Huntress: Hullo there. I'm back. Terribly sorry for missing update day; I had no time at all. Big history quiz today and I studied like a madwoman last night and this morning.
Speedy: You are a madwoman.
Huntress: You're just mad that I'm holding your diary hostage.
Speedy: It's not a diary! It's, uh… A creative writing journal. Yeah!
Huntress: Weren't you just saying that expressing your thoughts through writing is stupid?
Speedy: … I hate you.
Huntress: I know. Onto the story! This'll be the completer for Of Earth and Sky and the starter for my holiday stories. Let's see if you all hate me by the end of the chapter. Oh, and when the story goes to italics, this is what is going on in Beast Boy's head.
Speedy: Then I won't be alone. Huntress of the Shadows does not own Teen Titans or Christmas. Or whatever Raven and Starfire celebrate. Those respectively belong to DC Comics, Christianity/Azarathean/Tamaranian. She does own her legend of the Sparrow and the Nightingale though.
Huntress: Happy reading!
The Sparrow and the Nightingale
Best Boy faced a dilemma. In his mind it was huge, of epic proportions, something that could black out the sun. In reality, it was more of a nuisance. His issue- or, rather, issues- were Melvin, Timmy and Teether.
The three young heroes had come to Titans Tower for Christmas. This meant that all rooms containing anything sharp, poisonous, flammable or personal had to be locked (Beast Boy had run into his door many, many times because of this). It also meant that Raven had no time for him. And then Teether had also eaten his shoe.
Apparently, Robin had invited the trio of super-powered kids for Christmas (which was three weeks away) without telling anybody. It was supposedly Starfire's idea, but Beast Boy had his suspicions. Raven, though she didn't show it, was overjoyed to see the three who she considered to be her younger siblings again. So, she spent as much time as possible with them.
In the four days Melvin, Timmy and Teether had been in the Tower, cookies had been baked, a tree had been found and decorated, lights had been strung in and outside and the entire place looked as if it had been hit by a red and green whirlwind. And Starfire and Raven didn't even celebrate Christmas!
Never the less, the Tower was thoroughly decorated by the visiting children and an over-enthusiastic Starfire. A Christmas tree sat in the center of the main room, covered in multi-colored lights and a variety of ornaments. Starfire had dragged Raven to the kitchen several times in the attempt to make cookies, most of which ended up burned or in a gelatin-like state. However, the gingersnaps didn't end up half-bad, though Cyborg had helped the pair with those. The main room and halls had been decorated with a multitude of ribbons, garlands and wreaths.
Honestly, the Tower looked fantastic. Beas Boy only wished that Melvin, Timmy and Teether were around Raven a bit less. It had been a week since the Beast had spoken to him about her. He really was trying to tell her how he felt, he just couldn't find the right time to do so.
It was at the end of the fifth day the tiny trio had been with the Titans. Raven, as usual, sat with the three in their designated guest room, putting them to bed. Beast Boy was passing by the room with the hope of getting a chance to talk to Raven when he heard something interesting.
"Will you tell us a story, Raven?" the quiet voice of Melvin piped up. Beast Boy back-pedaled to stand outside the door.
A sigh from Raven. "Sure, Melvin. What do you guys want to hear?" A chair slid across the floor and weight dropped into it.
"A love story!"
"A war story"
Raven gave a short laugh. "I'll tell you one my mother told me. It's called The Sparrow and the Nightingale. Ready?"
There was silence. Beast Boy assumed they were nodding.
"Alright. Once, in a land far, far away from here, there was a forest that was divided by a stream. On one half, the forest was dark and quiet and almost impossible to get out of, unless you knew the hidden pathways. This was called the Nyxian Forest. The other half was bright and cheerful, filled with the sound of chattering birds. This was the Deloran Woods."
Beast Boy found himself being dragged away with the tale, his mind filled with the image of this land, one half bright as day, the other dark as night.
