Author note: This story is for any Titans fan interested in the team's favorite introvert. It's a character exploration of what makes Raven tick and how she experiences attraction. As such, the plot is full of bonus metaphors, so enjoy reading between the lines!

Update: The story has been revised and reposted several times since its original publication. Sentences have been restructured and some conversations have been extended. More critiques are welcome.

A Martian Abandon

"To read a mind, you've got to redefine the line to make your circle sing… You make a sound; the spell is bound to come around. It's just a minor thing."

–Anthony Kiedis, Red Hot Chili Peppers

1. Planet Book

A repulsively familiar reflection stood before Raven in her bedroom mirror, giving new meaning to the name 'four-eyes'. Although the extra eyes had become unexpectedly human in recent months, they were always more than willing to return to their vicious red at the slightest provocation. Fortunately, she'd come a long way in controlling such demonic manifestations. Unfortunately, that didn't change the fact that they existed.

Other features also met her contemplative gaze. A few inches beneath the other-worldly eyes were a set of sharpened teeth, with two that protruded just slightly reminiscent of small fangs. Her lavender hair came to a disheveled length that splayed over her shoulders. A blue cloak concealed the increased muscle tone expressed by the darker half of her hybrid physiology, while her sharp fingernails remained plainly visible. She lifted her hand and examined it directly; the nails were indeed like razors. She then ran the same hand through her hair, which proved to be truly as unruly as it appeared. The mirror was functioning normally.

Since the death of her father and her liberation from her role as his portal, Raven had gained substantial control over her true form. With focus, she could now drop her human features and still generally maintain her personality. But despite her previous fantasies, this had not proven to change very much regarding her emotions. Her power was still difficult to channel, anger was still a liability, and she was still the spitting image of everything one would expect of Trigon's daughter.

She took a breath and restored her human features. Normal teeth covered up the sharp ones and her ragged hairline withdrew up to its original, even length just above her shoulders. Her musculature relaxed and the second set of eyes faded into her forehead without argument, completing her second nature cover-up.

Turning away from the mirror, she walked to the center of the room and hovered off the floor, bringing her legs up to levitate in the lotus position. Although meditation was still important for keeping her emotions in check, in recent weeks Raven had found her resolve weakening somewhat. She had consequently been meditating less frequently and for shorter duration.

Today was a similar case. She hovered in position but didn't seem to feel motivated. Instead, her eyes casually explored the various details of her room: books she had read, potions and other magical materials, and a few photographs and mementos on her bookshelf that hadn't been organized. She didn't consider herself to be sentimental, but nevertheless had opted to hold on to a few snapshots that she'd secretly taken from the team's albums. She sometimes thought of replacing them with more recent photos, but never acted upon it. Her collection wasn't ideal, but it was a familiar sight and at least she knew where everything was.

There was a knock on the door.

"Hey Raven!" Garfield's voice sounded through the door. His enthusiasm rattled the still air of her room. "It's video game night! We're gonna play Drill Breakers. Do you wanna come play?"

In the hallway, Garfield waited until Raven's door slid half way open to reveal a hooded figure standing before him. Her eyes were barely visible beneath the hood's shadow and the rest of her face was expressionless.

A year ago, Raven would have been annoyed by the interruption; the changeling's resolve had always been one of the few that could match her own. But recently, she didn't mind it as much. As the months had passed, her usual desire for solitude had diminished somewhat. Even still, old habits die hard.

"Gar, when have I ever played video games?"

"Oh, right… Well do you wanna just come hang out?"

"I was about to read a book," she deadpanned instinctively.

"So bring your book. It's just the TV room."

She stared with her usual poker face, but Gar didn't seem to have any intention of leaving.

"You're not going to give up, are you?" she asked.

He chuckled, "Heh heh, nope."

Gar was the epitome of persistence. Raven's expression softened and she gave him a subtle smile.

"Fine," she caved. "I'll be there in a few minutes."

"Sweet!" he exclaimed. "See ya there."

The door closed as Gar ran off to the television room, thus restoring the quiet aura of Raven's bedroom. She turned and walked to her desk, where a book about celestial bodies lay opened to a red and orange sketch of the Martian surface. Rust-colored sand lay atop a panorama of empty desert, with mountains perched on the horizon. For most of her life, images like this one had been an escape from the weight of the death and destruction that she'd been destined to bring to the Earth. The desolate landscape in this sketch was all that most of the universe had ever been; there was nothing to undo or destroy in such places.

