I realised today that I've never written anything BBRae in first person. And I theorized that Raven would have an almost poetic mind-set, so it was a challenge to kind of flesh out my own take on what Raven's thought process would be. So, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. This is mostly just a character development piece for me, an exercise for first person BBRae. Uh, so, yeah. Here's to hoping that I haven't failed miserably.

There's an odd pleasure in loving someone who doesn't love you. There's a sick satisfaction in knowing every fiber of somebody's being, but never touching them. To see him smile so easily infuriated me to the point where I couldn't stand the sight of him. I envied everything that he was, but I would change nothing of his character if given the chance. Our circumstances could not have been more different, and the traits that we'd accumulated along the way had surely added up to who we were as individuals. He was the epitome of a golden heart, always willing to sweep his issues under the rug and focus on another's problems to assist them. I was stoic, even cold towards him. I spent so long building up my walls and defenses that I hadn't paused for a second to consider how I would escape from my own prison. I'd never anticipated that I would want a way out.

The realization that I felt so deeply for him annoyed me profusely, but still it gave me a twisted sense of relief, I finally understood why my eyes always managed to find him during battle, why my pulse quickened whenever an attack was headed his way. The acknowledgement of my feelings was shamefully anti-climactic, he'd done nothing more than offer his hand to pull me from the ground, and as we came face to face his eyes held such concern that I wanted to kiss him. I didn't, of course. It wasn't long after my epiphany that I began to suffocate.

With every day that passed I found it harder to breathe. Every coincidental, inconsequential moment we shared made it harder to bear. I was trapped within the fortress that I myself had built, and he knew not enough to aid me in my futile attempt to tear it down. Every word of kindness that left his lips had me snarling in his direction, never meeting his eyes because I hated the hurt I inflicted upon him with my venomous words. But I hated the way he made me feel more still.

He was forever asking if I was 'okay', and I was not lying when I told him I was, because I was at my physical peek, and since the downfall of my father I had no trouble controlling my abilities, so logically speaking I was certainly 'fine'. But, I was constantly stuck in a perpetual limbo between wanting to pour my heart out to him and wanting him as far away from me as humanly possible. The distance proved ineffective though, it did not matter whether he was beside me, or half way around the world, because the words he spoke and the looks he gave me always managed to penetrate my thoughts.

I was clawing at the barriers I had created, screaming with no one to hear me. Alone I dug, smothered and in pain. And he was so infuriatingly oblivious. He had no comprehension of how I felt, of how he made me feel. I wondered so often if he knew the way he acted towards me. Always so patient, so considerate, he never let me down and whenever we argued, he was always the first to apologize, even when the fault was entirely my own. I worried that these actions were fueled by fear of me, and hoped fervently that they were fueled by love.

I had never given him much stock in the intelligence department, and I sometimes felt guilty for how often I threw insults his way, words like 'stupid' or 'fool', that were trivial and mundane, but seemed to hurt him so. I'd always imagined his thought process to consist of clipped, unrelated statements. So, when he came to me one night with such intensity in his gaze that my impassive mask faltered, it was almost like I was gazing at someone else. But I saw the same smolder in his eyes that always drew me in. He came to me with his bottomless irises and his sleeved heart and I knew he wasn't leaving until he'd gotten his answers.

"Rae, look me in the eye, and tell me you don't love me." His voice was so calm, and I wanted so badly to do as he demanded, for fear of his rejection.

I was not in the business of denying the truth; I had never been one to lie to the face of those who I was indebted to. But, I was not willing to admit the reality of the situation just yet. He saw how I fluctuated, and the tiniest of smiles reached his lips.

"Look, I'm not an idiot, okay? You think I don't see the way you are with me? How you've changed? How you can't even look at me when we fight, because you hate it just as much as I do. How you lift your hood whenever I make a joke, 'cause you don't want anyone to see your smile. How you brush off my concern because you're afraid of saying too much. How you blush ever so slightly whenever we touch." And as his voice trailed off, I knew intimately how I'd underestimated him.

A part of me was unexplainably happy that he'd cataloged such minor things. A greater part of me felt cornered by the realization that he'd seen right through me.

"I always thought you were beautiful…like a wild fire, y'know? Untouchable and dangerous." He gave a nervous chuckle and I just stood silent and motionless, overwhelmed by him. "But, I was wrong. And I'm sorry. You're so much more than that. Of course you're beautiful, but you're smart and funny, and capable, and a good listener and these are parts of you that have to be earned, things that you have to work for. Because you're not what's on the surface. And I believe that I must have touched you somehow, for me to be able to know these things. So, I love you. Because you're not a wild fire, you're the mountain beneath it. The beautiful landscape that I will work to conquer." He gave a great, heaving breath after his rushed confession.

His explanation was something that I'd never known I'd needed to hear. And the fact that he'd seen me so completely, and seen a side of myself that I hadn't known that I possessed, made me so unbelievably happy. And the truth that emitted from every syllable of his speech and every infinitesimal flicker in his irises was enough to make tears brim my eyes.

"I love you." I started, and was startled by just how easily those words fell off my tongue, almost unbidden and of a mind of their own. "Gar, I understand that this isn't going to be easy. I'm not naïve; I know that there'll be days when we'll wonder why we're bothering. But, I long for those days. Because I love you, and you knew that before you came here. Because you know me, and that'll always be enough."

He stepped forward, as if testing the waters, before he ever so gently took my face between his hands, and the warmth of them nearly made me shiver. Torturously slowly he leaned in, and enveloped my lips with his own.

When was the last time that somebody touched a part of you, that wasn't your body?