"Who wants the last slice of pizza?"
The four Titans turned their gaze to the Tin Man. They had just returned from a routine mission, arresting Control Freak after he entered a 3D showing of some third rate monster movie and used his super charged clicker to bring the flick's denizens of doom to life, sending the moviegoers present into a panicked frenzy. It was Raven who terrified the villainous couch potato into surrendering; using the same hydra like transformation she once used on Gizmo, years before, to coerce him into removing a computer virus from Cyborg's body.
"What kind is it?" The changeling asked as he shoved a slice of vegetarian pizza into his mouth.
"Pepperoni". Cyborg replied with a grin.
"Ewww! Gross!" The changeling moaned.
"You don't know what you're missing, grass stain. Nothing beats meat." Cyborg turned to Starfire. "How about you, Star?"
The Tamaranian put down a family sized container of French's yellow mustard, which had a straw inserted into it.
"I am satisfied, but thank you for offering, friend Cyborg."
"Ok, how about you, Raven?"
"Thanks, but no. Pepperoni gives me gas."
Beast Boy arced an eyebrow.
"It gives you what, Raven? I've never heard you fart … or burp."
"That's because I stopped eating pizza with spicy toppings."
"So what do you eat?" He asked.
Raven looked up from the book she was reading.
"I've been eating your vegetarian pizza."
Beast Boy's eyes became star studded and a deliriously happy grin appeared on his face. He wrapped an arm around Raven's shoulder and drew her close to him.
"That's my girl!"
Predictably, the demoness glared at him.
"First of all, I'm not your girl. Secondly: If you wish to keep that arm, you'd better remove it from my shoulder right now."
With the sudden fear evident in his eyes, he quickly retracted his arm, laughing nervously. Raven closed her book and stood up.
"I'll be in my room, meditating. Unless it's an emergency I don't want to be disturbed for the rest of the afternoon."
Without saying another word she disappeared through the sliding doors and was gone. The changeling frowned towards the door.
"Who peed in her Cheerios?" He grumbled, arms crossed over his chest.
"Raven … is still complicated." Starfire replied.
"Just be glad she didn't clown slap you for touching her." Cyborg added.
The changeling continued to fume as he shrunk into his chair.
"Just you wait, I'm gonna get her to smile, you'll see."
"Aw, just give it up B. The only way you're ever gonna get Raven to smile is to slip on a banana peel and fall on your butt!" Cyborg snickered.
"Says you, chrome dome!"
-( scene break )-
Raven reached her room, and phased through the door, not bothering with the palm reader that would open it. She glided through her room, which looked the way it always did. The massive case, creaking with strange and ancient books written in mysterious languages was fuller than ever. The bed with the hood shaped headboard was still there and the room remained full of candles, which lit as Raven gestured her hand, as well as the usual collection of macabre looking artifacts. The chest where she kept Malchior's book was there as well. The room was just the way it always was, except for one small difference.
There was a laptop computer on her desk.
Raven as a rule kept electronic devices, except for her communicator, out of her room. She wasn't a technophobe, not by any stretch of the imagination. She was perfectly comfortable with computers, but until just 6 months before you would not find a non required gadget in her room. She once said that tech and magic were at odds with each other and should be kept apart. No one was more surprised than Cyborg when she asked him to procure a laptop computer for her. He of course purchased a top of the line machine, one of those super light models with batteries that seemed to last all day. Raven had quietly thanked him for procuring it for her, but did not volunteer what she intended to use it for.
She glided over to her desk, landing on her chair as softly as a snowflake. She flipped open the laptop and powered it up. As soon as it booted she logged in, typing in the password that would keep prying and nosy eyes (yes, she means you, Beast Boy) out of her private files, one of which she opened with a word processor and she began to type.
