This is a story about relationships, how they change, how they evolve. If you're looking for a story with plot, well, this will have one of those too. Eventually. I like writing action scenes, and they are super heroes, so there will be plot, but the main focus is on the people. That always intrigues me more as a writer.
As my first multi-chapter fic on this fandom, I hope to hear a lot of feedback and insight from reviews or PM's. Thank you all who have decided to read this :)
This is, more or less, the prologue of things to come. Actually, it's only have off the prologue because I realized I was writing a lot more than I initially intended. Well, anyway, I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: DC owns this, not me.
Prologue: Part I
1day and counting.
His stuff was still scattered around the room. Boxes were still flat, not holding anything of great importance. Not that he had anything of such significance to pack anyway. Maybe that picture of his parents. And the necklace he had from King Tawaba.
Nothing else was of any real value.
Oh wait. He had forgotten about his comic book collection. That was a must.
He moved to the bookshelf in his room. Raven had gotten it for him casually one day, saying something about how having something like this would force him to fill it. He supposed she had meant for him to fill it with books, but oh well. He still thoroughly believed that some of the most epic story arcs were conveyed in comic books. She had called him stupid for using the word epic, but whatever. Maybe one day she'd get it.
Though when that day would come he never would know. The Teen Titans were officially disbanding. And at, 21, Beast Boy admitted he was no longer a teen. He had no problem letting that aspect of his life go; being an adult was way too much fun. But no longer being a Titan? He felt a part of his identity was missing, thrown away, forgotten.
He was used to his team members, hell, he loved them like his family. He had spent more time with them than anyone else. But now they were all going their separate ways, completely separate. Not even Robin and Starfire were staying together, which Beast Boy admitted, wasn't too surprising. Sure, they were in love, but there was a lot more to a relationship than just being in love. Love was good. Love was a necessity, but it wasn't the only thing.
He had learned that the hard way. And although he never really thought Terra had loved him back, he had still loved her. Even if it was a brief, stupid, love. But that was all gone now. That was in the past, something never to think about again.
Besides, he had even more heartbreaking things to deal with. For even though it wasn't as potent as a girl leaving him, in a way, all of this was even more hurtful. His family was leaving. He wouldn't get to argue every day with Cyborg about the bastardization of American farming or tell Starfire to ask Robin intimate questions that she didn't quite understand herself. He wouldn't get to knock Robin off his high horse with video games or get Raven to smile ever again.
Well maybe ever again was a little melodramatic but it wouldn't be for a while.
He started piling up his comics, the only thing in his room that was really in any order. They were alphabetized by series, and within each series, they were in numerical order. Some were probably worth hundreds of dollars, and Robin, always the entrepreneur, told Beast Boy to sell them. But he wouldn't. That wasn't the point of a collection.
At the very bottom right of the bookcase was an old shoebox. It was tattered, holes on the lids and sides from overuse. His fingers fumbled with the box until he heard a knock on the door. He jumped and dropped the old box all over the floor, spilling the comics out. "Crap, crap, crap, crap!"
"It's Beast Boy."
"I'm getting so confused with your name changes. Can't you just pick one and stick with it?"
"Ha. Ha, Raven. Some of us have secret identities, you know."
"Which doesn't really explain why you changed it in the first place." Raven sighed. She opened the door a little bit, "I'm coming in, Gar."
"Wait! I mean...hold up a moment. I... I'm not decent."
But Raven was already in the room, dark hood down and her purple eyes gazing at the shape-shifter on his knees. "Jeans and a t-shirt aren't decent?"
"What I mean is...I...uh..." He shuffled the comics on the floor and turned them over.
Raven immediately blanched. "Oh." She started backing out of the room. Her hands were raised and her face looked slightly pink. "You should really lock your door if you're going to..."
His face blushed, realizing what she thought he meant. Beast Boy immediately jumped from the floor. "No! It's not like that. I'm just...packing."
"Yeah, we're leaving soon, so I thought I'd get a head start."