Gazing down at the barren landscape, Raven thought about Gar's persistent attempts to reach out to her. Of course, the reason was no mystery because she'd realized some time ago that he'd had something of a crush on her. The reason for that, however, was still an enigma.

At first, she'd thought that he was rebounding from Terra, which had irked her and led her to avoid him. When several months had gone by, it started to look like his behavior may have been genuinely for her. At this discovery, Raven had been flattered but dismissive. Anyone who had feelings for Trigon's demoness daughter couldn't possibly be thinking straight. And besides, crushes were fleeting almost by definition. Indulging in that game had to be pointless.

2. The Setup

The giant television displayed the Drill Breakers game in all its glory, towering over Dick, Victor, Koriand'r, and Gar as they sat on the floor, cheering and taunting one another. On the screen, four cartoonish characters with drill bits tunneled their way underground, grabbing power-ups and sabotaging one another's efforts to reach the surface. The sounds of button-mashing, explosions, and cries of glory and anguish filled the common room.

Raven had kept her word and sat on the couch behind the others, having brought her celestial hardcover. The racquet made it somewhat difficult to concentrate on the book, but she was nevertheless content to be in the vicinity of her friends. Besides, the sketches were sometimes just as meaningful as the words.

"Hey Raven, want to join us?" Dick's voice caught her attention.

She looked up from her book and assessed the invitation. The game looked childish, she would probably end up in last place, and it was only a four-player game anyway. All of which led her to the same conclusion as usual.

"No thanks," she deadpanned.

Before Raven knew it, a small green garden snake had slithered up the couch, across her lap, and then expanded to become the green-skinned teen sitting immediately adjacent to her.

"Are you sure?" he asked with an inviting grin.

She eyed him before responding in her usual monotone.

"That… was weird. And I'm fine with my book."

"Oh! We could be a team! Raven and Beastboy, the Dynamic Diggers." He put an arm around her shoulders and outstretched the other in front of them as if laying out a picture. Raven offered nothing but an arched an eyebrow.

"That's enough, man," Victor intervened, turning around to face Gar and Raven while holding his controller. "The girl ain't interested, and this way I won't feel bad kicking your sorry butt!"

"Alright, alright," Gar conceded. He stood up, and Raven noticed her shoulders feel somewhat bare as Gar reclaimed his arm. She dismissed it.

It was a shame; one more try just may have convinced her to join in. At least with Gar in the game, she wouldn't have been the only one in last place. Instead, she became aware of the distance as the group's fourth player returned to his spot in front of the giant television. Again, she dismissed the observation by turning back to her book and contemplating the sketch of the Martian landscape. Its emptiness was tempting; there didn't seem to be any televisions or video games over there.

However, it soon became boring. A picture in a book was just too far from the real thing. And judging by the Titans' mounting excitement and shouting, her friends appeared to be finishing the current round of their game and would soon be starting another.

"Oh, what the hell," she muttered to herself.

She rose to her feet, wrapped her blue cloak around her front, and walked with light footsteps toward the group. They were playfully taunting one another while selecting new characters, but their banter fell silent when they noticed her arrival.

"Raven?" Dick and Gar both asked incredulously.

"I changed my mind," replied the mouth beneath the blue hood.

"Glorious!" Kory levitated with joy, hugging the cloak with more strength than most humans would be able to stand. And far more than Raven could stomach, but she waited it out. "Together, we will bring the booyah to these two snorgal-glurps!" She glared at Victor and Dick, who had both been winning quite decisively.

"Yeah, we'll see about that!" Victor smirked.

"Hey, you better watch them, Cyborg," Dick suggested.

"What, so you can take me out? No way!" Both of them busted out in hearty laughter.

Feeling small already, Raven sat on the floor with everyone else and said, "Don't get your hopes up, Star."

"Don't worry about them, Rae." She turned to see Gar crouching next to her and offering his game controller, which she took. He continued, "All the characters have these little drills, and you start off underground. You win by digging your way to the surface before everyone else."

"Sounds simple enough…" she said to herself.