The two separate forests were at war with one another. The Nyxian people viewed the Delorans as barbaric and mindless. The Delorans thought the Nyxians were evil and mysterious .No one could remember when the war started or why it had, only that it existed and it was happening to them.
The leader of the Nyxian people had a daughter. She was a dark beauty, with long black hair and dark, forest green eyes. Her name was Nightingale, after her beautiful singing voice. She was also one of the rare few who could change into an animal of their own will, the animal of her namesake.
There was only one other person in both forests who could transform. He was a young man, the same age as Nightingale, and the eldest child of the Deloran leaders. He could change into a Sparrow, which was his name as well. Sparrow was blonde haired and blue eyed, a common look in the Deloran Woods.
Sparrow had recently reached adulthood and, as an initiation ceremony, was to spend the night in the Nyxian Forest. At twilight, he set out to the border between the forests, which was a wide, deep stream. As soon as the sun had completely vanished below the horizon, he entered the dark forest, keeping one hand on his dagger at all times. His mission was to find a songbird- a bird that belonged on his side of the forest- and bring it back.
Not far into the Nyxian Forest, he heard an eerie, mournful song. This was none other than the song of the nightingale, specifically, Nightingale. Sparrow did not know his however and was determined to find the bird and bring it back to the light. The boy transformed into his bird-self and flew into the air in search of the calling bird.
He soon came across a small, dusky brown bird, a nightingale, and perched upon its branch. The bird was Nightingale, though Sparrow did not know this.
"Why are you singing so sadly?" Sparrow chirped, expecting to know the answer.
Nightingale looked at him, her eyes swimming with sorrow. "My father is dying, my mother is dead," she sang, the melody eerie and enthralling, "I will be alone soon and left to lead, I am too young, I cannot do this on my own. I need someone to help me choose my path."
Sparrow let out a breathy sigh. The songbirds were known to go mad in the dark forest. "Come with me," he twittered, "I'll help you."
The other bird nodded and fluttered to the ground below. Once she hit the Earth, the little bird transformed into her human self. She looked back up at him with a look that said, Still think you can help?
Sparrow was in shock. The only other person able to transform was the next leader of the Nyxians, the person he was supposed to hate. He fluffed out his feathers and flew to the ground as well, landing beside the girl and morphing into his human form.
Nightingale took a step back from him, fear flashing in her eyes. Sparrow was supposed to be her lifetime rival, as all leaders should be. She had heard horror stories of Deloran raiders who had crossed the border to attack the small Nyxian encampments.
Sparrow held up his hands. "I won't hurt you. See? No weapons."
She ignored his words, shifting into a fighting stance that would allow her to flee at a moment's notice. Glaring defiantly, she said firmly, "Get out of my forest."
He chuckled "Why would I do that? It's kind of nice here. Not so many people. And shouldn't the future leader of the Nyxians be a little more, I don't know, aggressive?"
Nightingale's glare intensified and she snarled, "I'll give you one warning, Deloran. Leave now, or I will make you leave. Get out."
Sparrow shifted back, a smirk on his face. "Gale, isn't it? Pretty name, though it doesn't really suit you. I'm Sparrow, by the way."
She bared her teeth. "It's Nightingale," she growled and lunged at him. The heel of her hand slammed hard into his shoulder.
He stumbled back from the force of the bow. "I can't fight a girl," he protested, blue eyes wary, "It's wrong."
"You should have thought of that before coming here," Nightingale retorted, swinging her leg out and sweeping his legs from under him, "Delorans live to fight. You all are barbaric."
Sparrow hit the dirt. "That's not true! You Nyxians are always fighting; we just defend ourselves."
Nightingale stepped back. "We defend our honor, that's it. We don't senselessly kill people for revenge. Now get out before I decide to hurt you more than necessary." She turned and began heading for the shadows of her forest.
Sparrow scrambled to his feet. "Wait, are you just leaving me here? Not taking me across or anything? What if I get lost?"