The chain of events that resulted in a PC moving into her room had all begun three years earlier, when Robin, with the team's approval, licensed their personas to the Jump City Comic Book Company for use in a new line of Teen Titans comics. The reason behind the move was to raise money for covering the ever increasing costs of running the ubiquitous tower in the middle of the bay. The comics proved to be a huge hit, selling worldwide, exceeding the publisher's most optimistic estimates. Soon, an animated TV show followed. Raven and Starfire were dissatisfied with how they were portrayed in the comics. Starfire was drawn in a voluptuous style, wearing an unbelievably skimpy outfit that left little to the imagination. And her hair, it was very different in the TV show: it was huge and wild. And her eyes? Solid green and creepy!
Raven's character was also way off. Her hair was dark and her complexion was Caucasian in the show. The only things they got right was the color of her eyes and her voice, she had to give Tara Strong credit for getting her voice right. Everything else was wrong. She was portrayed as tall; she wore either a long dress with revealing slits or a skin tight unitard that left nothing to the imagination. But the most unsettling thing about the show, at least for her, was that she was portrayed to be in a romantic relationship with Beast Boy. The ribbings she endured from Cyborg almost drove her over the edge. Mercifully he quickly bored of teasing her, and the taunts came to an end.
If that had been all there would be no laptop in her room, but no, just like in the commercials for the Ginsu knives, there was more.
One day, while she was watching the news on TV by herself, there was a "human interest" story. It was about two women who wrote fan fiction stories. Their real names were not revealed and they were referred to simply by their pen names: Star of Airdrie and Kryalla Orchid.
The concept of fan fiction was entirely new and foreign to Raven, and the news story caught her attention. The reporter explained the concept of fan fiction to the audience before introducing the two writers, whose faces were shrouded to preserve their anonymity. What did catch Raven completely by surprise was that these two women wrote stories about … the Teen Titans. And not only that, they were "shippers", in their case fans of Robin and Starfire as a couple.
"Disturbing … truly disturbing." She mumbled to her herself as she continued to watch.
Raven learned that there were all kinds of shippers out in cyberspace. To her horror she learned that some paired her up with Robin, Cyborg, Kid Flash, Red-X (they had to be joking, right?), Jericho (Kole would murder her if she even tried) and … Beast Boy. To her dismay Raven learned that not far behind in popularity from what was known as "RobStar" was the pairing called "BBRae".
That was when Raven decided to take matters into her own hands and asked Cyborg for the laptop computer. As soon as she received it she began to explore the fan fiction website in the privacy of her room. She was amazed to learn that there were over 30,000 stories about the Teen Titans on the website and started with the newest stories.
She found that most of the stories were written by youngsters and had common themes: high school, song fics, etc. She focused on the ones that narrated romantic stories between her and the changeling and left caustic reviews, telling the writers that they had no clue about what they were writing. They of course ignored her. Raven continued to explore and wound up in the dreaded 'M' section, where she was introduced to the 'Lemon'. Reading sex stories about her and Beast Boy, written by complete strangers was infuriating, to say the least. Her anonymous flames continued.
But if there was one thing that annoyed Raven was that most of the stories were poorly written, she just couldn't tolerate it. There were a handful of talented writers. Some were BBRae shippers, like Sir Alwick and Blue Titan. Some were just weirdos, like the writer with a pen name that was more apt for Clash of the Planets. Where the hell did he come off, calling them the "Chromatically Challenged Couple™", did he actually think that was funny or something?
Raven's flames eventually zeroed in on the writer who coined the insulting sobriquet for her and Beast Boy. Since she reviewed anonymously he would occasionally reply to her flames in his so called "mail bag". This prompted Raven to open her own fan fiction account, "Dark Raven of Azarath", so that he could reply directly to her.
This only made things worse, as the offending author, known to his fans as "Force" proved to be a real douche bag. They would exchange barbs, and the idiot had no idea that he was corresponding with the real Raven, making an ass of himself, claiming to know more about the Titans than she did. Raven also criticized his writing style and his plots, which she insisted were puerile and predictable.
That was when he did it. Something snapped in him, and it made Raven happy to know she pissed him off, royally. His reply, even though it was predictable, as was everything he did, hit a nerve:
"If you think you're so smart, why don't you write a story? We'll see how many fans you have."