"Yeah, just watch out for the other players 'cuz they can hit you with their drills and mess you up. There's also a bunch of power-ups you can grab, and you can boost with this button…"

"Ugh," Raven moaned, regretting her decision. Gar decided to quit while he was ahead.

"Don't worry, you'll do fine."

"Whatever, let's just start."

"You asked for it!" Victor proclaimed, smashing the start button with far more flare than was necessary or appropriate. "Let the pain begin!"

The game started off simple enough, and the dynamics proved more intuitive than Raven had anticipated. But the others all seemed to have developed rather advanced maneuvers requiring certain finesse with the controller than she simply couldn't match. As she kept her distance from the other players and steered her character toward the surface, she seemed to repeatedly encounter terrain that was apparently tougher to drill through. To top off her frustration, Victor's character came tunneling by with a massive drill and plowed right through her, making her lose the power-ups she'd managed to obtain.

"Dude, cheap shot!" Gar said while he spectated.

"I know, I know," Victor replied halfheartedly while he concentrated on contending with Dick's recent attack.

Raven's game controller became enveloped in a tense field of dark energy as she began to feel more and more incompetent. Her book on the couch now seemed much more interesting and she decided she would just put the controller down before her demonic influence ripped it in half.

But just before she would do so, two green hands placed themselves over hers. The green thumbs manipulated her own thumbs, which in turn worked the controller, and her game character did a slick maneuver that countered Victor's incoming attack and left his character temporarily in pieces.

"Hey!" the bionic man exclaimed.

Raven couldn't help but feel some small pride in stunt in which she'd participated. Following her helper's hands with her eyes, she turned to find Gar kneeling behind her, his chest on her back and his arms reaching around both of her shoulders. What would have otherwise been a profound violation of her personal space was right now a welcome rescue from certain humiliation and insufficiency.

As Gar guided Raven's fingers, her character became much more agile and was able to grab a few power-ups. Her thumbs began to learn the movements. She even made significant headway toward the surface, which ultimately was the win condition. The cloaked girl realized that she may not be destined for last place after all.

"Now go grab that power up," Gar whispered into her ear through her hood. She again became aware of his proximity and his hands over hers, which collectively brought a flushing sensation to her face.

"You mean those sunglasses…" Still monotone.

"Yeah, before Cyborg sees them," he whispered urgently.

"Too late, y'all!" Victor bellowed triumphantly. "Hyper acoustics, baby! I'll be snatching those sunglasses before you get anywhere near 'em!" His character headed straight for the power-up.

"Don't let him!" Dick exclaimed.

"Raven, boost!" Gar shouted.

It was exactly the situation Raven usually avoided: all eyes on her. And yet, she instinctively mimicked one of Gar's moves and her character actually boosted! She reached her objective just before Victor, her character acquiring a pair of cartoony sunglass and a massively enhanced drill.

Her friends gave a cheer of relief, but she wasn't done. She set her sights on Victor's character nearby.

"Hey! No, no…" he panicked as he realized his vulnerability and steered his character away. But Raven's powered up character was too fast and easily overtook Victor's, leaving it in pieces yet again. "No! Aw man…"

"Wow, way to go, Raven," Dick remarked, still focused on the screen. What he heard in response caught everyone off guard.

A quiet but definitive giggle escaped from Raven's hood, like a glitch from a set of speakers. Unable to believe their ears, Dick, Kory, and Victor looked toward Raven only to have their jaws drop to the floor at what they saw. The cloaked was girl sitting between Gar's arms, his hands over hers, and the mouth beneath the hood was very subtly smiling. The three Titans stared with wide eyes at the scene. Having unwittingly abandoned their controllers, Dick's and Kory's characters crashed into each other while Victor's drifted irrecoverably off the screen. A few seconds later, Raven's character broke through the surface in an eruption of over-the-top glory.

"Raven, you won!" Gar exclaimed happily.

"I… guess I did," she mused. "Thanks."

She turned around and found herself very closely face to face with him. The flushing sensation was back, and with it, the familiar feeling of being expected to say something. Unfortunately, her usual reaction was too well practiced.

"You're kind of close," she said with averted eyes. Gar took notice of their position and immediately recoiled backward, causing himself to lose balance and ultimately end up on falling on his rear.