She stopped and snorted. "It'll be your own fault then. I'll be watching you, if you try to stay. And if you ever come back and I catch you, I will drag you back to my father and he isn't nearly as merciful as me." With that, she faded into the darkness.
However, the neat night Sparrow came back. He sat in the same clearing as the night before and waited. And, sure enough, Nightingale showed up again.
She leaned against an ivy covered tree, her arms crossed over her chest. "Why are you back?" she asked incredulously.
Sparrow shrugged, not turning to face her. "Felt like it. Sit with me?" He patted the earth beside him.
Nightingale hesitated, and then crossed the forest floor to sit beside him. For hours the pair sat, talking and laughing until the sun painted the horizon a golden pink. It was then they said their goodbyes and left.
For many months the two would come to that clearing at night and watch the stars, talking about anything that they could think of. Eventually, they fell in love. One night, Nightingale didn't show up. For a week this happened, until one warm summer night.
Nightingale appeared out of the shadows as she had so many times before, her eyes dark and sad, her shoulders weighed down by an invisible force and her feet dragging. She sat heavily beside Sparrow, took one look at him and began to sob.
After much comforting, she finally told him that her father's illness had taken a turn for the worst and he was now dead. Now she was the sole leader of the Nyxian Forest, something she couldn't do on her own. Her father had planned an attack on the Deloran town and she had to carry it out.
Sparrow was in shock. There was no way innocent people wouldn't be killed. There had to be away to stop the fight, at east so they wouldn't need to fight each other. So that night, the pair planned to run away together.
On the day of the raid, Nightingale decided to be the first scout and to have her second-in-command, Lilianna, lead the Nyxians into battle. Sparrow had hidden supplies in the woods for them that morning and had volunteered to be a scout as well.
The two met at the stream and began making their way out of the forest, away from the place that had always been their home. Behind them, they could hear the roars of battle and knew no one would notice their disappearance for some time.
As the sun began to set, they set up camp deep in the forest and swore to each other that they would never abandon the other.
Beast Boy heard Raven push back her chair and whisper, "Night you three. Sleep well." Sleepy murmurs responded and footsteps headed for the door.
In a panic, he scrambled to his feet and away from the door, out of sight when Raven would open it. He let out a sigh and leaned against the wall, looking up. He suddenly broke into a broad grin.
The door opened. Perfect. "Hey Rae," he called, "Come here a minute!"
She sighed. "Coming, Beast Boy. And don't call me Rae, it's Raven." Footsteps signaled her approach as she turned the corner and he fought to hide his smile. "What?" she demanded, crossing her arms. She was in the perfect pace.
Beast Boy grinned again and pointed up. Before she could protest, he leaned forward and kissed her. It was a sweet, gentle kiss, one that lasted only a moment. When he pulled back, shock flitted across her face. "Mistletoe," Beast Boy whispered.
He was jarred awake by someone prodding his side with their toe. His eyes shot open to find Raven looking down at him with an eyebrow raised. "I… Was asleep?" he asked in surprise, scrambling to his feet and running a hand through his hair, spiking it up.
Raven rolled her eyes. "Evidently so. Go to bed if you're tired." She turned and strode down the hall to her room.
Best Boy groaned and slid down the wall. It was only a dream. Damn.
Huntress: So, hate me yet? I know, I know, I'm a terrible person for that ending. But he'll try twice more if it makes you all feel any better. Onto reviews!
Is-something-still-scaring-you – Thank you very much. I'm trying to come up with new ideas and it's great to know if people think this is any good or not. I hope you enjoyed this chapter too.
.skunk- You really like it? I thought it was kind of clichéd and thought about taking it out at first. It's fantastic that you think so. The Beast… I felt that he was more than just raw instinct and that he should have a part in this. I hope you like this one too!
Nkcandygirl- Thank you! It's nice to be appreciated and I hope you like this chapter too.
Guest- Don't worry, I will. This is too much fun to stop.
Speedy: Okay.. Review, people! We love you all!