Disclaimer: Teen Titans © Warner Bros. / DC – "Echo" © Jason Walker - I am making no profit off of this.
Summary: Finally, Beast Boy feels that he understands Terra's desperate need for control - he understands the intense fear when it feels as if your world is crumbling beneath you. Set after "The Beast Within"; pure BBTerra angst/fluff; oneshot.
A/N: This fanfic gets pretty rambling. But I just sort of wrote whatever came to mind. And it took me long enough to finish it. (Aha...sorry about that, Albany.)
This isn't a songfic, but its title is a line from the song "Echo" by Jason Walker, which is an absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking song and, in my opinion, absolutely perfect for BBTerra. Honestly, you should hear it if you haven't already - or, even better, listen to it as a backdrop to this fic! If I had AMV-making-skills, I'd make a BBTerra AMV to that song. I have the video all mapped out in my head already. Seriously.
Dedicated to: Albany A.K.A. the best Terra roleplayer on Tumblr (if you want her URL: t-erra)...because we both ship BBTerra like burning, she writes an absolutely flawless Terra, and she was the main driving force behind the completion of this fanfic. (And her FF account is Senza Tracce, if you want to read some of her awesome fanfiction.)
Hello, hello, anybody out there
'Cause I don't hear a sound
Alone, alone, I don't really know where the world is
But I miss it now …
~ "Echo" - Jason Walker
I Would Take A Whisper
Beast Boy was not one to have a routine. He woke up when he wanted to (though usually about 11), ate when he felt like it (admittedly, quite a lot of the time) and played video games whenever Cyborg was free. But every Sunday evening, with a flashlight, without fail, he would visit the cave where Terra stood as a statue.
It was a Wednesday then, but who was counting?
Beast Boy's flashlight cut through the dusty gloom, throwing sharp, stalactite- and stalagmite-shaped shadows that flocked around him, suffocating. The cave was unchanging, as dark in the day as it was at night, and choked with desert dust. Beast Boy coughed. He still felt rough - his throat sore from snarling and yelling; his body bruised, joints aching from the lingering pain of the transformation - bones pulling, clothes ripping, fur bursting and razor teeth and red, his vision burns redredredRED -
Shuddering, Beast Boy shook himself out of that train of thought and clutched his abdomen with his free arm, bile rising in his throat. Cyborg had said that the antidote was keeping it "sedated", but he was still hyper-aware of its presence. At the edge of his mind, he could feel that - that thing, that Beast. Simmering, muscles tensed like a coiled spring, as if preparing itself to pounce...
"Terra?" he whispered. Just around this corner, she'd be there, as unresponsive as the last times. But he still clung to that sliver of hope that she would call back; that, when he gathered the courage to turn this corner, she'd be blonde and azure-eyed, breathing and blushing and moving and being like a living person.
But she was stone. Grey stone. Nothing more. Unchanging, just like her tomb.
Of course, he'd known to expect this. He believed that he'd gotten used to it, at least to some extent. So why nowdid it feel like his heart was ripping in two? Why were tears beginning to burn at the corners of his green eyes, and his gloved fingers trembling and clutching the flashlight in a white-knuckled grip?
He forced himself to meet her stationary gaze. "...Hey, Terra," he said, attempting a small smile. It quivered on his face for a moment before losing form. His knees trembled - deciding he'd rather not collapse, he lowered himself to his usual spot on the floor of the cave and crossed his legs.
"How've you been?" he carried on, trying his best to keep a lighthearted tone, and paused as if he'd really been expecting an answer. "...I've been...it's been...tough, recently. But, well, I guess that's all over now. You probably don't have to know what happened, but anyways, the important thing is that everyone's okay I guess." Everyone? "Raven's all healed up, Adonis is in jail - Robin got all sorry, he was pretty hard on me, but that's his job, I guess, since he's our leader an' all - and I think Cyborg and Star felt a little bit guilty, too. I even got Cy to eat some tofu bacon!" Despite himself, a small, throaty chuckle escaped. "Heh. Well. Almost, anyway.
"I-I know I'm a li'l early. Not that that's a bad thing or anything! I mean, it'd be nice to visit more often anyway, but... I dunno. Like I said. Bad week."
- tearing, snarling, control slipping away as the animal takes hold -
"Can I...ask you something?"
The silence almost felt like an approval, so he ploughed on:
"It's just...what you said, that time." Beast Boy's eyes drop to the floor, and he begins to trace patterns in the desert dust with his finger. "'Don't lose control.' That's...that's what it was all about, wasn't it? That's what he gave you. What made you do all those things. I knew how scared you were, about your powers...or I thought I did, anyway..."
Sorry! I'm sorry, I'm so stupid! Don't tell - please don't tell!
Terra, it's okay. You can't totally control your powers. So what?
Promise you won't tell anybody! Ever!
Okay, okay! I promise...
He glanced to her face guiltily, then away again, gnawing his lower lip. "Please...don't be mad, Terra? But sometimes...sometimes, I thought I hated you. Sometimes, I just thought...I thought it was stupid, the whole 'control' thing. I didn't really get it. But now?"
By now, Beast Boy's eyes were unfocused, so that Terra's prone form blurred before him - he lifted a hand into the air before him, fingers splayed, and he could almost see - hands twisting into deadly claws - tearripkill -
"There's this thing inside me, Terra. This monster. And the worst part is, is it's...not even inside me, not really. It is me. I lose control over it...over me. And I hate it. And I would have done anything," he admitted in a small voice, "even if it meant being angry - anything to get control back. I keep thinking...is that how you felt?
"I think I get it now. I get how bad it is - was, for you. It's like the floor is disappearing under you. Right?" No answer. "Right, Terra? ...Terra?"
He blinked, lowering his hand - and in the place of that warm, encompassing smile and slightly-tanned complexion and that light feather-dusting of freckles across her nose, was a mouth stretched into a silent scream across pockmarked granite.
A lump rose in his throat, and he forgot how to breathe for a moment.
"...R-Right. Stone. Yeah. I, er, forgot. Heh. Pretty dumb of me, right?" He forced a laugh, drawing his knees to his chest. "But, um, I talked to Raven, and she was cool. Even gave me advice. I guess she knows a lot about this controlstuff, huh? Y'know, you and her are sort of similar. If you'd talked to her, maybe she could've...helped you..."
Having that thing inside doesn't make you an animal. Knowing when to let it out is what makes you a man.
What would Terra say now?Would she be able to tell him her secret to control?Was she even in control, in the end?
Across his vision flickered a memory - an afterimage - Terra, rising away from him, above him, powers humming as she absorbed the raw might of the volcano -
And in the moment before her last scream, with her expression almost peaceful and her hair framing her face like a halo, and that golden light encompassing her...she had looked like an angel.
At peace. In control, maybe for the first time in her short life. Beast Boy allowed himself a small smile on her behalf.
Swallowing, Beast Boy pushed himself unsteadily up off of the floor, placed a foot on Terra's pedestal and stretched up to brush a thumb gently beneath her eye, capturing an imaginary tear. He allowed his hand to linger on her cheek, just for a moment, before pulling away. "I'll be ba-ack, Terra." His voice cracked. "I'll visit more often, I swear. And I'll bring more flowers next time - it must get pretty dull staring at rocks all day."
As Beast Boy recovered the torch from where he left it on the ground and moved to leave, he paused and shot her a last glance over his shoulder.
He smiled gratefully.
"Thanks for listening."
A/N: Constructive criticism appreciated, as always!