"Sorry!" he apologized, holding his hands in front of him. "I was just… I just wanted to—"

"Alright you two love birds," Victor interrupted as he rose to his feet, earning an angry glare from Raven as a light bulb shattered near the back of the room. "If she's gonna play like that, then I'm gonna have to step it up! Y'all get ready for a whole new Cyborg!"

"If that's a challenge, then I accept!" Dick jumped up aggressively. The two stared each other down with flames in their eyes.

"Whatever, let's just start," Raven deadpanned.

Victor again smashed the start button and a new game commenced; this time with Kory standing out so Gar could play. During the first few minutes, everyone was evenly matched. Dick and Gar contended for a power-up, while Victor had a bone to settle with Raven. Kory cheered for Dick and Raven.

The approach of Victor's character was obvious and Raven tried to prepare a counter attack that differed from what she'd done during the previous round. But Victor was two steps ahead and after a quick exchange of their characters' drills, Raven found herself on the losing end.

"Booyah! I knew you wouldn't do the same thing twice!" Victor gloated as his character tunneled away.

"Okay…" was Raven's only response.

But as the round progressed, this proved to be the emerging pattern. She lost several more exchanges with the other Titans, her resolve growing less stable with each offense. A vicious cycle had developed. Always in tune with her emotions, Raven knew that she was becoming agitated. Despite her previous success, she was getting in her own way and just couldn't keep up with the others. The activity suddenly wasn't fun anymore.

The game controller again glowed with a dark ether, which Kory noticed.

"Raven, please do not be upset over the game of drillers," she announced rather publicly. "There is always the next round."

There was no reply, but Dick glanced over and noticed Raven's game controller taking a different kind of abuse. He paused the game just as her character's drill broke into pieces.

"Hey, it's okay if you don't want to play, Raven," he tried to console her. "It's not worth getting upset over. I'm really glad you played at all."

Raven took a breath as the game came to a halt. She placed the controller on the floor and tried to calm herself under the eyes of all her friends. "I don't know about you, but I don't enjoy looking like a fool," she said from within her hood, with tension behind her voice. "I shouldn't have listened to Gar. I'm going back to my book."

"Nobody thinks you look like a fool…" Dick attempted.

"And you looked pretty happy when the grass stain was showin' you the ropes—" Victor added but was cut off.

"No, I never should have listened. Now I'm aggravated," Raven tried to contain her inner demon, but failed: "It was a stupid idea like all his others!" she erupted.

The demon surfaced for just one devastating second, and silence struck the room. Gar, Kory, Dick, and Victor stared at Raven without saying anything, and her eyes focused on the floor to avoid their gaze. She immediately regretted her words, and made no attempt to prevent an electric-looking obsidian bolt from lashing out and shattering the giant television. Then the silence continued.

"I'm sorry," she said, a little less monotone than usual. "I didn't mean that." She pulled her hood further forward but could not shake the feel of their scanning eyes.

Dick attempted damage control. "I hope we haven't been making you uncomfortable. Maybe we could all do something else…"

"No, it isn't you," she replied distantly. It was quite clear to her who the real problem was, but there was no way to articulate it. "It's… I just…" Starting the sentence proved to be no help in finishing it.

She turned slightly toward Gar, and found herself making eye contact with him. His face conveyed both confusion and disappointment, repelling her gaze back to the ground. Everyone was looking at her and she had no idea what to say. She wished they would just start playing their video game again.

"Just never mind," she said, her monotone turning defensive. "I overreacted, that's all." With that, she became concealed in her characteristic dark aura, rose swiftly off the floor, and escaped through the ceiling. The remaining four Titans remained silent for a few moments.

"Well that worked out well," Victor muttered.

"Yeah well no offense, but maybe you ought to be more careful about pissing Raven off. When does that ever turn out well?" Gar replied.

"Good point…" Victor admitted, rising to his feet.

"Never mind it," Dick said with an irritated tone, also standing and heading toward the shattered screen. "Let's just get to work on this television."

3. Confrontation

The hallways weren't long enough for Gar as he walked through their corridors. After years of push and pull with the demoness, their game seemed to have finally come to a head and now they would decide what it actually was. But for the first time, he was afraid of what he knew she would say, and wasn't sure if he'd come bouncing back afterward. Every turn of the route seemed to come far too quickly.

