to the tv, still seemingly not content with anything that was on.

She looked around, surveying the room. The kitchen was clear of activity. As was the dining area and with the exception of BeastBoy none of the other Titans occupied any other part of the main viewing room. It was just the two of them.

"Good," she whispered to herself, "I can make this quick without any complications." Given the circumstances she could certainly do without any remarks or conclusion jumping from the others. She walked towards the couch.

"Dude, you would not believe how hard it is to find a decent Christmas special. And ON CHRISTMAS of all days!" he flailed his hands in the air. "Nothin' but news, documentaries, and commercials for all the stuff leftover from…"

A piece of paper folded in half presented itself from over his shoulder.

"Huh?" Beastboy said off guard, looking up to find Raven seemingly handing it to him. He glanced between her and the paper she was seemingly trying to present him with. All the while attempting to gauge her face to wager a guess as to what it could be but to no avail. Raven had an indefinite poker face.

"Well?" Raven said plainly after he still hadn't made the effort to reach for her gift.

"Umm…" BeastBoy began, still unsure how to proceed. "This isn't like a bill is it? Ya know, for stuff I may or may not've wrecked, when I may or may not have been thinking straight, accompanied by threats you may or may not totally throw down on me?"

Raven raised an un-amused eyebrow.

"Uh… heh heh," BeastBoy chuckled nervously guessing he was not even close on his estimation.

Raven gently shoved the piece of paper firmly into the side of his face, causing BeastBoy to reach up and pluck the paper from her hand quickly before he could loose his balance and fall off the couch.

"You're in luck. The line was too long a wait for a restraining order," she walked towards the kitchen. Dry wit and sarcasm had always eased tension well enough for her.

BeastBoy unfolded the paper.

Raven ran her hands under the sink, splashing cool water on her face as if attempting to stay awake a bit longer. She looked back over at BeastBoy as he now held the paper far out in front of him. Then pulling it closer to his face. He then tilted his head to the side and then to the other.

"Is this like some kinda' psychic code or somethin'?" he scratched his head. "Cause I think I might need a decoder ring."

Raven moved back towards BeastBoy looking over his shoulder before hanging her head to the side. She reached over, grabbing hold of the top of page and then turning it right side up.

Instantly the words were clear as day as BeastBoy blushed slightly in embarrassment. "Oh."

Raven rolled her eyes. It was all she could do to keep from making some thoughtless remark that would send everything she'd put into this sentiment from going up in smoke.

BeastBoy studied the carefully handwritten words. It was clear just from the look of it a lot of thought and care hand gone into every single letter. The penmanship was superb, comparable to something in one of Raven's thicker novels of higher reading.

Raven stood beside him, arms folded, her finger impatiently tapping on her arm for him to finish so she could finally give this matter its proper closure.

Unfortunately it was a little too well written for BeastBoy to read. The font it was written so carefully in was hard to distinguish clearly what letter was which. "Raven?" he reluctantly began, "Could you um…"

"Ugh!" she fumed, snatching the paper from BeastBoy's hand giving the coldest of stares before taking a deep breath to calm herself. Composure restored she let out a soft sigh as she looked down at the paper to read:

"To BeastBoy,

I know that you do not mean to cause the aggravation and loss of temper that you seem to almost instinctually visit upon me. Despite how quickly I frequent impatience and anger on you and even quicker remarks on your part, even though they often dissipate quickly, you never take it personally. More importantly it never deters you from further interaction or abstaining from contact altogether. It is truly a testament your natural warmth and kindness.

And so as a token of my esteem and in remembrance of your nature in holidays past I choose to give the gift of forgiveness in advance. As such, I offer this declaration of thanks as a formal pardon from any future rise in temper.

Merry Christmas,

Raven"

She exhaled with a sense of pride though still somewhat embarrassed for having to read out loud what she'd spent so long to prepare as if she had done an oral report in front of a classroom. Raven caringly folded the paper back up, handing it to BeastBoy once more.

