To my anon, and anyone else who might feel the same way as they did: It's cool if you hate RobStar!It's totally cool if you hate the direction I hve chosen to take this story. I am not offended that you dislike my otp! I'm sorry for get your hopes up, except not sorry because that was the point. Hopefully you won't hate the end of this too much. I just wanted to experiment with RobRae, and I did, but I found that I still prefer RobStar. So Rob Star'd. Not sorry for that, cause now I know. Thanks for reading and I hope you stuck around to this character!
Last installment! Yay! Enjoy it, guys!
Raven sighed. Her episode with Starfire left her embarrassed and unsure of herself. She was glad that her friend would be there to help her, but she was nervous about it, too. Maybe she shouldn't be taking her cues from overemotional Starfire. Or maybe that would be a good balance. It was a little scary to think about.
So she didn't. She assumed the lotus position, hovering above the cushion and chanting her mantra. Blocking out everything. Everything. Including emotions.
It was never this hard. She'd never felt like it was really hard to block out emotions before. She never even thought it was unfair. She was Trigon's daughter. The spawn of the One True Evil. Conqueror and torturer of infinite dimensions. She didn't deserve to have emotions. It seemed perfectly fair to her.
But now… Now it was hard. It was so unfair. She'd had a taste. And even though it was wrong, and twisted, and she felt guilty about it, it was so sweet while it lasted. She craved it. She needed more. But no… she couldn't think like that. Her unbridled emotions were still causing so much pain around her. How could she really be happy if she left destruction in her wake?
She could only go back to the way things were before. It was the only way. It shouldn't be that hard. She'd learned to smother her emotions and had been doing it expertly for literally her entire life. She couldn't have unlearned all that in two weeks.
Maybe there was a spell. It would probably be dark magic, but she would take that risk. She'd only be using it on herself, anyway.
She flinched. Robin came to talk to her so soon. She didn't turn. Not that she didn't appreciate what Starfire was trying to do, but she was still so embarrassed.
Hang on, that wasn't Robin. "Beast Boy?" She lowered her hood as she turned.
"Yeah," he answered sheepishly. "I wanted to make sure that you were okay."
She sighed and then forced a smile on her face, careful not to make it too wide so that it didn't just look scary. "Of course. I'm fine."
He frowned at her. "I really wish you wouldn't lie to me."
She let out a puff of air as her face slipped back into a neutral expression, like she was straining to keep the smile on her face. "Is it that obvious?"
"No. I just know you," he answered. He moved to sit next to her, but paused before sitting next to her. He raised his eyebrow the tiniest bit, enough to convey that he was asking a question.
She nodded and he sat. She let her legs touch down on the cushion but kept her legs crossed.
"So… Robin and Starfire are back together?" he guessed.
Raven felt a stab of pain in her chest. She nodded.
"Are you upset about that?" Beast Boy asked slowly.
"I'm glad. They deserve each other." She looked down at her hands.
"That's not what I asked," he pointed out softly.
"I don't know how I feel about it. I'm so confused. I honestly feel happy, but there's an undercurrent of sadness. I can't even tell which emotions are mine anymore. It's so difficult…" she shook her head and covered her eyes with her fingers.
Beast Boy didn't say anything. He closed his eyes and sat quietly. After a couple seconds, a warm glow started to fill the emptiness in her chest.
Raven uncovered her eyes and raised an eyebrow at him. "What are you doing?"
"Sorry. Is that okay?" He backed away from her slightly.
"No. I appreciate it." He smiled at her and the feeling in her chest grew. "What are you thinking about?" she asked softly.
"My mom. Rita. Well, she's my adoptive mom, but I just call her my mom. She earned the title. I'm thinking of ice cream and video games and pizza."
Raven narrowed her eyes at him. There was more that he wasn't telling her. "What else?"
"N-nothing. Just that stuff," he answered quickly.
She didn't need empathic powers to know he was lying, but she didn't press the issue. Her powers didn't give her an excuse to pry.
"How can you do that? Just make yourself happy like that? Are memories really enough to trigger it?" she asked, changing the subject.
He gave her a little shrug. "It works for me. I usually find distractions when I'm in a bad mood or whatever. Video games. Get Cy to throw around a Frisbee for me. Eat ice cream with Star. It's different for everybody."
Raven pondered at that. She should try that. What happy memories did she have? The first one she could really remember was Robin accepting her onto their team even though she warned him not to. Or the first time Starfire asked her to 'accompany her to the mall of shopping'. Of course, she'd said no, but it was nice to be wanted. Or when Cyborg told her she was a great listener.
"Anything?" Beast Boy asked, taking her thoughtful silence to mean that she was trying out memories.
"I think so." While she wasn't getting any happier, she was finding it harder to be depressed. She had all her friends around her. Even Robin. If he'd accepted her on his team without knowing anything about her at all, maybe he could extend that same trust again and forgive her this time. Maybe.
"You think so? What's that mean?"
"I feel better. But not… You know, happy. I can't tell. Maybe that's just you being happy that's rubbing off on me." Raven sighed. "It's so difficult to tell the difference between my emotions and other peoples'."
"Maybe you need practice?" Beast Boy suggested.
"How am I supposed to-?"
"We'll help you!" he interrupted with a smile.
"How?" Raven demanded.
"I've got ideas." Beast Boy tapped his head with a smile. "I was actually talking about it with Cyborg last night, and I think if we-"
Raven turned away from him. She sensed him behind her. Beast Boy followed her gaze. Robin was standing at the door, watching them.
"Um, I'll go talk to Star about it and then report back," Beast Boy informed her as he leaped off the couch and slinked past Robin.