Raven glanced round the room. It was basically intact, well as much as Beast Boy's room ever was. "This is a head start?"
"Well, we're not all getting picked up by the JLA tomorrow morning."
He didn't know why, but his comment seemed to upset her. It wouldn't be noticeable to anyone else who hadn't spent years around her, but the slight tinge of an eyebrow and the thinning of her lips was enough for him. He could tell he had hit on something, and he was pretty sure he knew what it was. Beast Bpy cocked his head to the side, gesturing for Raven to sit on his bed. She understood his motion and followed it, and soon the green man was sitting on the floor in front of her. "Spill."
"I don't know..."
"Maybe I'm not a mind reader like you, Raven, but I can still tell when someone's upset."
"I'm not a mind reader."
"Sorry." Beast Boy shrugged. "Empath. Whatever. Same difference. Don't try to change the subject."
She shook her head, "I'm not. It should be obvious to you what troubles me. It is the same thing that troubles you as well."
"So...why are we doing this again?"
It was an honest question. There was no exact reason or decision to disband. Sure, Robin did hold a vote about it several months ago, but it was already going to happen before it ever did. There was discord amongst them, unrest. Jump City was peaceful. Starfire was homesick and so was Robin. Cyborg was getting bored with the same old routine, and even Beast Boy had to admit he felt unsettled. Unsurprisingly, Raven had been the least vocal about any of it. Beast Boy had always thought that she would return to Azarath, but when Superman came to visit one month ago, she explained she had signed up to try out for the Justice League.
And right now, he was expecting some wise answer, something he hadn't thought of that made perfect sense, an epiphany of sorts. But Raven only shook her head, "It's time."
She paused and folded her hands together. "For us to have lives."
"Psh, if being a super hero isn't..." He stopped, seeing Raven's attention going back to the comic books on the floor. They all hadn't been turned over, and she was currently staring at the one that wasn't. The one that featured a girl in black, her blue cape spread out like raven's wings. Beast Boy stammered. "...I guess...you didn't know..."
She grabbed it and took it out of its plastic wrap, pouring her eyes over the pages. "Garfield?"
He didn't really want to look at her. It was embarrassing to admit that he had those. "Yeah, Rave?"
"Are these those idiotic comics Robin had banned from Jump City?"
"Banned from California. Too bad that copyright infringement lawsuit didn't pan out, huh? I always wondered how he has so much clout." He raised a green eyebrow at this, expecting Raven to lend some information about their still mysterious leader.
She didn't. "Why don't you just ask him yourself?"
"Oh yeah, I'm sure the Boy Wonder will really listen to that one. 7 years and he's barely let it slip."
"Gar, it's his business to share. I doubt he has even told Starfire. The only reason I know is because I was in his mind."
Beast Boy nodded and handed her another comic book. "They have them getting married in this issue."
"Sounds..." Raven grabbed the comic with some interest. "...confusing. Robin has way too many commitment issues to get married before we're all 45." She shuffled through the other ones. "They have Terra in these too?"
"Yeah, they totally make her out to be a complete psychotic bitch."
Raven blinked, "And this is far from the truth because?"
"She wasn't, Raven." And the seriousness in his voice made her immediately drop the subject.
Her mind shifted gears. "Are they pretty accurate otherwise?"
He could tell she was doubtful. Some of them did look rather ridiculous, but Beast Boy had to admit that most of them were kind of close to the reality of Titan life. Sometimes scarily close. "Yeah, they are."
The empath nodded and grabbed another comic, this one focusing on the green young adult himself. The drawings were funny, especially the one depicting Beast Boy as a bear with a bow tie and red roses in his hands. Raven gave a small smile. "And this one?"
Beast Boy scratched his hair and leaned to take the comic away from Raven. "That one...is weird."
"Yeah, you never turn into a bear."
"Not to say I couldn't."
"And why would you ever have flowers?" Raven raised a purple eyebrow and started flipping through the pages.
