A/N: An unusual kind of Raven/Red-X romance. It could have been a deeply serious and sad reflection on the disguises we all wear sometimes just to get through life. But I was in a lighter mood when I started it, so here we are. The allegory about masks might be there somewhere. Or you might just be reading too much into it. :D Hope you like this as much as I liked writing it and review. I don't own Teen Titans. -SD
Red-X's & Zinth-O's
Chapter 1: Ruffled Feathers
Most people did not sit down to have pizza for dinner at ten-o-clock at night.
Of course, Raven reflected, most people were not teenage superheroes.
"Hey, hey!" Beast Boy shouted at Cyborg from across the table. "That's one of my slices!"
"No it's not," the giant bot lifted it to his mouth.
"Dude, yeah it is! Just look at it."
Starfire and Robin exchanged amused looks. Raven simply sat there between them, her eyebrow twitching faintly.
Cyborg gave him a bored look. "No, grass stain. I am not gonna look at it. Because there is no way I could have picked up a piece of your nasty tofu pizza without noticing. Because my pizza instincts are just too good for that."
"But it's right on there!"
"Sorry, not listenin'," Cy took a huge bite, turned a unique shade of brownish-green and promptly spewed it onto the table.
Beast Boy slapped his ample forehead. "See? See? Now you just wasted a perfectly good piece of my special tofu pizza because you wouldn't listen to me, because your brain is offline or something."
Raven's other eyebrow twitched as they argued loudly in front of her.
"Damn, man," Cyborg choked into his napkin. "What are you doing sneakin' that onto my plate? Really not cool."
"Sneaking it? Have you got two tin ears?" The green changeling flailed his arms wildly.
Double-brow action from Raven.
"You're going to need a metal mouth when I'm done with you!"
"Bring it on, tough guy!"
An impending clash of the Titans was interrupted when the table exploded, sending the pizza ceiling-high. Beast Boy and Cy sprawled out of their chairs as Starfire gasped. Raven reached up, caught one of the boxes and moodily started munching a slice of sausage and mushroom.
"Um…sorry, Raven." Cyborg said lightly.
Beast Boy nodded. "Our bad, Rae." She stopped chewing and looked at him. "I mean Raven! Ra-VEN. That's your name. Big black bird, just like that. Yep." She was still looking at him. "…I think I'm gonna turn in early. Night guys!"
He sprinted for his room.
Raven swallowed and continued to stare sullenly at the remains of the table. Starfire watched her with a worried expression. "Friend Raven, that was not like you. Are you feeling all of the right?"
"What do you mean?"
"She's got a point, Raven," Robin said firmly. "You haven't been that testy for a long time."
"I'm fine." Suddenly she couldn't finish her slice fast enough. She left the crust and stood up, accidentally banging her ankle on the chair leg. She winced and turned on it furiously. The chair disintegrated half a second later. "…Really, I'm fine."
She left the three of them sitting awkwardly and choking on sawdust.
"Aw, man," Cyborg groaned. "There goes some good pizza."
"We do not know that, Cyborg! The chair may be a very delicious garnish." Starfire was trying a slice of pepperoni and wood chip before anyone could stop her. "Urmmmfh…"
"Spit that out, Star," Robin said calmly. "Look, Cy, I'm going to talk to Raven. She's probably got something bugging her. But just to be on the safe side, keep it down to a dull roar with Beast Boy, all right? And tell him I said so."
The bot nodded silently. Robin left him to mourn over the interrupted meal.
Raven slid her bedroom door closed and walked over to the window to check the night sky. Some good meditation weather would keep this from being a totally crappy day. Fortunately, there were no clouds in sight.
She allowed herself a thin smile and concentrated her power, preparing to teleport to the roof. An insistent knock on the door shattered her concentration. She growled and went to answer it.
Unsurprisingly, it was a traffic light with eyes. "Raven, we need to talk." And a mouth.
Talking was the last thing she felt like doing now. "In the morning."
"Now. That's an order."
Twitch. "You can order me to fight crime. You can't order me to talk to you."
The white in his mask lessened, symbolizing a glare. "It's for the good of the team."
Twitch times two. This was getting old. "Me getting some quiet time and sleep is for the good of the team. You are interrupting both."
"Look, Raven, I know I don't usually push this hard, but—"
"No. You don't. And it is upsetting me," she snapped. Dark energy coursed around her body, allowing the point to sink in. "You know the old Robin, the one who cared about my feelings?"
"What do you mean, I don't—"
"Find him and tell him I'll see him in the morning."
Robin stood there silently, clenching and unclenching his fists. Frustrated leader-ish thoughts churned around in his head. But I have to…she can't talk to me like…what is wrong with…damn it.
He turned and stalked off to his own room. This was going to be harder than he thought.