(A/N) What's with me and the one-shots lately? Well, mostly it's me finishing up a number of things I've let sit for far too long and partly it's me keeping up with my goal of writing something every day. I'm enjoying it, are you?
Disclaimer – Unless I can get the owners of the Teen Titans to drink from the Lethe, I will never own them.
Silent Beast Boy, Reading Raven
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The noise needed to stop. That was Raven's one goal for the afternoon. Cyborg and Beast Boy had managed to outdo themselves in ways never thought possible in their latest gaming tournament, Starfire had decided that the pandemonium meant it would be a good time to work on her singing, and Robin had dealt with it all as best he could…by cranking his stereo ever louder.
Raven thought that they were past all of these childish ways of dealing with each other. So when she started losing feeling in her fingers because of how tightly she was holding her book, she decided to try a new tactic rather than yelling at everyone to shut up; though the yelling was getting more and more appealing as Starfire found new verses to sing.
Quietly rising to her feet, Raven strode purposefully to the nearest computer terminal. She sat softly, typed in a few quick passwords and commands, and swiveled around in her chair to watch the others as all the power in the room shut off.
Starfire sang on in silence just long enough to have everyone look at her before they all remembered they were trying to find out who cut the juice. Before Robin could even call out commands for the usual perimeter checks and fuse run, Raven had cleared her throat to catch their attention.
"It's not the fuse or an attack. I shut off the power in here so you'd all stop trying to see who had the loudest volume."
"Dude, that's no contest. Everybody knows Star's the loudest. She doesn't even need a microphone."
Raven's eyes narrowed dangerously and Beast Boy took a cautious step back trying to weakly laugh it off. "I don't care. I know that I'm not going to get the quiet I want all the time, but either you all find something quiet to do or I will kill something."
That something hung in the air for each person to place their own interpretation on, and having never actually stared death in the face myself, I can only guess at how frightening Raven can be when she really wants to. The Titans, however, have faced it; quite often. So when I say that Cyborg leaked a little motor oil at these words, I have to assume that she was serious.
A calm walk back to the couch, book in hand, was the signal for the others to find their own diversions. After grabbing a few paper towels to clean up the oil, Cyborg headed for the elevator, garage bound no doubt. Robin and Starfire seemed to be discussing something at the table, while Beast Boy just fidgeted in his seat on the couch.
"I'll turn the power back on in an hour," Her eyes never having left the page.
"But what am I gonna do for an hour?"
Beast Boy was answered with the sound of a page turning. "Just do something you like to do that doesn't make any noise."
Raven's book dropped with her hands into her lap. "Beast Boy! You have a bedroom, go use that."
"I don't want to stay cooped up in my room for an hour, it's too dirty to do anything in anyway."
"Whose fault is that?"
"So what? It's not like you want to spend your quiet time in your room either, and your room's spotless."
"Fine. Then bring whatever you're going to do in here, just do it quietly!" Raven brought her book back up and found her place again. She had gotten through another half page or so when she realized Beast Boy hadn't left yet. She knew he'd interrupt her eventually, so she decided to get it out of the way. "Why are you still sitting there?"
Beast Boy frowned slightly. "'Cause I don't know if I want everybody to watch."
"Watch what?" Seeing Beast Boy fidgeting again she pressed on. "Just say whatever it is."
"I was gonna make something or draw. I just don't want everybody seeing me making something that looks stupid."
Raven sighed; it was the kind of sigh that only someone who's had to deal with the most extreme annoyances on the planet can pull off. Innocent bystanders walking past often felt the need to apologizing upon hearing it. "Just go get your stuff and stop acting like this is high school."
Beast Boy got up haltingly, the internal debate of whether he should continue voicing his fears or just do as he was told written in his entire demeanor. Finally, after Raven had pointed to the door in a silent command, he exited the room.
Approximately fifteen minutes later, Beast Boy came back in with his arms full. He walked over to a vacant corner of the room and toppled his load onto the floor. Raven heard a hasty "sorry" as he plopped himself in front of the pile and started rustling through it. She found the soft clatter of pens and pencils an acceptable background noise and lost herself in her reading.
In the back of her mind she was keeping vague tabs on everyone's actions. Robin and Starfire were still talking softly, an occasional laugh floating through louder than the rest of their speech. Cyborg had yet to reappear, though she was sure he was tuning up the T-car, as it hadn't gotten an oil change in over a month. And Beast Boy was staring at her.
