Baby Pictures

The Teen TItans were rather surprised one day when a rather large package arrived without any return address. Remembering the last time this had happened, they took all possible precautions to determine the nature of the contents before opening it.

Cyborg did a deep scan of the package. "Hmm...nothing that looks at all suspicious..."

Starfire examined it carefully. "It doesn't appear to be dangerous..."

Robin took swabs and ran tests. "Hmmm...no sign of dangerous chemicals..."

Raven scanned it with her magic. "Residue of a transportation spell...which means it got here magically..."

Beast Boy found the final clue. "Huh. It's addressed to Raven."

Raven came up and read the address. "THat's...that's Arella's handwriting."

"WHo's Arella?" Robin asked.

"My mother," Raven replied.

Carefully, they pried the lid off the box. A sheet covered the contents, and a note rested on top. Raven unfolded the note.

"Raven," the note read, "when you left Azarath, it was in a bit of a hurry. Now that you're all settled, and everything's done with, I thought I'd send along the things you left behind. Love, Mom."

Raven sighed, rubbing her forehead. She wondered what her Mom had sent her. She shifted the cloth aside with everyone watching. Right on top was a pile of books.

"THese...these are my first spellbooks..." She lifted the first one and flipped it open. "I haven't thought about some of these in years." She lifted them out, setting them aside. She chose not to notice the thoughtful glances she recieved as she placed story books along with the spell books.

Starfire glanced into the box. "Friend Raven, what is the green inside the box?" she asked innocently.

Raven's hand suddenly snaked in ahead of Starfire, seized whatever the green thing was and yanked it out, hiding it under her cloak before anyone could see what it was. Without a word, she warped away.

Everyone stared. "Well...that was unexpected..." Robin said finally.

"If it weren't Raven, you'd think she was embarrassed," Cyborg commented. He looked into the box. "Hey, what's this?" Reaching in, he lifted out a book that got revealed when Raven yanked the green thing out. It was labeled simply, "My Angel."

Starfire gasped. "It looks like one of those albums of the Photo I have seen!"

Cyborg smirked. "The handwriting matches the box. Let's see who Arella's 'angel' is, shall we?" Grinning wickedly, he opened the book.

Arriving in her room, Raven floated over to her bed. She brought out what had made her flee her friends presence...a large, green teddy bear. "Grar," she whispered, staring into the bear's white eyes.

Then she tossed it across the room, banged it against the wall, and punt kicked it across the room. Then she picked it up and hugged it tight. "I've missed you," she whispered, not letting herself cry.

Then she felt the emotional energy from the common room. Wicked joy from Cyborg, the sugar rush from Star that meant she was seeing something adorable, a muted but matching energy from RObin...and anger from Beast Boy? Setting Grar down on her pillow - she'd die of emberrassment if anyone knew about him - she returned to the common room.

Just outside the door she heard something that made her blood run cold.

"Aww! Friend Raven was so cute as a bumgorf!" Starfire cried out.

Raven froze. How would they-

"Aww, look at this! She's got a binky!" Cyborg said, laughing wickedly under his voice.

"God, she was adorable," RObin said, a smile in his voice.

"Dudes!" Beast Boy snarled angrily. "That's Raven's private posessions you're going through, without permission I might add!"

"Now come on, BB," Cyborg said. "THis photo album OBVIOUSLY belonged to Arella!"

Photo album? Raven went pale. "No..." She began to whimper under her breath, and she fled back to her room. She'd never be able to face her friends...not after they'd seen her baby pictures.

In the common room, Beast Boy had it. Walking over, he snatched the book out of Cyborg's hands, slamming it shut. "Dude!" Cyborg cried out. "What gives?"

"You have no respect! How would you feel if it were your baby pictures we were gauking at without considering your feelings?" He turned on RObin. "Or yours!"

The boys hung their heads, shamefacedly. Starfire was confused. "But...we did not mean to hurt her feelings..."

"Well, you did. I heard her outside the door run away." Beast Boy turned around. "I'm going to go try to talk to her."

Beast Boy walked over to Raven's door and knocked. "GO away!" Raven called from inside.

Beast Boy sighed. "I thought you might want this," he said, holding up the photo album.

"I suppose you all had great fun looking at my baby pictures!" she snapped.

"I didn't look. Sharing that should be up to you. Sorry about the others."

Inside, Raven paused. She could feel Beast Boy's sincerity. She got up and opened the door.

Beast Boy handed her the album. "Here you go." He glanced downward. "I take it that's what sent you warping before?" he asked, pointing to the bear she was still holding.

Raven couldn't hide her blush. She looked down, clutching Grar tight.

Beast Boy smiled. "It's nothing to be embarrassed about. With the burden you grew up with, there had to be SOMETHING to give you comfort. So, what's his name?"

"...Grar..."

"You mean like a bear's roar? That's cute, but why would you be so embarrased about it?"

Blushing, she opened the album and showed him the pictures of herself with the bear...tossing it across the room, banging it against walls, and punching it. There was a note under these pictures from Arella. "I still remember what you said when I asked you why you would be so rough with your favorite toy. 'It just feels right.' I hope someone can make sense of that someday. And of this one -"

Following the arrow and turning the page, Beast Boy saw little Raven, obviously thinking she was alone, cuddling the bear tight while glaring at it.

Finally, Beast Boy figured out what had her so embarressed, and grinned. Smiling at her, he turned into a bear cub, and held his arms up to her, as though asking to be cuddled.

Putting Grar back on the bed, Raven looked down at Beast Boy for a time...and smirked.

Everyone in the common room was surprised when Beast Boy - still in the form of the bear cub - came blasting through the doors and rolled to a halt, not moving. Raven came in, bent down, picked up Beast Boy...and hugged him. "Stupid bear," she mumbled, and carried him back out.

Cyborg immediately put down his meat sandwhich. "I thought this meat looked old," he muttered.

Robin and Starfire followed his example. "Let's go get pizza," Robin said.