Take Care of Me

"Alright, everyone, time for today's training schedule..." Robin began, but he stopped. "Where's Beast Boy?"

"Probably still asleep," Cyborg said, rolling his eye. "You know how he is."

"He did seem less than his usual excitable self last night," Starfire commented. "He went to bed earlier than usual, if I recall."

"By three whole hours," Raven commented in an aside, "and he didn't stir the entire night. He usually tosses and turns a bit."

Everyone turned to stare at her. "And how would you know that?" Cyborg asked suggestively.

Raven glared at him. "Empath," she said blandly.

"Well, why don't you go wake him up then," Robin said decisively. "We'll wait."

Raven glared at Robin, then turned and stormed out. Truth to tell, she was worried about the green changeling - not that she'd even admit it to herself - and was glad of the excuse to check on him. Course, she'd never admit that to Robin or the others.

She got to his room and banged on the door. "Beast Boy, get up." SHe waited quietly, than banged again. "Beast Boy!" She waited for a time, then forced the door open.

He was laying in his bead, flat on his back, eyes closed. Raven came up to him. "Come on," she said calmly, although she was anything but calm. "Time to wake up." THis wasn't right. He normally slept curled up around something, or on his side. THis...this looked more like he'd laid himself out.

When she got closer, she saw he was sweating. His eyes opened blearily. "Rae..." His voice sounded scratchy. "I don't feel so good..."

Raven sat and rested a hand on his forehead...then jerked it back. "Azar! YOu're burning."

He chuckled weakly. "I always told you I was hot stuff..." he mumbled, then coughed weakly.

Raven turned towards the door. "Robin! Cyborg! Star! Get in here! Beast Boy needs help!"

Cyborg ran tests once they got to the medical wing. RObin paced, and Starfire fretted. Beast Boy struggled to breathe. Raven...just sat there, right next to the slab, staring at Beast Boy.

Cyborg got the test results back...and cursed.

"What's wrong with him?" Raven demanded before anyone else could react.

Cyborg shook his head. "It's his unstable DNA. It's...deteriorating."

"What do you mean?" Raven's voice had a touch of panic to it.

"His DNA has always been unstable, but...after what happened with the Beast, an inherent flaw in the make up has spun out of control...and now his DNA can no longer maintain its own stability."

"So," Robin started, "how long's he gonna be like this?"

Cyborg shook his head. "Maybe days, maybe hours...but until he dies."

"NO!" Starfire was on the verge of tears. "Friend Beast Boy cannot die!"

Raven clutched Beast Boy's hand without thinking, unable to speak.

"THere's...there's nothing I can do." Cyborg covered his human eye, hiding his tears.

"Beast Boy..." Robin began quietly. THe alarm went off. "Trouble! ..." Robin looked towards Beast Boy, unwilling to give the order in the face of Beast Boy's condition.

"Go..." Beast Boy whispered. "You're needed out there. I'll...be okay. It's not like I'm going anywhere..."

Robin nodded. "Okay, someone needs to stay with Beast Boy. Cy-"

"I'll stay," Raven said flatly, not even looking at Robin.

Robin nodded slowly. "Okay. Do what you can for him."

Raven nodded absently as the others rushed to the mission. Placing her hands on Beast Boy's arm, she called on her magic, trying to fix what was wrong with him.

It felt like she was pouring herself into a well that would never fill. No matter how much magic she wielded, Beast Boy kept slipping away from her. "Don't you do this, Garfield," she whispered. "DOn't you dare go and die on me."

Beast Boy chuckled. "Don't worry, Rae. I'll be just fine...in just a bit." He coughed.

"DOn't speak," she said quickly. "It's too much for you just now."

He smiled at her. "But if I shut up now...then I'll be admitting this is serious...you know I never shut up."

She shook her head. "Now I know you'll get better...you made a joke." Her voice belied the sentiment of her words, though. It was on the verge of breaking, and her lip quivered. SHe felt him start to slip.

"It's okay, Rae...I lived a good life...it's okay if it's my time now..." He coughed for a time, and she held his shoulders until the spasm passed. "Besides," he said, his eyes starting to close slowly, "at least I get to spend...my last moments...with the one I...love the most..."

Raven felt her heart stop. In desperation, she pulled forth all the magic she had and flung herself, body and soul, into the struggle to keep him with her. "DOn't you dare," she whispered. "DOn't you dare just say that and leave, you hear me. You're not that much of a coward!" Her emotions - rage, fear, love, pain - swirled through her voice and magic. "Don't you dare...leave me..." She felt him start to slip away. "Don't leave me...alone..." Her grip on her magic - on the world around her - started to slip.

"Raven...it's my time..." Garfield was trying to be reasonable. BEast Boy, reasonable!

"Not without me, Gar..." Raven's voice started to trail off as her grip on life began to slip from the amount of magic she was expending.

Beast Boy saw what was happening. He was dying, but he was taking Raven with her. He couldn't let that happen. Something deep inside his soul shifted. His body changed, and feathers sprouted from his skin.

His body felt like fire.

The rest of the team left the villain tied up when they saw the explosion at the tower. They rushed back as fast as they could go. Once there, they rushed to the medical lab.

Beast Boy and Raven lay curled up to each other on the slab. The entire room looked like it had been blasted by some sort of fire. Luckily, some of the equipment was still functional. The outside wall simply wasn't there anymore.

Cyborg ran forward and checked both Beast Boy and Raven. "They're alive...just sleeping, although Raven looks slightly singed." He ran a deeper bio scan. "I...I don't believe it. Beast Boy, he's...stabilized. Or at least as stable as he ever gets." Tears streamed from his human eye.

"Then...then our friend is no longer dying?" Starfire had a look of disbelieving hope on her face. At Cyborg's nod, she squealed with joy. "Oh how wondorous! I shall make a pudding of miraculous recovery to celebrate!"

*I swear she's making that up,* Cyborg thought to himself.

"I'm not so sure it's a miracle, Star," Robin said, somewhat calmly. He picked up something from the floor. They all looked at it closely.

It looked like a feather...made of green fire.