Since the book was still getting the lion's share of her attention, his staring was viewed as though she were hearing about it after the fact. The sound of pencils and pens being knocked together every now and again was still there, as was the occasional sound of a page turning. When she finished a chapter she gave a brief glance his way.
The book she was reading really was excellent. She'd only been able to afford it recently; ancient texts being a bit of a big-ticket item, and this one was remarkably intriguing in how the story kept pulling in and out of focus making the comings and goings of a commoner its own little tale wrapped around the hero's actions. Why was Beast Boy staring?
Raven paused in her reading. The thought had bubbled up from the back of her mind to the forefront. The only reason it had gotten through was the mental shift she had at a scene change. Beast Boy was staring?
She allowed her mind to replay what it had been taking in. Beast Boy had been regularly switching between various writing implements, had turned to fresh pages in what looked like a sketchbook multiple times, and was currently staring intently at her. She turned to look at him.
"What are you doing?"
"Drawing." His eyes were still fixed on her.
"And why are you looking at me like that?"
"'Cause I'm drawing."
"You mean you're drawing me."
"Don't you need to look at the paper?"
"Not for the rough sketch. Can you go back to reading your book? I wasn't done getting its placement."
Raven nodded and found her place. The story was moving from the hero back to the spice trader who was lost in a new city. She was sure these jumps to a seemingly unimportant character would tie back into the main story somehow, but the spice trader's wife had already died and she'd seemed like the main character of these side trips for at least half the book. Why was he drawing her?
She tried ignoring her subconscious mind's attempts to derail her reading. She only had ten more minutes of guaranteed peace; that was enough time to finish the chapter. And the spice trader was such an interesting character. The loss of his wife and the turmoil it caused him paralleled well against how lost he was in the city. He was almost more interesting than the hero who was on a quest for the king so that he would be deemed worthy to marry the princess. She was fairly certain the king hoped the hero would die in the attempt.
Another flip of a page off to her left and Beast Boy was staring again. She gave her own page a turn, realized she hadn't finished reading the one she was on and flipped back to catch the last couple of paragraphs. His staring was getting to her. It made her feel anxious.
Why anxious? She wasn't dressed inappropriately or sitting in a way that would be embarrassing to have captured on a page. She wasn't reading one of the books she only read in her bedroom – romance novels, a bibliophile's dirty little secret. And she wasn't doing anything that seemed out of place, so it must be him.
His stare was causing her anxiety. She gave the page a vague turn, the story having been pushed to the background while her observations of Beast Boy jumped forward. Would she feel that kind of anxiety if one of the others were staring? Probably not. She leaned more towards annoyance at their stares.
Then why was his stare doing this to her? It's the way he's looking at you, her own mind supplied. And what way is that, she questioned herself. Intently. Purposefully. Scrutinizing every detail. She could understand why that would cause a case of the nerves. She idly wondered if she should tell him to draw something else when her internal clock reminded her that the hour was over. She gave a sigh as she got up to switch the power back on.
"Sit back down!"
She dropped back into her seat, the suddenness of the command causing her to act on impulse. "Why am I…"
"Sh! I'm almost done. Lift your book back up."
She did as she was told and he furiously scribbled on the page without taking his eyes off her.
"Can you tilt your head down towards the book?"
She adjusted and he kept his pencil moving at a brisk pace. "Are you done yet? I need to turn the power back on."
"Just a little bit…okay…and, you're good. I'm done. Thanks, Rae."
He was already selecting a different pencil as he stared down at the page the same way he'd been staring at her. It didn't look like he'd heard her "You're welcome."
She made her way to computer terminal and reset the common room back to its last setup. The lights in the kitchen came on, as did Robin's stereo at full volume. He ran over to it with his hands covering his ears and yanked the cord out of the wall.
"Sorry. Didn't remember to turn it off." Robin gathered the cord up with the stereo as he and Starfire left the room hand in hand.
With the two of them having left and Cyborg unlikely to be back up from the garage any time soon, Raven was pleasantly surprised with Beast Boy's continued interest in drawing. She'd be able to get back into her book without having to hide away in her room. Power out hour needed to become a regular occurrence.