Somewhat in a daze BeastBoy accepted it, looking down to occasionally give a minor glance between Raven and her gift. He was blank.

Silence.

Raven's hardened look returned after a moment of no verbal reply, focused on BeastBoy. She wasn't really expecting a rebuttal of any kind. Nor was she expecting any real kind of sentimental speech as an outpouring of appreciation. But she was expecting something. A look of awe or approval. A meek 'thank you'. Any kind of response would do. Something like this was a first for her. Leaps and bounds from a personal and emotional standpoint. Some sort of reaction felt warranted.

She narrowed her eyes. "You have no clue what any of that meant, do you?"

BeastBoy opened his mouth to speak, but caught himself from attempting to mask his response that no doubt wouldn't fool her in the least. "Uh…"

She stared even firmer at him.

"I understood 'To BeastBoy', and 'Merry Christmas, Raven'," he confessed as if hoping it would dull the resentment he could feel smoldering from the back of her eyes, burning a hole straight through him.

Raven pulled back her arm to smack him in the side of the head, the typical correctional response for BeastBoy's lack of understanding.

BeastBoy cringed to the spot turning his head to the side with his eyes shut. Merely trying to brace for it.

She looked at him seemingly aware of his own incapability to grasp her eloquent words and willing to accept what came with it. She took a deep breath, looking at the paper still held in his hands and thinking about all the effort the holidays had hammered into her. She was tired. She was irritable. And there would be other more deserving scenarios.

BeastBoy peeked one eye open at the absence of a brief stinging sensation to his skull.

Raven's arm hung in the air for a few seconds before slowly lowering to her side. "It means," Raven began, straightening her cloak, "The next time you get on my nerves to the point of anger, you do something, say something…"

"Break something?" he asked.

She stared him down to which he immediately slinked back a step with an apologetic smile as if to assure her he'd be quiet. It was hard enough having to explain the terms of her own gift without him adding and interpreting.

"At such time," she folded her arms, "You may present this note to me, and for that one instance I will overlook whatever you've done."

He looked at her briefly before looking back down at the piece of paper, holding it up in front of him. The wheels in BeastBoy's mind were slowly starting to turn. He looked up at the ceiling as the last synapses of his brain checked and double-checked Raven's explanation. Word for word it slowly started to filter into his logic. And then…

"Wait!" he snapped his eyes open in realization, "You mean this is like a 'Get Out Of Rage Free' card?"

Raven tilted her head to the side at his exaggeration. "In a manner of speaking," she said with a hint of doubt, having second thoughts about her gift hearing BeastBoy's choice of words.

He looked down deeply at the paper in his hands.

The look on his face was hard to read. He wasn't as excited as she thought he would've been. Then again the idea of a free pass against Raven on the warpath was no doubt a lot to take in. No doubt he was already trying to figure out where to stash it and what sort of juvenile prank he could pull with total impunity.

"Just keep in mind that this is only a one-time deal," she explained firmly, turning towards the door. Thanks and holiday cheer would have to wait. She was still very tired. Besides he looked as though he needed time for it to fully sink in. "It's good for one use and ONE only. So don't think that you can just get away with anything for as long as you…"

RRRRRIP!

Raven's eyes went wide, stopping dead in her tracks. That could not be what it sounded like.

She turned.

RRRIP!

BeastBoy had ripped her gift in half and was now tearing it into fours. He stacked the torn fragments of paper on top of each other making one more firm tear right across the center, leaving her to watch the pieces grow smaller and smaller.

RRIP – RRIP!

Hours of thought, cramped fingers from careful writing, and an entire night of sleepless labor torn asunder beneath BeastBoy's fingertips. She watched as the scattering shreds of paper wafted to the ground like gentle snowflakes. And amidst it all BeastBoy merely dusted off his hands without a single look of regret or malice to him.

