Disclaimer: Young Justice © DC / Warner Bros. - Full disclaimer on my profile.
Summary: A young girl with a tenacious hold on her powers and a secretive air appears from nowhere. Gar is the one to convince her to open up. / Oneshot; during timeskip; ft. Raven; BBRae. Requested on the YJ Anon Meme.
A/N: It was impossible to resist the adorable mental images that this prompt gave me, and I'm a sucker for BBRae in any 'verse. For reference, this is about three years after the end of season one. (This is based on animated Teen Titans Raven rather than comic Raven - she's kind of a mixture of her usual personality, and the younger Rae that we see in "The End" parts 2 and 3.) I don't really think I did the prompt or characters much justice...but hey, I tried.
(I know that in the comics, her powers are mainly empathy, but in Teen Titans she displays some telepathic power - entering Robin's mind; seeing mental images when Terra brushes past her - so that's what I'm going with here.)
Prompt: "Somewhere in the beginning of the time skip, Gar is just beginning to really work on controlling his powers, adjusting to living at the mountain (and grieving his mom) at the same time. Through whatever circumstances filler chooses, he meets a ten or eleven year old Raven, newly run away from Azarth. Her hold on her powers is still pretty shaky, and is just generally intimidated by the world around her, so she's extra shy for fear of blowing something up with her powers. Then they bond, and fluff will be had for all." (anon)
She looked lonely. Garfield Logan wasn't exactly sure why - perhaps it was the stiffness of her shoulders, of her white knuckles as she gripped her knees, of the downward tilt of her head. Perhaps it had been the desperation and vulnerability in her expression merely an hour before.
Tendrils of black energy lash out from the centre of the crater in the road - looping around street lamps before snapping them like twigs; crushing cars; striking shallow wounds across the skin of fleeing civilians before the Team manage to pull them out of harm's way.
A burst of negative light sends Aqualad flying. An unfocused black beam narrowly misses Nightwing and Aquagirl, shaving a few black and red hairs off of their heads.
The attack is chaotic in a way that suggests that it isn't an attack at all.
Gritting his teeth, Beast Boy shifts from a gorilla to a hummingbird - darting in between the black electricity that leapt through the air, he nears the midnight sphere in the crater's centre. As it pulses, the surface flickers between opaque and translucent, and for the first time Beast Boy can see the source of the destructive energy:
A young girl, curled into a fetal position at the base of the crater, crying.
Gar swallowed, peering around the doorway. If she had any expression now, it was difficult to tell, as her navy-blue hood was angled so as to cast a shadow over her pale, heart-shaped face - but her mouth, which was visible, was a neutral line, betraying nothing. She was perched on the very edge of the sofa facing the television, in the living room of Mount Justice, and hadn't spoken a word since arriving.
A small furrow appears between Nightwing's eyebrows; he sifts through information on the holoscreen hovering above his wrist. "I can't find any record of her. 'Course," he adds as an afterthought, "it'd help if we knew her name. When Miss M tried to get a reading of her, apparently all she got was a bad headache."
Kaldur frowns over Nightwing's shoulder. "She appears to be approximately ten years old. Her hair and eye colour are very distinct -" Violet eyes, and chin-length hair of the same shade - of course you'd remember that. "- as is the strange stone in her forehead. Taking into account her loose grasp on her powers, as well..."
"...It's unlikely she'd go unnoticed," Nightwing finishes. "And unlikely that if this has been going on for a while, she's been able to hide it for so long. Meaning that either this is a recent thing for her too..."
"...Or she is not of this world."
"Yeah, well, all of this is just guesswork until we can get her to talk."
Beast Boy cranes his neck to attempt to read the information scrolling past on Nightwing's screen, but at sixteen Nightwing has become taller and more broad-shouldered thanks to numerous miracle growth spurts, so seeing past him is difficult. Beast Boy cannot stop seeing the girl's terrified face, seared into his retina, ghosting across his vision every time that he blinks.
He doesn't even realise that he is speaking until the words have left his mouth.
"I'll talk to her."
He had to eventually. He'd offered, after all.
He took a deep, steadying breath and entered the room; his bare feet padded softly on the floor. The girl didn't look up at the noise, as far as Gar could tell. He stopped a metre away from her, glancing from her to the coffee table and back again, toes scuffing the carpet. "...H-hey."
She lifted her chin slightly. Other than that, her posture did not change. She didn't even appear to respond to that she was facing a green-skinned boy, which was a refreshing and rare occurrence. Gar decided to venture slightly closer. When she didn't respond to that, he hopped up onto the sofa beside her. At this distance, her eyes were slightly more visible - emotionless, lavender orbs. The lack of expressiveness was kind of creepy.
The girl releases a rattling sob, timed perfectly with the whip of dark energy that shoots out and catches Beast Boy's wing.
Okay, maybe he should cut her a break for that. Gar put on a nervous grin that he prayed was friendly. "I'm Beast Boy. B-but, you can call me Gar - Garfield. Or Monkey Boy! That's what Conner calls me, sometimes." She didn't crack a smile. "Do...do you have a name, or...?"