"Is something wrong?" She must have been sensing his emotions. Beast Boy bit his lip. Damn it. He was usually better at that sort of thing, masking his nervousness under a screen of a more humorous nature. But Raven soon discovered the source of his trepidation when she looked back down at the comic in her lap. "...Oh."
He gave a feigned laugh. "Weird, right? Crazy writers." Beast Boy took the thin book of paper from her pale hands. He didn't know why, but a small blush was appearing over his face. He felt nervous around her, especially when her eyes had just seen cartoon versions of themselves sharing a romantic candlelit dinner. "Ha, like that would ever happen."
"...I don't understand where they would get that from." Raven's voice sounded off, but Beast Boy barely noticed.
"I think it's that whole 'opposites attracts' thing. You know? People eat that crap up all the time. Ha, ha." He scratched his head and piled all the comics back in the box. "It's half the reason why I get these...to see how ridiculous they can get."
"I thought you said they were fairly accurate."
"Yeah, but definitely not predictors of the future. Obviously." The green former Titan sighed and turned back to the girl beside him. "They have us fighting crime until we start having children."
Her eyes bugged, "Children? You mean to say that we actually..."
"...Er, um, let's not talk about it, okay?" He could feel his face heating up. God, why did Robin have to turn the heat so damn high? He was raised in Africa and he thought it was too hot! "Anyway, is there a reason you came, Rave?"
She nodded and moved from the bed. Raven grabbed a flat cardboard box and started molding it into shape. "To help you pack."
"I told you I'm getting a head start right now."
He narrowed his eyes at the use of full name. "Yeah?"
"This is not packing. This is procrastinating."
Beast Boy stretched on the ground, yawning. "What I do best."
"Obviously. I'm here to help you." Raven found a roll of packing tape and scissors underneath some papers on Beast Boy's desk. She cut long strips of tape and started forming the box. "I thought you wouldn't be ready."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa." Beast Boy took the scissors from her and set them down before grabbing the half-demon's shoulders. "You should not be here."
She blinked. "Excuse me?"
"It's your last day at the Tower! In Jump City! Go to the beach, the mall, hang out with Starfire. Go to that creepy café you love."
"Gar, I haven't done any of those things in five years, and you know it."
"And you'll never get to do them for another five years when the League owns your butt."
"It's fine." Raven deadpanned. She stopped forming the one box and looked at the pile of clothes in the room. "Should I pack these or send them to another dimension?"
"Pack." Gar picked up a shirt and smelled it. "This is actually the clean pile, believe it or not."
"For some reason I am not surprised." Raven sat on the floor, cross-legged, as if she were about to meditate. He couldn't help his animal instincts from watching the curves of her legs, the muscles tighten and flex as she leaned over to get the pile of clothes. Her hood was down, as it usually was, and her purple, shoulder length hair flew easily across her cheekbones. Beast Boy felt his hands twitch.
He coughed and started to fold next to her, every so often having his green eyes lose focus and steal glances at her face. She seemed so concentrated, yet relaxed, and Beast Boy had the brief realization that Raven could have easily folded all of his clothes with a single telekinetic thought.
But she didn't.
Instead, they sat in companionable silence. The only sounds were the slight rustle of clothes and Beast Boy's happy breaths. He hadn't been this happy in a while, which was strange since this was something so menial. But he loved being around his friends. He loved being around Raven. She was so...interesting, even now after years of living with her. He was a curious sort of person, and to him, Raven was the definition of a curiosity.
He was surprised to hear her break the silence. Usually she would have begged him to stay quiet. "Hm?"
"How did we get together?"
Beast Boy dropped the pair of jeans he was currently folding. "...umm, what?"
"In the comic."
Why is she asking me about that?
Beast Boy gave a slight smirk to hide his disbelief. "That's a strange question to ask, Rave. Interested?"
"Curious," she shot back. "I'm wondering how they could ever find a basis for something so completely unreasonable."
