A/N: I don't have really much to say except I hope you enjoy this and that you drop a review if you have time. This is my first oneshot with this pairing so it'd be great to have feedback. :)
Disclaimer: I do not, nor do I pretend to, own the Teen Titans. Otherwise this wouldn't be fanfic. Also, some lines are from the cartoon series and not me.
On Water's Edge
She should have noticed it with Aqualad. Perhaps she was too distracted by the Atlantian's long, black hair, his coal eyes, the way his body molded out his waterproof uniform. It was one of the few times she had felt her heart completely race and her emotions were practically crawling, begging her to flirt with the newcomer. Like she could ever compete with Starfire, but that was another issue.
But even her teenaged excuse of a distraction didn't make up for the fact that her empathetic abilities only detected minor discomfort. He was just standing there, a slight pause masked mostly by the cocky grin on his face. He had something to prove, for whatever reason, but he was hesitant to prove it. Completely un-Beast Boy.
His green eyes glanced from his reflection on the water's surface. It was the only hint she got, besides the small murmur of his emotions. "Yeah, though that Aqua-kid rubs me the wrong way."
"We are working together. He is an ally."
Beast Boy growled, "And a jerk."
"Perhaps." Raven slid off her hood, "Or perhaps he is being provoked."
"Dude, by me? Look, I know I'm hot stuff, but Mr. Perfect shouldn't be threatened by a green shape shifter."
"I never said he felt threatened Beast Boy."
He raised an eyebrow, grin sliding back on his face. "Pep talk over, Raven? You're always the best at these sort of things, aren't you?'
She didn't like his sarcasm. It wasn't him. Raven could feel a tinge of guilt in her body, but she pushed it back, ignoring her emotions to concentrate on his. And his were glowing now, not in his usual brightness, but the opposite. A dark shade haunted his usual bubble of light, and Raven didn't know what it was. She hesitated before retreating to the others, who were conversing with Aqualad behind them, away from the water's edge. "Good luck."
His smile was real this time. "Thanks."
And then there was where he always sat, when that dark shade grew and grew until Raven forgot he had any light at all in his body. She hated those moments. Robin and she were dark enough for all of the Titans, and Beast Boy was supposed to be the one that always smiled. It was his job, his responsibility. He had no right, no excuse to be so upset. Terra was just a girl. She had betrayed them, yes. They had bonded, even dated. He had liked her, but she was nothing. A fleeting moment in time. A person that should have meant nothing but seemed to mean everything to him.
And she hated it. The way he stood there, shoulders hunched, skipping stones on the soft waves that surrounded Titan's Tower. She hated to watch him brood. That was Robin's job, not his. He wasn't allowed to feel this way, to bring his emotions down because she needed his to bring hers up. Her empathy cried over the dark haze in his mind, and the only way to quell it was to ask him what was wrong.
"Nothing." Though the opposite was more likely true. His eyes were semi-closed, blinking out the glare of the sunset. "I'm okay, Rave."
"And I'm an empath." She stated it as a fact, for it was hard to argue away from those.
Beast Boy didn't bother fighting with her. He didn't have the energy for it. "It's Terra, I guess."
The name was obvious to her but not the second-guessing. It was never 'I guess' with Terra. There was no hesitation when it came to the blonde, former Titan. Only impulses and yeses. He would have fallen over himself to do anything and everything for her, so Raven just had to ask, "You guess?"
"I know you didn't like her much." He ignored her, which was bad. The darkness was a shade of grey-fuzzy on details and telling Raven this wasn't completely about any recent tragedy. "But I did. I don't really click with a lot of people. Surprising, right?" He attempted a grin, probably in hopes that Raven would contradict the statement. When she didn't, Beast Boy continued, "And Terra got me...at least I thought she did. Maybe it was all a game. I'm not sure if I'm angry or sad to be honest."
Raven sat down next to him and watched as he skipped stones. It popped four times before crashing into the ocean to be forgotten. "You're both if that's any help."
"Yeah...I am. I think I'm more sad. She wasn't really evil. She saved us at the end." He looked to her for confirmation, but she only stared back at the water. Raven knew what Terra had done, and she was grateful for it.