She was just getting back to the spice trader, wondering if his luck would ever change, when Beast Boy started cleaning up. The noise was easy to ignore, the urge to see what he'd drawn much less so. She watched him for a while, wondering how he'd managed to bring everything he had into the room when it looked like it should take too trips.
She was about to offer help when he shifted into an octopus, pulled everything into one set of arms, and shifted back into himself with everything clutched tightly to his chest. She'd have been impressed if he hadn't dropped it all when he made a grab at a single pencil that had slipped out.
This time, she did offer help, which he gladly accepted. They were at his door when she finally asked the question that was flashing in her mind like a fifty-foot neon sign. "Can I see what you drew?" She was glad it sounded casual coming out.
"Huh?" He was still putting pens and pencils in a drawer in his desk. "Yeah, sure." He closed the drawer and flipped through the sketchbook with his back to her. He gave a worried look over his shoulder. "Just…don't laugh, okay?"
"I promise not to laugh." Easiest promise she'd ever made.
When she took the pad from him her brow furrowed as she looked at his drawing. It was a crude stick figure with hair vaguely the same shape as her haircut sitting or standing, it was hard to tell which, on a lumpy rectangular blob that she assumed was the couch. "Oh…it's…"
Beast Boy laughed. "Good. The real ones will look awesome by comparison." He flipped the previous page over top of his little joke. "They're not shaded or anything 'cause I'm no good with that. I just do a quick sketch in a really light pencil, flesh out the details in a dark one, and go over everything with a pen to finish it up."
Raven found her own face staring back out at her. The eyes were looking down towards the bottom of the page where the top of a book could be seen. These were much better. She flipped to another and saw herself daintily turning a page. Flipped another page and saw the full room drawn out, Robin and Starfire whispering in the background.
Like he'd said, there wasn't any shading, and only his first picture, a side view of her reading, had been inked in at all, but his line work was clean. "When did you learn to draw?"
"A while ago. I started tracing over pictures I really liked in my comics and it just kind of grew from that."
"These are good."
"No, they are."
"You mean they are to you." He smiled. "I bought some books to try and get better, but there's still a bunch of stuff I can't do. They'll look good once I can figure all that other stuff out."
Raven gave him a withering look. "I don't care how good they will be some day, these are good now. Maybe if you learn those other techniques they'll be better, but they're still good."
"Fine, they're good, I believe you." He had a very self-satisfied smile on.
"So, why are they all of me?"
"Artist's models have to stay in the same pose for hours on end sometimes. You do that when you're reading all the time."
"Ah." Seems reasonable.
"Plus it gave me an excuse to stare at a cutie." He gave her cheek a quick peck and ducked into his room with a hasty, "Thanks, Raven."
She stood there for a very long time trying to figure out how soon she could convince the others to let her have another power outage.
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(A/N) You wanna hear how weird I get? Yeah, I actually had a little story thought up for the book Raven's reading. The hero's tale is him wanting to marry the princess because she's beautiful and the quest he's sent on will only bring him more renown, but as he's on the quest he comes to realize that he doesn't care about the glory and ultimately, just wants to be worthy of her love.
The spice trader's tale opens with his marriage to his true love and the beginning of his appointment to the head of his family's trading business. He's a good, honest, hardworking sort, but his wife is a jewel and uses her cunning to help his business blossom as never before. They are very happy together and both relish their part in everything, him as the figurehead, and her as his supremely trusted advisor. After her death, he is massively distraught and his life starts to unravel culminating with him being lost in a city he has never been in and robbed of all the goods and money.
The two paths finally cross in that city where the heroic prince must face three fearsome beasts only he has no idea how to defeat them. He meets the spice trader who is now a beggar, and the spice trader tells him which spice each of the beasts is weak against. One can't take the heat of pepper, one is allergic to garlic, and the last becomes docile if given saffron.
Having defeated the three beasts, the hero lavishes praise, money, and a title on the trader and takes him back to the king's palace as he goes to claim his bride.
When they get there, they find that the princess and the spice trader's wife were one and the same. The king used the quest as a means of getting rid of the prince whom his daughter did not love. With no prince in the kingdom to claim her, she was free to marry her beloved. The story ends with the two men grieving together over their great loss.
Yep. Thought up that story just to put a few blurbs in this one.