No sooner had the last piece of paper touched the floor Raven lunged at him. Now wide-awake with her hands firmly gripped on the collar of his uniform. She yanked him forward, looking coldly into his eyes.

"YOU… YOU…!" she growled under her breath. Raven wanted to yell. She wanted to scream. She really wanted to at the very least bury her fist in any of a dozen critical locations. But instead she huffed, locking eyes as if signaling the demand for an explanation. If this was one of BeastBoy's jokes, free pass or not she was going to carve him up like a Christmas ham.

BeastBoy just looked back at her. No hint of laughter. Not so much as a smile. He certainly wasn't trying to play this off as a joke. "T-Take it easy, Raven" he put his hands up as if gesturing to calm down, "I can explain."

She narrowed her eyes deeper. She was in no mood for half-baked excuses.

"I just…" BeastBoy began, nervous she could lash out further in an instant. "I couldn't let ya go though with it."

"If you're talking about giving presents anymore I'm way ahead of you," she fumed in a low whisper.

"No, not that. I meant holding back. Cutting yourself off like that."

A momentary pause followed but hardly softened her outlook any. "BeastBoy, you're making less sense than usual, and for you THAT'S saying something," she replied.

"I'm serious." He paused. "Whoa. Did I just say that?"

Raven analyzed his expression. The sincerity was there, but she was still unclear of what he was trying to say. Certainly not a first for BeastBoy. She released his collar with a small shove, watching him backpedal a few steps. "Try again. With smaller words." She paused. "Did I just say that?"

The sentiment was not lost on BeastBoy as he managed the faintest smile on her remark. But he didn't let it linger long. He knew he had to explain himself before he got too comfortable.

"I know ya probably put a lot into it. And I know it musta' been really hard for ya. I mean, c'mon. ME with an anything goes pass? Do you really think you're gonna be able to just… go day to day with something like that in the back of your mind?"

Raven looked off to the side but quickly looked back him. Raven was hard to convince. And for someone like BeastBoy in the current circumstance it was even more of an uphill battle.

"How ya gonna' meditate? How ya gonna' sleep for that matter, knowing that until I cash that sucker in anything I do is fair game?" he cast his hands out to the side.

Raven straightened her posture, composing herself. She hadn't considered that aspect. BeastBoy could be very inventive when he set his mind to it. It was almost scary to ponder. Here she was trying to get one monkey off her back and she was piling on another.

"It'd be like Star givin' out a pass for her not to cook," he shrugged. "Sure it sounds like a good idea not to get indigestion eatin' interplanetary moth balls… or whatever the heck she puts in that blue goo she called lunch last week." He stuck out his tongue in mild disgust just from the memory of the after taste. "And dude, don't even get me started on the desert she fried in…"

"BeastBoy," Raven cut him off, feeling something in her own stomach starting to turn from memory.

"Oh, right," he shook off the sidetracking thought, "The point is, would ya really be okay with giving somebody a reminder there's a part of you they're better off without? I mean, how do ya think I feel? It's not like I try to get ya to see red every time I open my mouth."

Raven hung her head a little. She was perfectly aware of that. She even pointed it out on the note. But that didn't make it sound any less disparaging nor had she intended it to be interpreted in a negative light.

She looked down at the tattered remains of her gift.

"It's no big, Raven. Really," he could see she needed some reassuring. "Your heart was in the right place. Just think about how much better you're gonna' feel the next time I drive you up the wall."

She cast a dull frown. "I can hardly wait."

"Aw, don't be like that," he put his hand on her shoulder, "At least now you don't have to worry about puttin' off whatever I got coming to me the next time I get ya mad."

"I suppose it's for the best then." She sighed, feeling somewhat glad in a strange way.

"And besides," he started with a grin, "You're kinda' cute when you're angry."

All sound seemed to go away, almost as if you could hear the veritable pin drop.

"YEEK!"

Raven grabbed hold of BeastBoy's collar as if picking up where she left off before. Yanking him towards her, staring him down with the fierce glare that had returned to her face.