But it was hard for her to just forgive and forget. Her heart didn't allow her to trust easily, and right now, she only trusted four other people in every single dimension. Terra wouldn't have had to martyr herself if she hadn't betrayed them in the first place. We wouldn't have been in risk of dying if she just told us the truth.
Terra was a coward. Raven knew for she was one too. She knew they were all at risk, that come her 16th birthday, she would be putting the Titans in more danger than Slade ever could. These people were her friends, and that was exactly why she couldn't tell them. But unlike Terra, she would deal with it the right way, not in a blaze of heroic glory that Terra had intended.
"She did like you." She turned her mind back to safer, though still unpleasant, thoughts. "As a person. You made her smile and...laugh."
"At least I could make someone for once."
Raven was surprised that the conversation redirected towards her. "My lack of outward expression should not be taken personally."
"How so?" He asked, completely serious.
"I choose not to let my emotions have a say in my demeanor. You have taken on a nearly impossible task."
Beast Boy shook his head and tore his eyes away from the water. "Nearly, Rave. Not impossible. That's good enough for me."
She didn't argue, for the darkness in his mind was taking a backseat to a new light, a new happiness. And she inwardly smiled.
He was there again, shaken, not on any better terms. This one had been hard for the both of them, and even though she was the one that had been attacked and unconscious, he was much worse off mentally. Her mind was blurred, trying to piece back memories that didn't want to be remembered. It was dark. She had walked through the hall. She was attacked. A green beast saved –no, not a beast, but Beast Boy. He had saved her from Adonis, and they had thought that he had done it. And now, he thought he was... She couldn't let him think like that.
"Having that thing inside doesn't make you an animal. Knowing when to let it out is what makes you a man."
Raven saw the glint in his eyes and knew that she managed to turn his feelings around. She didn't know why she had this effect on him, that her talks were the ones that seemed to help him the most. Maybe because she gave praise so rarely, because most of the words from her mouth were biting bits of sarcasm.
"Hmm, maybe you should call me Beast Man from now on."
Her face fell flat. "We're having a moment here. Don't ruin it."
They were silent then, both watching the night sky away from the city, where the stars were almost visible. She could feel him fantasizing over the new names, and Raven couldn't help but feel proud of herself. For someone considered to be all doom and gloom, she had a knack for cheering up the most optimistic of the Titans.
"I was thinking about changing it, Raven."
It took her a couple of seconds to realize he was being serious. "Your name? Why?"
"I'm 15 now. I won't be a boy forever, you know."
Already 15. She had forgotten that even though she was older, it wasn't by much. Sure, Beast Boy acted like he was 15 going on 8, but he really was only about a year younger. "Please tell me you weren't serious about Beast Man."
"That bad?" He sighed and dropped a rock in the ocean, not bothering to skip. "What about 'Changeling'?"
"Huh?" Her mind was distracted. The bad thoughts were back in his head and she felt her own mood nosedive. "Changeling?"
"For a name. Makes sense, right?"
He wanted her opinion; he seemed to crave it. "No. Changelings are elf or troll children that secretly replace a human child in Western European myths."
Beast Boy's eyes fell. "Oh."
"Though the ears are appropriate I guess for an elf child."
Beast Boy laughed musically, but then the shadow returned. "What if I couldn't do it?"
His green eyes shocked her with their intensity. Beast Boy's fingers fidgeted, and she placed her own on top of his, earning a quick look of surprise from the boy next to her. "What if I couldn't save you, Raven. What if I..."
"You're a hero." She didn't want to get into the whole 'one day you won't be able to save me' conversation. "Saving people is your job."
He shook his head, "I'm not good with saving people I lo-know."
She almost shuddered at the feelings inside of him. Raven opted to turn off her empathy. Even though she chose to feel through others, what Beast Boy was feeling...it scared her. "Well, you must be getting better." He had something to say, she knew it. But Raven could tell she couldn't handle it. Not yet. Not when she was just an emotionless portal.
"You like the name Beast Boy then?"
She shrugged, grateful for the change in topic. "As long as you like it." And the glow would have blinded her if she could see the emotions Beast Boy was producing. "Besides..." She felt the need to dilute her past statement to something less personal. "We're Teen Titans. This gig won't last forever." Which was true, at least for her. She wasn't supposed to see a day past 16.