Silence; Gar shifted a little where he sat, before continuing. "I'm eleven. How old are you?" Nothing. "Y'know, if you're eleven too, that'd be kinda cool. I mean, I'm the youngest on the team...not counting Conner, because he's only about four years old, I think, but he looks sixteen so I guess it doesn't really count. M'gann's cool to talk to, but she's like a sister and she's fourty-something in Earth years - she's a Martian, though, so that's, like, eighteen on Mars, I think..."
He was rambling and he knew it, but at least this finally elicited some expression out of the girl - she shot him a withering aside glance, the sort that his mom used to shoot at people who irked her. Gar stemmed the flow of words, then chuckled sheepishly, rubbing his neck. "Uh...sorry. My bad. But, uh, you're...not giving me much to work with...?"
She turned her eyes back to the floor. Released from her scathing eyes, Gar let out the breath he'd been holding.
"I shouldn't be here..."
It took Gar a moment to realise where the new voice was coming from - Gar blinked at her, surprised that she'd deign to speak. The voice was not what he'd been expecting from her. It was slightly raspy, and her tone was subdued, like an adults' (but then, her entire manner was unusually mature). Her words confused him. "What, in the Cave?" This time, his smile came more easily. "Nah, it's cool. Aqualad let you in here, so it must be okay. I guess that it's a little weird if you're new...I mean, I'm not all used to it yet. I only moved in about two months ago, after..."
Gar's voice trailed off, his smile fading. His nails dug into his forearms.
The wheel keeps turning even as the car sinks further into the river, burying Marie Logan's body with it...
His nails drew blood. His eyes glazed over. The girl's eyebrows rose.
If Gar had been paying more attention, he may have noticed the probing presence at the edges of his mind.
His knees buckle. His heart stops. His blood pumps in his ears, muffling all sound, but his eyesight is 20/20 and fixed on the slowly disappearing car bumper.
With a gasp - a drowning man breaking the surface of the water, desperately taking in air - he jerking out of the memory, snapping out his torso ramrod-straight. Beside him, the girl started.
A flash of black in Beast Boy's periphery. In the kitchen sink, two dirty plates shattered.
Gar whirled around at the noise, then looked back at the girl, whose slim, pale hands were covering her mouth in what almost resembled surprise. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and lowered her hands to her lap, expression carefully composed once more. "I apologise."
"Er..." What Aqualad had said about her powers returned to his mind. "The plates? Oh, i-it's nothing, we've got a ton of those. I-I'm kinda new at this too. My powers are kinda weird - I can change shape, but then you probably knew that - and M'gann's still teaching me, so I'm still learning how to use it..."
"I'm sorry about your mother."
Gar blanched, previous train of thought entirely derailed. "How'd you -?"
"It's one of my powers. I can...sense things, to an extent." She pushed back her hood, throwing her face into relief - even paler than he'd first thought, and framed by a short, purple bob haircut. The diamond-shaped stone set into her forehead, just below the hairline, was such a bright red that it almost demanded all of his attention when he looked at her, but the intensity of her eyes now that they weren't in shadow locked his own in place.
Lavender orbs in a heart-shaped face.
She's pretty, Gar thought, unbidden.
Her eyes widened, and a blush tinged her cheeks, and Gar remembered exactly what she'd just told him and scrambled back along the sofa, his emerald-toned face flushing. "I-I'm sorry!" Was this how the Team felt when they first met M'gann?
She abruptly pulled her hood back in place, dipping her head to hide her face. For a few heartbeats, the awkward silence reigned, but then the girl broke it. "Raven."
"That's my name. Raven. I'm ten."
"Raven...?" Gar's voice was tinged with skepticism. Raven turned her head away slightly, making Gar feel instant regret for his tone. "N-Not that there's anything wrong with that! Raven's a great name - it's, uh, really cool! Robin, he's - well, both of them, they're named after birds too. Raven's good!" Another beat. "You can go ahead and call me Monkey Boy now."
Raven made a snorting noise - a chuckle? Encouraged, Gar shifted his already-monkey-like appearance to greater resemble a capuchin (albeit an oddly-coloured capuchin) and began to squeak and jump from foot to foot with his hands bobbing near his armpits, enticing a more distinct, child-like giggle from her.
(The shards of broken plate in the sink disintegrated into powder, but who's noticing?)
When Raven's giggle died down, she swallowed and gingerly extended her hand. "Nice to meet you, Monkey Boy," she deadpanned, but it was somehow warmer than before. Grinning, Beast Boy shook said hand with vigour.
"Great to meet you, Bird Girl."
EDIT: Thank you so much to the reviewers! That you enjoyed this is very uplifting. ^^
And it's so incredibly flattering that you guys want me to continue this. Unfortunately, I'm sorry, but this is going to remain a oneshot for the foreseeable future. That doesn't mean I won't write more BBRae for "Teen Titans", though.