When they'd been in the common room, having his arms around her and hearing the sound of her laugh had rekindled feelings he'd thought were long since passed. But that euphoria he'd felt ten minutes ago now seemed a distant memory. He wished he could take the whole gamble back and put them both at their previous checkpoint.

Now he was at her door. Once he would enter, things would be different when he came out. He took a breath and gave one knock. There was no response.

His raspy voice spoke through the door, "Rae, we need to talk."

There was still no answer.

"Come on, you know I'm not gonna leave."

More time went by. Then the door slid open, revealing a hooded girl with pale skin standing in the doorway. Her eyes were concealed but her cheeks appeared moist and flushed, and her blue cloak failed to mask her weakened frame and slumped shoulders. There was no monotone remark. Raven looked at him, then turned and walked back into her room. Uncomfortable already, Gar followed and the door slid closed behind them.

His eyes explored his surroundings while he took small, ambivalent steps. This room was dimmer and more compartmentalized than was his own. Raven sat in a chair facing her desk, on which lay her usual book with newly dampened pages. Gar stood captively as time slowed down, playing tricks on them both. The air between them grew thicker until he felt that he couldn't put it off any longer.

"What happened, Raven?"

She continued to look blankly at her desk while she quietly replied, "I told you, I overreacted."

Gar's own gaze found its way to the floor as he prepared his next words. "Yeah, well… maybe you didn't." He waited, offering her a chance to correct him, but silence was her only response.

He looked up but saw only the lavender hair on the back of her head, which offered him no help. Still, he pushed on.

"I thought if I kept trying then, I don't know, maybe you'd warm up to me. But I guess…" As he paused, Raven watched the wall in front of her, waiting for him to finish but offering no contribution. Talking to the back of her head, he sighed, "But I guess this isn't working."

Her head didn't move.

Again Gar waited, hoping for a rebuttal that wasn't coming. The silence was painful; even a sarcastic 'I told you so' wouldn't have left him so stranded. Instead, there was only the tension that threatened to rip them apart.

"Alright then," he conceded defeat, starting toward the door. "I'll try to leave you alone from now on…"

"Gar," Raven choked. It came out like a weak rasp, as involuntary as the obsidian outburst that went lashing across the room and struck her book shelves. He stopped midstep while the shelves gave way and her books, magical paraphernalia, and mementos all came collapsing to a heap on the floor.

And now it was she who was stranded. Absolutely no words came to her aid and her heart quickly started to pound. The changeling's ears perked and she knew he could hear the thumping in her chest.

Gar watched pokerfaced as Raven pulled back her hood, revealing watery eyes that targeted him between her lavender locks. She glanced at her felled book shelves, and then looked back toward him and stood up. She had to say something.

"Gar, I know you used to have feelings for me." Okay, that wasn't so bad. Next, she felt she should come clean. "And I know… I know I avoided you because of it."

His expression turned stoic. It wasn't what he'd wanted to hear and he wouldn't dignify it with a response. Raven mentally kicked herself. Every book she'd ever read had lied about how difficult this was.

But it was too late to give up now. She tried more directly, "Do you still feel that way about me?" This one came out like an accusation and she cursed herself again.

"What do you think," he replied defensively. "You're the mind reader."

His tone wasn't helping, but she didn't blame him. In any case, nothing was coming out right and the moment was slipping through her fingers. Retreating from his eye contact, she turned and focused on that same page from her book. The auburn landscape was again a welcome escape.

And then something occurred to her. It was absurd in every sense of the word, but that was no longer a relevant consideration. Any plan was something. Raven took a deep breath, and then started walking with light steps toward the changeling near her door.

As she approached, Gar's eyes couldn't help but take her in. Even in her dejected state—or maybe especially in this state—she was a one of a kind beauty. Her violet irides were unlike anyone else's and they had him falling for her by the second. He wished that she would just reject him more quickly and be done with it.

She stopped in front of him, and he was taken aback as she took his hand in hers and slid off his signature Doom Patrol glove. The battle-scarred material dropped to the floor, and her delicate fingers grasped him where it had been.

"Raven…" Gar began to ask but trailed off. Her expression was one he'd never seen before—not her usual apathy, but rather the tranquility of a peaceful abandon.

"Just stay calm," she replied, her voice now smooth and relaxed. "I've got you."

"You've got me?" Now he was confused. What the hell was going on?

