I shuffled into the dark kitchen completely exhausted. I had been trying to sleep for hours but my mind wouldn't allow it. It had been like this for the last week- ever since Beast Boy came back.
I put water on the stove to boil and picked out my most soothing tea from the cupboard. Within a few days of Beast Boy's return everything seemed to be back to the way it was, they were once again the crime fighting five and everyone was reveling in togetherness, glad that things had gone back to "normal." I didn't see how they could do it. Going back to being "normal" was impossible. We were all different people then we were a year and a half ago- I was different. More than anything Beast Boy was different.
I took the water off the heat as it began to boil only to realize I'd forgotten a mug. Sighing I opened the cabinet to my left, my mugs sat in a pristine row on the top self completely out of my reach. I let out a frustrated sigh; making a cup of tea shouldn't be this difficult. Just then, a hand reached up and grabbed my favorite mug, setting it gently on the counter. Beast Boy let out a dazzling white smile that beamed out from where he stood half concealed in darkness. "Geez Rea, would it really be that hard to use your powers to get a cup?"
The truth was it hadn't occurred to me. I was so preoccupied with sleeplessness, Beast Boy himself, and frustration that the tea cups were on the top self in the first place, it hadn't come to mind. So, in compensation for my lack of insight I did what I did best, I glared. "Well, thank God you were here to save the day," I added dryly.
"Don't thank God, thank my new found altitude." Beast Boy smiled and leaned against the counter. It was true; he had gotten a lot taller, just one of the many physical aspects I had to get used to along with his deeper voice and sharper jaw. And with his bare arms crossed over his now broad chest in such a way that it effortlessly and clearly showed off their defined muscularity, it was obvious I would have to get used to the no longer scrawny Beast Boy as well.
I poured the hot water into my mug and added the teabag. I leaned against the counter next to Beast Boy quietly bobbing my teabag up and down in the water. "Why won't you talk to me?" The question harshly cut threw the dark silence startling me out of my quiet reserve.
"What do you mean?" I asked unsure where Beast Boy was going with this, and half terrified at where it might end up.
"I mean, ever since I came back you've barley spared me a glance- let alone taken time to have a conversation with me." He sounded exasperated and a little hurt but he hit too close to home for me to exert sympathy.
"Well, forgive me for not putting my life on hold to march in the 'Welcome Home Beast Boy! Parade.'"
I expected him to be angry, to clench his fists and yell out like he used to when he got mad. Instead softly from next to me came, "Didn't you miss me Rea?"
"Of course I missed you Beast Boy," I sighed. "But how can you expect me to continue right where we left off?"
"I don't expect to pick up right were we left off, but I didn't think I'd have to start from square one."
Before Beast Boy left were truly the best times I'd had as a Titan. Beast Boy and I had never gotten along fantastically, but just before he left we had developed the basics of a sufficient friendship. I used have fleeting curiosities of how our friendship might have grown and progressed, but I stopped playing the "what if" game a long time ago.
I knew that he angry with me and honestly I was a little angry with myself too. I was angry with myself because I couldn't easily adjust to change, because it was so hard for me to let down my guard, and because it felt like I could never think of the right thing to say. "Well, I'm sorry!" I spat back. "Is that what you want to hear? Do you want me to lie and say everything's just the same as before?"
"You act like everything's changing around you! You might not see it Rae, but you've changed too…more than anyone." We stood in silence; my tea now forgotten lay untouched behind me on the counter. "Do you think it's easy for me?" he said softly from the dark. "Because it's not. I was terrified to come back after being gone for so long. I wanted so much for everything to be just as I remembered, but I knew that wasn't going to happen."
I was torn between wanting to comfort him and staying mad. Staying mad would have been easier; anger is an uncomplicated emotion. Instead I tentatively reached out and touched his hand with my fingers, just to let him know I was still there and listening.
"It's funny," Beast Boy half chuckled from beside me, "when I walked through the door I didn't see you-"
"I'm not that hard to miss Beast Boy."
"No, I mean I saw you, I just didn't see the girl I thought I would see. I had this picture of you in my head, and when I saw you…"
"Yes?" I prompted, half terrified of what he was going to say.
I felt his eyes on me and I reluctantly looked up to meet them. In that moment it seemed like he could see right through me, passed every single one of my carefully constructed walls I had so attentively assembled to keep everyone out. "You looked so beautiful it took my breath away."
For a moment, time seemed to freeze, I couldn't think, and I became all too aware of my hand on his. I went to pull it away but he held on. I knew he was waiting for me to say something- anything and I could tell by how tense his grip was that he was half expecting for me to blast him through the wall.
Another few seconds passed and still I said nothing, not trusting my mouth to say the right thing. Beast Boy slowly let go of my hand and turned to go. I felt his dejection and regret as he slowly walked away, and I knew he wasn't going to look back. "Beast Boy!" I blurted into the darkness, "Please, I don't want you to go. Not again."
I could see him fighting with himself, torn between leaving and turning back. He sighed and turned around running a hand through his hair, a habit he still had for whenever he was worried or anxious. "Look, I'm sorry. Just pretend I didn't say anything and we can put this whole thing-"
"Do you really think I'm beautiful, Beast Boy?"
Beast Boy's mouth quirked into a grin and his eyes went soft. He came closer until he was directly in front of me. I was sandwiched between him and the counter, and in all my life I had never felt more vulnerable than I did in that moment. "Raven," the way he said my name was like a mixture between a sigh and a smile, "I've always thought you were beautiful."
He stared down at me and this time I wasn't hesitant about meeting his gaze. He leaned in closer until I couldn't see his eyes clearly anymore. All I could see was jade. My eyes closed and I felt his warm breath on my lips and in that moment I was aware of nothing but our closeness.
I'm not sure who closed the final distance, but the next instant Beast Boy's lips were on mine. It was the merest brush of lips, but my body felt as if it was on fire. Slowly, our slight kiss evolved and I couldn't breath. His hands were everywhere his mouth was everywhere and somewhere in the mist of it all my hands wound into his hair anchoring him to me. I felt myself lifted onto the counter and I heard my mug explode from behind.
Beast Boy's mouth moved to my collarbone and deliberately layered on hot, open mouthed kisses. His hands trailed up my thighs and to my waist, then slowly one hand moved to my breast. I let out a combination gasp and sigh. Need and desire were culminating in the pit of my stomach and I grasped on tighter on the boy I thought I knew in front of me. All the while my hands explored downwards over his strong arms and chest. More tentatively I continued to his stomach. The soft cotton of his shirt flowed across my fingers in sharp contrast to the defined muscle I felt underneath.
Then, with a sharp intake of breath, Beast Boy jumped from my touch. All at once reality came crashing down. This was wrong, and now I had hurt him. Before I could mutter apologies and excuses for whatever it was I had done, Beast Boy took my hands in his and smiled. "That tickled."
"You idiot, I thought I had hurt you." The scold in my voice wasn't nearly as evident as I would have liked, but honestly I was more relieved than angry. "I didn't know you were ticklish."
Beast Boy leaned in and gave me a long sweet kiss. "You learn something new every day."
"I suppose you do."
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