The teen superheroes burst into action. They'd gotten a call saying that the bank was being robbed by a team of six men in with masks and guns, so of course, they'd rushed over immediately. Robin had bust open the door dramatically to find citizens cowering on the floor and the robbers filling their bags with money from a safe. He held up the retractable metal rod he used for fighting and said, "You like playing with money? Well, here's your next card: Go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200." Beast Boy smiled. He'd suggested that line to Robin a few weeks ago. Cyborg just face palmed.
Recovering from the initial shock of their scheme being interrupted by teenagers, the thieves pulled out their guns and began firing them. Beast Boy turned into a rhinoceros and broke through the glass windows with a crash. He charged back in and toward one of the men as the terrified citizens rushed through the door and the hole in the window. He became a snake and twisted himself around the man, who writhed madly but could not escape the crush. Beast Boy became a gorilla and conked the man on the head, knocking him out.
Robin focused on the second man. He dodged the bullets shot at him and whapped him on the back of his head with the metal rod, making sure not to damage his skull. The man dropped like a stone. Robin looked up and noticed the people making a mad dash for the exit and began to help them escape.
Starfire threw a star bolt at another one of the robbers who was trying to escape. It hit the ground right in front of him. He panicked and shot his gun at her. She tossed star bolts at them, making them explode midair. She flew down to him and delivered a kick between his shoulder blades. Out like a light.
Cyborg ran straight for another one of the criminals. He raised his arm and shot a cable from it. The cable wrapped around the man quickly, dropping the man to the floor. He squirmed, but the cable held strong.
Raven quickly put up a black shield around the crowd rushing out, to protect them from stray bullets. She then encased the fifth man in dark energy and slammed him against a wall, partially from anger that the man was robbing a bank, and partially from annoyance at having to cancel her meditation plans to act upon the call. The man was almost immediately knocked out, so Raven drifted him over to the middle of the room, where the other Titans were depositing the unconscious bodies of the thieves.
"Boo yah!" Cyborg shouted, high-fiving Starfire. "All five out in record time!"
As her teammates celebrated around her, Raven paused. "Wait a minute, didn't the call say that there were six-"
Her sentence was cut short as a gunshot rang out. Raven jerked a little, then fell to the floor. On the other side of the room stood a very frightened-looking man with his gun out in front of him, his hands making it shake.
"Raven!" the Titans cried simultaneously. They crouched to their fallen comrade's side.
"I'm fine!" she called, propping herself up on her elbows and rubbing her head where she'd hit it on the ground. "He just grazed my side, nothing major. I'm fine."
"Friend Raven, we must get you to the Tower!" Starfire fretted. "You are hurt!" She tried to grab Raven's hand, but got swatted away.
"I told you, I'm fine! Now, someone grab that last guy before he gets away!"
But as they looked up, they saw something even scarier than an escaped criminal. They saw a gigantic, vicious-looking, green-furred creature staring intently at Raven. It had a rather angry expression in its glowing white eyes.
"Beast Boy?" Robin whispered. It squinted so that its eyes became white slits, as if it was trying to remember who this small person was who was trying to communicate with it. Then its eyes got wide. It swung its head around to face the robber, who was shaking very violently now.
"You…" the creature grunted. "You… hurt Raven. For that… you pay!"
"No!" the man cried. "Please don't-" But it was too late. The thing that was Beast Boy leaped at him, roaring. It was about to land on him, dig its claws into him, when Raven called out, "No!" She conjured a black box around it so that it smashed into one of the walls. It clawed furiously at its prison.
The last robber laid, terrified, under the box. When he noticed his life was not being immediately threatened, he began scooting out and looking desperately for an exit, but Robin was already there, handcuffing him and saying, "Oh, no, you don't. You're heading out with the rest of your buddies."
While Robin did that, the three remaining Titans looked on in shock.
"Was that… him?" Starfire whispered worriedly.
"Yep," Cyborg replied, his eyes still trained on the creature that was angrily pacing its dark prison. "The Beast is back."
Back at the Tower, Beast Boy was waking up. He yawned and scratched his head. He looked around him with half-closed eyes.
"Hmph?" he muttered, confused. "Wha… what's goin' on? Where am I?" He clambered to his feet and realized he was on some sort of short platform. The other Titans were scattered around the room and staring at him with expressions that ranged from teary on Starfire to somewhat worried on Cyborg to completely blank on Robin and Raven. He put up an eyebrow. "What are you guys looking at?" He tried to jump down to join his friends, but slammed unexpectedly into a thick, transparent material he hadn't noticed before. He bounced onto the ground. "Whoa! What was that?" he complained. The Titans continued to stare at him.
In a moment, he came to his senses. "Okay, I'm in a big glass box. Would someone tell me why?"
It was Cyborg who answered. "It was the Beast, man. You freaked out yesterday at the bank."