Rather than respond, Raven closed her eyes, and inhaled deeply. There was no turning back.

As she exhaled, her black energy faded into view and enveloped both of them in a flowing blackness. Gar watched as the room turned dark around them. Although this wasn't his first time traveling by this method, there was always something unnerving about it. She held his hand tighter as their surroundings disappeared entirely. And then they were in… nothing.

Within a few moments, the sense of gravity returned as they could feel themselves standing on solid ground. But this proved to be the only familiar feeling they would experience when their new surroundings came into view. Gar gasped as he realized where they were.

4. Abandon

A silent, desolate landscape of rust-colored dirt and rocks surrounded them and extended as far as the eye could see. The rough terrain was covered in scars and debris from a lifetime of abuse from the cosmos. Several hundred yards away, a giant fissure had opened in the ground and extended far into the horizon. In the distance, vertical ledges were peppered onto the horizon, contrary to their abundance suggested by Raven's book. The sky was mostly brown, but was illuminated to a deep red near the rising sun.

Raven's aura had faded but did not disappear entirely, instead simmering serenely just over their skin as a barrier to the outside world. The two visitors felt nearly weightless, like their feet were barely touching the ground. The mass effect of the wind felt light and airless.

Gar repeatedly turned this direction and that, utterly unable to process the sensory overload. He opened his mouth to ask a thousand questions—or formulate even one—but his vocal cords failed to produce any sound. There didn't seem to be sufficient atmosphere between them to carry words, which added to the alien feel of this world.

As he looked around, he felt Raven's other hand grasp his side firmly. He instinctively turned to face her, and was stunned when she immediately pulled their bodies together and boldly pressed her lips onto his.

The vast panorama quickly fell to the background, as Gar's attention focused quite fixedly onto the supposed demoness. Contrary to anything he would have intuited, the feel of Raven's embrace on his lips was… warm. The softness of her kiss and the heat radiating from her blushing face made her feel more human and alive than his heightened senses had ever detected. Subtle twitches of her eyelids betrayed traces of insecurity, even if she was beyond acting upon them. The dark ether flared ecstatically like flames, causing her lavender hair to gust in the artificial breeze.

Giving up on understanding anything that was happening, Gar relaxed and surrendered to this unexpected interpretation of his wildest fantasy. As he returned her kiss, he wrapped his free arm around her waist and pulled her securely into him. Raven's twitching eyelids settled as she gave in to her abandon and allowed herself to melt into him. Who could have guessed that her curves would fit so perfectly in his grasp?

The two separated, and a few seconds later, the pitch black flares returned to their previously calm glow over their skin. Each remained absorbed in the moment, simultaneously at peace and full of awe for the experience they had just shared.

The heroes' eye contact was short lived as the Martian landscape faded briskly from view and they again entered the dark void of that other-worldly conduit. During their transit, Raven swam in a cocktail of adrenaline, liberation, and self consciousness, while Gar pinched his own face to determine whether a dream had traversed into reality or vice versa.

Their feet touched solid ground, and they were back in Raven's room. The desk, bed, and broken book shelves were all exactly as they'd been left. The protective field faded away, and they released each other's hands as they settled back into their usual reality.

Snapping out of his euphoria, Gar's mind was quickly bombarded with a barrage of questions. And he was going to get some answers…

"Were we just—" He interrupted himself, "I mean, you—So this whole time—Wait, did you know that would—How long did you—" Alas, words had failed the changeling yet again. Without having completed a single question, he slumped his shoulders in defeat and gave a frustrated sigh. With an exasperated expression, he decided to just stop talking and wait for her to explain.

Neither spoke for a good thirty seconds, until Raven's apathetic deadpan tone rose to the occasion: "Well, what?"

"'What'?" Gar replied. "You kissed me!"

Raven's face heated up but she maintained her composure. "What was I supposed to do? Ask you out on a date?"

"Well yea—" He remembered this was Raven. "Oh, right."

Raven's hand reached instinctively for her hood, but she didn't pull it up and sufficed to uneasily fiddle with the loose material over her shoulder. In retrospect, that kiss now seemed a lot easier than getting out the explanation she owed him.