"I guess so...but Raven?"
She let the wind glide through her hair, the western air starting to feel cold against her skin. Yet she could feel herself blush at the sound of her name in his throat. "Yeah, Beast Boy?"
"I sort of hope it does."
The Doom Patrol completely caught her off guard. He had mentioned it once before, when they had first met, but still. She never gave a second thought about his past, even though she should have. Raven figured he was normal, besides the whole being green and changing into different animals thing. He had nice parents, a home to return to, a place where he belonged outside of Titans Tower. He wasn't like her. His mother hadn't been raped or tortured or anything. His father hadn't been an evil shadow in his mind forever. To her, Beast Boy had the perfect life- a normal life. He had just chosen to be a super hero.
But she remembered how wrong that was when Mento and Elastigirl came. Garfield. She couldn't believe she had never asked. Garfield. Like an orange cat. Like an old politician. The name didn't suit him but said everything all the same.
He was eighteen now, the brotherhood of evil all long gone, and she still had his name on her lips. Garfield. Garfield. Garfield.
They had been to Tokyo and back. The Japanese girls loved Garfield, seeing instantly all the things it took her years to see. They loved his pointed ears, his mischievous grin, the corny jokes, his lean, athletic build.
So no. They loved Beast Boy, not Garfield. They didn't see anything past his super hero front. And how could they? He was more a master of masking his feelings than she ever was, and she had over a decade of professional, ritualistic training. "Garfield."
He turned immediately, just coming out of the shower. She shouldn't have caught him like this. She would blow up a light bulb or a couch or a wall with the way the water dripped down his almost velvet green skin, sinking into the lines of muscle in his arms and stomach. Didn't he have a bathrobe? Didn't he realize that there were girls in this place, and although yes, one of them may have been naïve, the other one was certainly not?
But he was aloof, forgetting he was sexy now that he actually was. The Japanese girls were smart about this one, and the American girls soon followed in their footsteps, buying even more Beast Boy plushies and writing more letters than the mailman's chiropractor would have liked.
"It's Gar, Rave."
"It's Raven, Garfield."
Beast Boy grinned and shook his head, like a dog trying to dry. "Follow me."
She did, though she wasn't sure why. It had been three years since she was allowed to feel again, and emotions weren't that much of a stranger, at least the more general ones. Her friendship with Starfire had blossomed to a sisterly bond. She had more respect for Robin and more patience for Cyborg's tech rants. Those emotions were familiar, stable, but the feelings that popped up around Beast Boy were none of those. "Why?"
Raven rolled her eyes and followed Beast Boy to his room. It was still a mess, with piles of clean unfolded clothes and bags of soy chips. It bothered her, really, to see him live in this room like this. It made it harder to visit. "May I sit?"
Beast Boy nodded, "Be my guest."
She sat on the lower bunk of his bed, careful to avoid the small square nestled between the sheets. It took her by surprise to see that the square wasn't a comic book or a video game case.
He opened his closet, unabashed, and grabbed a pair of black boxers to slip under his towel. "So?" He turned around and rubbed the towel in his green hair now that he was dressed to the minimum. "What's up?"
Raven blushed and turned back to the bed, "You're the one that said to follow you."
"You're the one that waited for me out of the shower." Beast Boy raised an eyebrow, "Just wanted to see me naked... I get it."
"That joke isn't funny anymore."
"Lost all sense of irony."
She was surprised and embarrassed when he actually understood. "Shameless, aren't we?"
"Says the boy in his boxers." Raven didn't let her eyes trail to said boxers, which surprisingly weren't printed with any green animals. She sort of missed those. "You're upset."
He went through his clothes but didn't move to put any of them on. "Not when you're here."
Emotions didn't lie, and Raven knew he was telling the truth, but she didn't dwell on it. "You're upset on this day every year."
"I'm not upset."
"Can't a guy be serious?"
"On the same day, every year?"
"You need a hobby, Rave. Do you keep like a log of my emotions?"
"Garfield..." She pushed her hand back across the sheets and looked as she made contact with the plastic square in the covers. It was a picture frame. And before she realized how nosy she was being, her hands were already turning it over.