Beast Boy was shocked. He looked down at his shoes. "The… the Beast? I… I was… crap." His eyes grew wide and he jerked his head back up. "Wait- did I hurt anyone? Did I attack Raven?" His eyes fell on a bandage on Raven's forehead. "Oh, no! I hurt you, didn't I?" He started to back away from the clear wall. "I went crazy and wild and started hurting you and-"
"Beast Boy!" Robin yelled. That made him close his mouth. "It's alright. You didn't hurt anyone."
"The bandage is where I hit my head when I fell down yesterday," Raven said calmly. "It wasn't you- it was the robber with the gun."
Suddenly, Beast Boy had a feral gleam in his eye. "He hurt you? Why, I oughtta go and-" Then he caught himself and covered his face with his hands. "No!" he yelled.
"Do not worry, Beast Boy," Starfire said, putting a hand on the cell wall. "You will be safe inside this containment device. Nothing may enter or exit."
"It's okay, BB," Cyborg declared. "We are going to get you out of there. You're going to be fine." Beast Boy responded by sliding down the back wall of the cell and burying his head between his knees and covering his head with his arms. He didn't say another word. Cyborg stared sadly at his friend for another moment, then sighed and walked out of the room. He was followed wordlessly by Robin and Starfire, then finally Raven.
All throughout the next day, the room was completely empty except for a few chairs and the cell where Beast Boy was contained. He knew that they were watching him, though. A camera surveillance device protruded from the ceiling and was pointed at him. He hadn't moved from his sitting position, but he could hear the occasional beep or whirring noise the camera made when it moved or zoomed in on him. Hours passed as the camera stayed trained on him and he stayed curled up inside himself, fearing the world around him, but mostly the terror within.
That night, Beast Boy was surprised when he heard the swish of the door opening. By the small, light steps, he could tell it was Raven. He heard her walk to one of the chairs and sit down. He risked a quick glance at his visitor.
Raven sat there reading a book. Her bandage had been removed, so there was nothing but a bit of a reddish mark left on her smooth gray skin. Her short-cropped purplish hair kept falling into her face, so she continued to tuck it behind her ear. Her eyes were their usual dark color, near black. Whenever she looked into Beast Boy's eyes, he felt as if she was staring into his soul, boring holes into his mind…
…As she was now. He realized with a start she was looking at him. His 'quick glance' hadn't ended up so quick. He ducked his head down as Raven started speaking.
"Great. The statue's alive." He didn't move and hoped dearly she'd just go away.
A few moments later, he felt something else near him, a sort of presence. He peeked up and found that Raven was no longer in the room. He sighed with relief. He looked to his left and jumped. Raven was sitting a foot or two away from him, inside the cell.
"Aaah!" he cried, leaping to his feet. Raven looked up at his terrified expression nonchalantly. "What're you… Get out of this thing!"
"Why?" Raven asked.
"Why do you think?" Beast Boy nearly yelled, backing away. "I could change into the Beast again and kill you!"
"And why would you do that?"
"I don't know! Why don't you ask the Beast?" He turned and pounded his fists on the clear wall. "Help! Someone get Raven out of here! Anybody!"
Raven eyed the green boy. After a moment or two of Beast Boy's yelling, she quietly stated, "That won't work, you know. Everyone is asleep. If you haven't noticed, it's two o'clock in the morning." When he started waving frantically at the camera, she said, "That won't work, either. I turned it off before I came in."
Beast Boy sat down cross-legged in the corner farthest from her. "Why would you do that? You're insane! What if I turn and you can't get out and nobody knows and-"
"You're not going to do that, so stop freaking out," Raven scolded. She pulled out her book and began to read. They stayed like that for a while, Raven reading and Beast Boy staring astonished at her.
After a few minutes, Beast Boy asked, "Why don't you think I will?"
Raven put down her book. "Well, what would provoke that side of you into manifesting itself?"
Beast Boy stared at the ground. "Um… I guess nothing, so…"
"That's right," Raven snapped. "So stop being so depressive and calm down!" Beast Boy recoiled at her remark and curled up again. She sighed guiltily, got up, walked over to him, and sat down next to him. "Listen, Beast Boy, I didn't mean to snap at you," she whispered. He didn't answer, and she was a bit shocked to see that he was shaking slightly. "Beast Boy? Are you okay?"
He raised his head to face her. Raven saw that he had a single tear running down his otherwise steeled face. "Raven?" he whispered. "Am I a monster?"
Raven was taken aback. "No, you're not! Don't even think that." She paused and, after a second's thought, lifted her arms and put them around Beast Boy. He stiffened, then relaxed and rested his head on her shoulder. After a minute, she gingerly removed her arms.
"Listen," she began, "I, uh, think that we do have one thing in common."
"We do? No way." Beast Boy smiled weakly.
"Yeah. We both have things inside of us- bad things- that we don't want to get out. I have those emotions, those demons-"
"You mean, like Rage?" Raven nodded. "I remember her. She was the creepiest thing I have ever seen, literally. Did you see those eyes?"
"Yes, I did," Raven said, almost smiling. "And you have the Beast. Do you ever feel… like he's talking to you? Trying to get out?"