"Ouch." Beast Boy held a hand to his heart and started to fold again. He strangely remembered that aspect of the Teen Titans comics very, very well. But he wasn't about to let her off that easily. "Why don't you guess?"
Raven seemed to freeze. He could see the nervousness creep over her face, and he was relishing in it. "Huh?"
"Guess who started it."
Her purple eyes were permanently focused on the floor. "I don't know..."
"Aw, come on, Rave. You're the one that brought it up. If..." He held up a questioning finger, "...hypothetically, we were to ever get together, who would you think would start it all? The answer should be sort of obvious, don't you think?"
"I mean, it only makes sense, since the other one doesn't really know how to take hold of a situation and can barely handle emotions."
Raven frowned, "Now you're just being insulting."
"Why? I'm talking about myself."
She practically coughed, "You are? You mean...I was the one..."
"Yup." He grinned. "Just kissed me. During a mission too. Can't say I blame you though. It must be hard to resist this every day."
She noisily groaned and went back to folding. "Remind me to shoot myself before I ask another idiotic question like that."
Beast Boy chuckled. "Noted. But in all seriousness..." He reached for her hand, taking the shirt away from her. Raven looked noticeably startled by the action, but he continued before she could start to question it. "You don't have to help me with this. I know I may not be on top of my stuff as quickly as you and Rob, but I get it done. No worries. You should be enjoying your last day here."
"We're going out to dinner later if that's what you mean." Raven ignored his gesture and continued to pile clothes in the box. "Look, you know I hate parties, and not just the ones that end with my dad trying to take over the world. But I agreed to this dinner thing with the clause of getting to do whatever I want before then and without anyone making a big fuss about me leaving tomorrow."
Beast Boy blinked, "And this is what you want to do?"
"I thought you'd respect the fact that I don't want to make a big deal about this."
"But why? It is a big deal, Rave. We've lived together for what...6, 7 years? You guys are like my family."
Her face looked scrunched, pale hands squeezing the bit of fabric. "...I know."
"And now we're all going our own separate ways. You'll be in space half the time, and I'm going to L.A. We won't see each other nearly as much as we say we will."
"...I know." Raven kept looking at the shirt. "That's why I want to stay here and help you."
He was taken aback slightly by the statement. Raven had never really voiced herself so easily before. She never really expressed an interest in hanging out with him either. Most of the time it seemed incredibly one-sided and forced. Like the time he had glued her hands to the controller. Or the time he 'coerced' her to help him make tofurkey on Thanksgiving.
That fire took ages to get out.
"Really? Even though I'm an annoying little pest?"
Raven didn't show any sort of visible emotion. "You haven't been little for three years." She stood up then, blue cape billowing from underneath her. With a flurry of dark energy, Raven opened the closet and started to pour out its contents. "All of this you're keeping?"
"Mhm. Most definitely."
"Even this?" She held up a green lion stuffed animal by its tail. It looked incredibly old, the mane ragged and some stuffing peeling from the sides.
Beast Boy bit his lip. "...Oh...um...no. Not that. I don't need a stuffed animal."
"So it's okay if I just toss it?"
"No!" He screamed before realizing how embarrassing that was. "I mean...it's an important...uh...artifact. It needs to be taken care of."
Raven narrowed her eyes, "So you want to keep your stuffed lion. Does it protect you in the dark?"
"Come on, Rave. Like you never had a stuffed animal before?" When he was only met with pure silence and a condescending glare, Beast Boy continued, "Look, my parents got it for me after I...uh...changed colors." He took the lion from Raven's hand gently. "Mark was always there for me."
"My dad thought that was clever. And here." He held the lion out again. "Since you never had one. I bet you'll take better care of him than I ever did."
"Gar, you're not making sense."
"Least I can do. You're helping me with this much." He gave a toothy smile, "Plus it's a lot darker in space than in L.A."
Obvious inspiration from the actual comics.
I hope you enjoyed part 1 of just the prologue. I will post part 2 when it's..completed. I run off reviews though, so don't be shy :)