Her heart clinched immediately, and her purple eyes went to his face to the frame and back to him. Beast Boy looked at her incredulously, still half-naked, and sat on the floor by her feet. "...that may be the reason."
"You...you were blond."
"That's all you're going to say?"
"Are these your parents?"
He shrugged, "They died on this day, Raven. It's...it's just hard to remember. I don't like to talk about it."
"Obviously." Her eyes were stuck on the old picture in front of her, the young couple with a smiling blond boy between them. Garfield Logan. This smile was real, wide, iridescent. Garfield was sitting in the dirt, mashing mud between his hands in pure glee. "How old are you?"
"...I think I'm four in that picture. I'm not sure."
"Did they die?"
She could only nod.
"They drowned." He got up then, sitting beside her on the bed and taking the picture from her hands. "They weren't stupid, like me. They were both biologists, scientists studying in Africa. I loved Africa. Do you know how I got my powers?"
She didn't. She felt so stupid. How could she feel so much for someone she knew so little about? "No."
"Well, we aren't all born special, Rave." Beast Boy smiled and set the picture down. "I was bit by a monkey."
She raised an eyebrow, "You're joking."
"I'm not. Ever heard of Sakutia?"
"It's a disease...only animals can survive it, non-human animals that is. The monkey had it and bit me. I was infected and my parents gave me an experimental vaccine to save my life."
Her hands somehow found his own, as if needing tangibility to acknowledge he was okay. "And that gave you your powers?"
"The serum changed my genetic code. I have completely mutable DNA, able to morph it into any living being I can think of." He blinked, "You know, I could probably be a plant if I really wanted to. Not that I ever would really..."
"You loved them, didn't you?"
He nodded. "Yeah, I did."
"But their death is not your fault."
"I..." Beast Boy bit his lip and gripped her hand with more intensity. "I don't know about that. I could have saved them, Rave. Drowning...what was water to me? I could be a fish or a whale or anything. I could have changed into an elephant or a T-Rex and just stood in the lake. But I just froze. I didn't do a thing."
"You were young. You were afraid."
"My fear caused my parents to die."
"But your courage is what's keeping their name alive." With her free hand, she touched his cheek, scruffy with bits of hair. He needed to shave more, but for right now, she rubbed her grey fingers across his cheekbones. "The demons of our past are not what define us. If they were, I would be an enemy to you."
"Raven, you know that's not..."
"Shut up." He did immediately, and Raven continued, "You're being ridiculous. Mourn them, remember them, but don't you dare blame yourself, Garfield. You're a strong man, a hero. I won't let you mope about this."
Raven stood up from his bed, uncomfortable with sentimentality. He didn't need pity. He needed a reality check. She began to walk towards the door, but Beast Boy's unrelenting grip drew her back. "Then what will you let me do?"
He kissed her before she could answer, his hands moved to her shoulders before sliding down to the small of her back. She could feel the remnants of his shower now on her skin, and Raven shivered, part of her body cold and the other completely ablaze. She copied his movements, hands gliding down shoulder blades, rubbing across the muscles on his back. Her hips were dragged closer to his own, and she almost bit down from the sheer heat she felt within him.
"Mmm." Raven mumbled between kisses, wanting to break but not being allowed to. Beast Boy's grip on her hips was hard, tight, and Raven had to actually push away. "Garfield, I won't let you use me to feel better."
"Why not?" He cocked his head to the side innocently. "It seems to be working."
"You need to deal with this the appropriate way."
"I prefer the inappropriate way much more." Beast Boy edged closer, "And so do you from what I remember last nigh..."
She held up her hand to silence him and crossed her arms. "Promise me you'll be serious about this, Gar."
"I am. Read me. Empathize me or whatever you do. I'm sad, Rave. I'll always be sad. And I'm sorry, but I'll always feel a little guilty because that's who I am. But read me right now and say that I'm not completely happy with you. Tell me I'm wrong." He wore a devilish smirk. "I dare you."
Her eyes narrowed, but she could only nod. Beast Boy was upset but it was nothing compared to his normal turmoil. "So you're okay then? No more demons from the past?"
Their bodies curled together under Beast Boy's direction. "Well, I wouldn't say that." He kissed her easily. She was always amazed at how smoothly they worked together. "But for some reason, I don't mind having just half a demon in my life."