Beast Boy nodded shyly. "Yeah. He started a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was nothing- just some kind of weird growling thing in my head- but then it started forming words, and then I had no clue what to do. I thought I could drown him out, make him go away, but… that didn't work, obviously."
Raven nodded again. She'd noticed a dramatic elevation of the volume of the music he often played in his room. She'd thought it was extremely annoying, but she'd never imagined it was to keep the Beast out of his thoughts. "That's a pretty normal response, but it would work better if you listened to classical music or something. Loud pop, rock, and metal will often bring out bad feelings."
"Then what do I do?"
"Try meditation." At Beast Boy's confused expression, she clarified. "Sit like I'm doing now- cross your legs, that's it- and try to clear your mind of everything. It may help if you use some sort of focus word."
"So, like your Aye-muzz thing?"
"You know, those words you say all the time. I know they start A, M, Z, so that's how I shorten it."
"Um… sure. Never thought of it that way, but yeah. The Aye-muzz thing. Whatever. You can try using one of those, or it may be easier for you to picture one thing in your mind, something you know very well and can visualize easily, and wipe everything else out."
"I can try that." So Beast Boy crossed his legs, put his palms down on his knees, and closed his eyes. He concentrated on something, then, abruptly, his expression changed. The worry that was before present on his face melted away, leaving a look of serenity in its place.
Raven stared. She'd never seen him so calm. He was always laughing at one of his awful puns or concentrating on a video game or, just recently, cowering in fear of his own inner demon… never this. She couldn't help but think that it looked very strange. She almost wanted the old him back. She looked at him for a few minutes more, then began to meditate herself.
After quite some time had passed, Beast Boy opened his eyes. He turned to Raven, who was meditating beside him. "Guess what?" he said, poking Raven in the side.
"Ah!" Raven cried, opening her eyes and grabbing the spot where he had poked her. "I'm kind of shot here, remember? Just because I've got a bandage on it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt anymore!"
"Sorry!" he squealed. "Forgot about that! Please don't kill me!"
"It's fine," Raven muttered. "It's not going to kill me. What was that you were saying?"
When Beast Boy realized his life was not being immediately threatened by an angered Raven, he said excitedly, "He's gone! The Beast, he just… isn't there anymore!"
"That's great, Beast Boy!" Raven exclaimed. "Remember, you may have to do this again. He came back from the first time, and he may do so again." They sat there for a second before Raven tentatively asked, "Beast Boy?"
"Just out of curiosity, what did you think of when you were meditating? Let me guess- tofu? Video games?" More quietly, she asked, "Terra?"
"Actually," Beast Boy confessed, beginning to blush, "I was thinking of you."
They both sat in silence, not daring to look at each other. They both blushed bright red. Suddenly, a red light started flashing on Raven's T-Com.
"Wow. Is it five already?" Raven asked. Pressing a button on it to make it stop beeping, she explained, "It's the end of my shift. Cyborg's going to take over from here, but he's probably just going to stay in the control room."
Beast Boy nodded, then paused. "Why did you come in here? Instead of staying up in the control room like everyone else?"
Raven shrugged. "You looked lonely." Standing up, she saw him look out the window at the camera hanging from the ceiling. On a random urge, she bent down and kissed Beast Boy's cheek and began walking away quickly.
"Wait!" he called from behind her. She stopped and turned around.
"Beast Boy, I'm sorry, I have no idea why I did that and I apologize if I-"
"No, Raven," he called from across the box. "Thanks for being my friend."
She smiled. "No problem, grass stain." She then spun on her heel and vanished in a burst of dark energy. Beast Boy grinned.
Back up in the control room, Cyborg yawned. He'd stayed up way too late last night watching an old movie. He'd enjoyed it, but it wasn't the same without Beast Boy there to make fun of the outdated special effects with. He frowned and noticed that the camera wasn't on. That's weird, he thought. Did Raven turn it off? He pressed a button to turn it back on. On the surveillance screen, he saw Raven standing next to Beast Boy. He was about to run down there and demand that she get out of there when she did something very surprising: she pecked him lightly on he cheek. Cyborg's mouth was practically hanging open. He watched her walk away, turn around and converse some more with Beast Boy, and vanish. As she did so, she appeared next to him. She began to walk out, saying, "Your shift now. I'm going to go get some sleep."
"Okay then, Miss Smooch-The-Screwball," Cyborg called, sitting down in the chair in front of he screen.
Raven froze mid-step. "What did you just say?"
Cyborg rewound the tape to the startling scene he'd watched a moment ago. He pointed to it and grinned at Raven. "You know what I said, Lover-girl."
Raven's whole appearance changed. She went from tired and annoyed to sweet and smiley. "But, whatever do you mean, Cyborg?" she chirped. Somehow, that freaked Cyborg out.
"That thing, right-" He turned to look at the screen. It was blank. He clicked through the memory to find that the last ten minutes of tape were suddenly gone. He smiled. "You are so sneaky."