Taking a deep breath, she confessed, "I know this is strange coming from me. It's difficult for me to get close to someone like this. After today's… incident, you can see why people prefer to just give me space…" Her eyes averted, turning to watch her own fingers twirl her hood. "Especially when they know what I am."

Gar held back his reassurances.

Treading away from the 'demoness' point, Raven continued, "But for some reason, you've never given up on me, even on the small things. You actually want me for everything I am. And I guess I like that…" Her entire body was burning up inside her cloak and she gazed at the floor as she finished, "…a lot."

A few seconds of silence allowed the weight of those words to settle into place. Raven had been right; it was weird coming from her.

"Wow," Gar mused. He grinned as he scratched the back of his head and added, "And here I thought you could only take me in small doses. But I shoulda known that deep down, you actually like my jokes!"

Raven rolled her eyes. "Don't get carried away."

Gar laughed and Raven showed a small smile, which lasted for a few moments and then faded.

"So… Is this gonna happen?" she asked cautiously, her head lowered slightly as she looked at the green teen.

He looked at her, unable to believe his luck in receiving this proposition from Raven, of all girls. The definition of 'the unattainable' stood before him in all her enigmatic beauty, asking him for something more than friendship. But his time spent reveling the moment was selfish and he decided to finally put the gray girl out of her misery.

"Yeah," he replied with a genuine smile. Her eyes followed him as he stepped forward and put his arms around her waist, and said, "It's gonna happen."

In a motion that admittedly felt strange doing with Raven, Gar leaned in close to her lips and waited for her to close the remaining distance, which she did without hesitation. Her heart did backflips, and it turned out that they didn't need an interplanetary jump to enjoy one another's embrace; this earthly location served just fine.

They came apart and both succumbed to involuntary grins that even the usually-impassive demoness was unable to suppress. Although there was no dark aura to be seen, Raven's powers radiated intensely and caused both her and Gar's hair to stand on end. She caught Gar taking in her smile and blushed from her uncharacteristic appearance.

"Wow Rae, excited much? Your fangs are showing," he chided.

Her elation disappeared and she instinctively turned away, covering her mouth with her hand and hastening to restore her human teeth. "Sorry…" Her monotone was back and she looked away.

"Sorry for what?"

She turned back to him and asked, "It doesn't bother you?"

"Nah, look who you're talking to!" he gestured toward himself. Then, scratching his head again, he cautiously added, "It's uh… it's actually kinda hot."

A smaller, more subtle smile returned as Raven's anxiety dissipated. She replied musingly, "I see… I'll remember that." Now it was Gar's turn to blush.

They stood for another minute, and then Raven stepped back and collected herself, sweeping stray hairs from her face and wrapping her cloak around her body.

"I should probably help the others with the television. I sort of… shattered it."

"Heh heh, oh yeah," Gar replied. Then his expression turned to panic: "Hey, wait! Now what am I gonna play my games on? Oh man, Robin hates it when I use the main computer monitor…"

Raven rolled her eyes and then started toward the door. Gar realized his faux pas and stammered, "I mean, uh… who needs TV anyway?" Regaining his composure, he followed her to the door and asked, "So I guess you wanna keep this a secret?"

They stopped at the entryway and Raven thought for a moment. Then she replied, "There's no point in hiding it. They would find out eventually, anyway." After she finished, she offered her hand from her blue cloak.

Gar stared incredulously for a moment, before taking it and asking, "Really? You're saying you want to tell them?"

"What?" Raven replied, her flat sarcasm making a resurgence: "I just kissed a boy twice. Can't I brag a little?"

"Hey, deny it all you want, but we both know you liked it," the changeling chuckled, earning him an instinctive glare from the demoness.

In a moment, her expression softened and was replaced by a slightly playful smirk. "Watch it, my powers still have it in for you…" Gar gulped, and Raven smiled triumphantly as she turned to lead him by the hand out of her room. As they started to walk, Gar simply laughed it off. He was too elated to feel anything else.

The door swooshed closed behind them as the two started toward the common room, where the other Titans were working on the giant shattered television. This was going to be an interesting story.

Author note: I tried to make the characters both human and true to the show. Comments and constructive criticism (that is to say, reviews!) would be GREATLY appreciated. Be as broad or specific as you want.

Thanks to Dylan for his prepublication comments and TheForceIsStrongWithThisOne for motivating me to write this story after years of fanfiction dormancy.