BeastBoy didn't move. Eyes wide with hesitant fear, all he could do was stare into Raven's furious eyes as if a small animal caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. He didn't dare breathe let alone speak. He could barely swallow with a hard gulp as he could feel her knuckles pressing against his throat.

"Cute?" she snarled, narrowing her eyes and baring her teeth. "I'll show you CUTE!"

Suddenly the doors swished open as the other Titans entered the room. Cyborg stretched his arms with a yawn with Robin and Starfire followed close behind. No more than three steps inside they came to a sudden stop at the sight before them.

Raven with BeastBoy firm in her grip and a familiar 'I will make you hurt' look in her eye was far from uncommon, however never this early. And on Christmas morning to boot.

"Friends, please," Starfire beckoned calmly, "Such hostilities are not welcome on this earth holiday of celebration and cheer." She paused. "Aren't they?" she turned to Robin to verify the terms of the holiday.

Robin shook his head in agreement.

"C'mon, y'all," Cyborg motioned for Raven to take it easy. "It's Christmas. And even though it'd be festive, let's not go makin' a big green stain on the wall before breakfast. It really kills my appetite."

BeastBoy could only shift his eyes to the side in resentment for a fleeting moment at the word 'kill'. He didn't need Cyborg giving Raven any ideas.

Cyborg gave a nervous chuckle. "Bad choice of words, huh?"

"Raven, please" Starfire made one last attempt to resolve the situation peacefully. "Peace on Earth, good will, jingling of bells, and the claws of Santa. Do not taint this day of merry cheer with hurtful pain."

Raven remained still, focused on BeastBoy. She hadn't taken her eyes off him for an instant. Without a word she raised her hand, making a swiping motion that put up a black energy barrier obstructing both her and BeastBoy from view.

Not a sight could be seen nor could a sound be heard. The others merely stared, curious as to what fate was in store for their green friend.

Shortly after the barrier dissipated. Raven had released BeastBoy, still standing and seemingly unscathed. She exhaled deeply as she walked calmly toward the door.

"Merry Christmas," she said in a deadpan manner as she excused herself.

"And a bah humbug to you too," Cyborg said confused as the door closed behind her.

Starfire and Robin walked towards BeastBoy, still somewhat in a daze.

"Friend BeastBoy, you are… undamaged?" Starfire asked with concern.

BeastBoy suddenly collapsed to the floor, falling flat on his bottom, sitting up with a glazed look on his face.

"Must've been quite the talking to," Robin surmised by the blank stare of shock on his face.

BeastBoy blinked.

-A Moment Earlier-

"Do not taint this day of merry cheer with hurtful pain."

Raven remained still, focused on BeastBoy. She hadn't taken her eyes off him for an instant. Without a word she raised her hand, making a swiping motion that put up a black energy barrier obstructing both her and BeastBoy from view.

From the other side of the barrier Raven continued to stare intensely.

BeastBoy didn't even try to say anything. He couldn't even muster a nervous chuckle to ease the tension. He knew all to well once Raven got herself into this state of mind whatever she was going to do there was no talking her out of it.

Slowly her stare softened, fading to her typical neutral facade. There was still a hint of irritation in her eyes. She leaned forward.

BeastBoy pulled his head back as far as he was able to while still in her tight grip as to try and put some space between her for whatever threat or lecture was certain to follow.

She kissed him.

Softly Raven rested her lips on his cheek for an instant before releasing her grip.

No sooner had her fingers unclenched his uniform, the barrier hindering them from sight faded. And he watched her walk towards the others.

-Back in the Present-

BeastBoy blinked.

Robin waved his hand in front of his face, watching as his pupils began to respond. "BeastBoy, are you alright?"

"He appears unharmed," Starfire said.

"Musta' been some warning she gave ya," Cyborg shook his head, looking to the door where Raven had left. "Raven must really hate Christmas."

"Nah," BeastBoy smiled woozily, "Just me."

The End.