The gauntlet had been thrown down, and Raven was determined to make him eat his words.
The sorceress was a genius, and it didn't take her long to eclipse the smug wannabe. Her third story, The Curse of Azarath, drew 2000 reviews. Mr. Force vanished with his tail between his legs, and posted no more stories.
While she savored her victory over the talentless hack, something unexpected happened in the process: Raven discovered that she really enjoyed writing Teen Titan fan fics. Of course none of her teammates knew of this. Not Starfire, nor Robin nor Cyborg. But above all Beast Boy could never learn of Raven's Guilty Pleasure, and for a very good reason.
Raven was now up to 20 Teen Titan stories. And while she wasn't sure how it had happened, it did: She had become a "shipper", a Beast Boy and Raven shipper to be precise.
And it was entirely that damn Force idiot's fault. He was the ultimate BBRae shipper, obsessed with the "Chromatically Challenged Couple™". And to make matters even worse Raven had started to use that term in her own stories, as a sort of war trophy. He never protested her use of the term, even though it had the mock trademark symbol next to it.
The worst part of it all is that she couldn't seem to stop writing romantic stories about herself and Beast Boy. She understood what that implied. She had become obsessed with the changeling, not that she would ever let him know. She was as snide to him as ever, the put downs and insults were sharper than ever. But the stories didn't lie; they revealed how she really felt. She often used Terra in her plots, making the wretched blond look like an idiot every time she depicted herself winning the fair changeling's hand. There were even a few stories where Terra met a violent end, and her fans loved it. And to her chagrin, so did Raven.
To her surprise her stories became racier with each new fanfic. As she sat before the computer she continued typing. She was crossing into new, uncharted territory as this was her first lemon, which technically violated the website's rules, not that she cared.
The irony of what she had been doing for the past six months was not lost on her. She was living vicariously through her stories, living out torrid romances with the changeling; fantasies that she lacked the nerve to attempt in the real world. And here she was, narrating a sexual encounter, a roll in the hay that she dared not have in real life. Who was she kidding? She couldn't bring herself to kiss him if her life depended on it. Lose her virginity with him? Oh Azar, he could never learn about this, if he did …
Her train of thought was interrupted by a knock on her door. She leaped nervously out of her chair, as if she had been caught red handed in some hanky panky with her boyfriend by her father. Of course in her case, her father would probably approve of her indiscretion, but that was beside the point.
She reached out with her empathic senses. Of all people, it had to be him.
"What do want, Beast Boy?"
"Uh … I know you said that you didn't want to be bothered." He replied with a twinge of nervousness in his voice. "But I was gonna go to the bookstore … and uh … do you wanna come with me? We can get some ice cream at that new place; it's on the way …"
He paused, waiting for her reply. He began to sweat drop as he waited for her answer, which appeared to be stillborn.
"I'm sorry I bothered you … I'll leave now." He stammered as he sadly walked away.
"No, wait." She replied through the door.
Raven looked at her laptop screen. The lemon scene, in all its gory and sensual detail, was still there, mocking her, reminding her of her cowardice. Biting her lower lip, she closed the file and dragged it into the trashcan on the computer's desktop, after which she shut the machine down.
It was time to live in the real world.
Beast Boy held his breath as her door slid open. She emerged from her room, and for what seemed like a split second he saw a smile adorn her face.
"Are you buying?" She asked in her monotone.
"You bet!" He replied happily as he grabbed her hand and literally dragged her away from her room as her door slid shut.
"You're gonna love it, Raven, they have 100 flavors, and the bookstore has new issues of our comics too! This is gonna be fun." He cheered as he dragged her into the elevator.
As the doors closed he looked at her sheepishly as he released her hand.
"Uh, sorry … I guess I can get carried away sometimes."
She gave him another micro-smile as she took his hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
"It's OK … let's go have some fun." She replied.
-( scene break )-
I thought of this story while driving home today.