"Um… Sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt," Robin mumbled as he scratched at the nape of his neck.
Raven flipped her hood up. "You weren't. We were just talking."
"Yeah. I know. But still. Sorry."
She squeezed her eyes shut. She wished he would come into the room instead of standing in the doorway. It hurt, having him watch her warily. She could feel all kinds of tense emotions rolling off him. Block it, Raven… block it…
She sensed him move further into the room, but he just leaned against the countertop. It seemed as though she would have to begin whatever dialogue they would have. "Robin… I'm really sorry."
He was silent for a moment. Then, "I know."
Ouch. Not 'it's okay' or anything half as reassuring. He was being so formal.
"Is everything… okay between you and Starfre?" Raven asked, wincing as she did it. As much as she wanted things to work out with them, it was so awkward asking.
"I think so. Thanks for asking."
"That's what friends do. I mean… we are still…?" she choked and couldn't finish the sentence.
She heard him take a few steps toward her. He put his hand on the back of the couch a few feet away from her and she forced herself not to turn around to look at him. She remained facing the windows in the lotus position.
"Of course we are." The rigid way he said it wasn't very comforting, but he was trying. "I'm… not mad at you."
That made her turn. She scrutinized him. He looked so nervous talking to her now. "Then what are you feeling?"
He rolled the fabric of the couch between his fingers. "Can't you tell?"
She swallowed and shook her head. "I'm having a hard time separating other peoples' feelings from my own. I can't tell what's yours and what's mine… I don't sense a great deal of anger though."
He pushed his fingers through his hair. "I'm confused. About us. Not… I mean, Raven, I love Starfire. I'm confused about…"
"I broke your trust," she murmured weakly.
"Well… yeah. I know it wasn't on purpose. I know it's difficult for you. But I feel… victimized." He looked at her helplessly.
That hurt a lot. Her stomach sank and she felt weak. The only thing that offered her any condolence at all was the amount of guilt she could feel from him. "I'm sorry," she choked. It was all she could say.
"I don't want to feel this way. I trust you in battle. I know you're on my side. I know we can be a team out there." He gestured toward the city beyond their island. "But I don't know about… now. I really don't want you messing around in my head."
"I'm not in your head," she defended herself. "It's not mind control or hypnotizing. It's feeling."
Robin stayed quiet. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, he said, "Maybe that's worse. It's like being drugged…"
Tears pricked at her eyes. "I just need to learn to control it…"
"I really don't want you to use your powers on my again," he said sternly.
Raven closed her eyes. She could understand that. "What about healing?"
"I'd rather do it on my own. Maybe in extreme cases. Never emotional healing. Never." As he continued, his voice became weaker. Like he was afraid.
A tear leaked down one cheek. He was afraid of her. How ironic that only after her father's demonic presence had been removed he saw her as a threat! That really twisted the knife.
"No… Raven, don't…" He ran a hand through his hair again and hopped over the back of the couch. He put his hand on her shoulder. "Don't cry."
She wanted him to hold her. She hated herself for it. But she wanted it.
"We just need to work past this. You're a valued member of my team. And…" His voice got softer and he curled his fingers around her shoulder in a supportive squeeze. "… and I want to recover our friendship. It'll take time but… I think it'll come naturally. We just can't push it. Okay? Please don't…"
She looked up at him. Her eyes were still brimming with tears, but she made herself look at him. "I'm glad that you're being honest with me. I need to know what you're thinking. It just… hurts. Which is probably what I deserve anyway."
"It wasn't your fault," Robin reminded her.
"I… I know." She offered him a watery smile. "I'll practice. I just need to stop mixing up my own emotions with the emotions of everyone around me. I need a filter…"
Robin nodded, obviously not knowing what to say.
"I'm sorry," she said again.
He removed his hand from her shoulder. "I… I accept your apology. Raven, I don't want to say 'it's okay' if I don't mean it. It's not right. I know that it was a mistake. But it really created a lot of problems. I'm just hoping you can learn from this. Maybe now you know what it feels like when you use your powers so forcefully." He was lecturing her, but he was trying to do it in a soft voice.
"You're right." She turned away from him, not wanting be near him anymore. They both said what they needed to. Now some space was in order.
He got the hint pretty quickly. "Okay. Come find me if… if you need to talk about it." It was a sweet offer, but he was just about the last person she wanted to talk to anymore. And she didn't really think he was too anxious to speak to her again. "And Raven… I'm really not. Mad at you, I mean."
She nodded and waited until the door opened and closed. It took about a full minute. He was reluctant to leave her there on her own, but she really didn't want to talk to him anymore.
When she was sure he was gone, she let herself flop onto the cushions on her stomach and cried. It felt so good to cry. She'd never been able to just cry. This was the first time. It was such an indulgence. Letting everything out like that was so rewarding.
She jumped when she felt a hand on her back. She jerked up, leaning on a straightened arm, bracing herself on her palm. It was Beast Boy. He looked so worried. She pushed herself into a sitting position and rested her head against his shoulder, still crying.
Surprised, it took him a minute to put his arm over her shoulders and pat her hand with his. It was a little awkward, but it was what she wanted. Needed. Desperately needed.
"It's okay," Beast Boy murmured softly. He brushed her hair away from her face and Raven burrowed into his touch. She pushed away suddenly, more tears brimming in her eyes.
"No… Beast Boy… I can't…" she hiccupped.
"What's the matter? Did I do something stupid? I'm sorry," he blurted.
"No… it's not you… I can't control powers. I'm forcing you to do this. I don't want to make you do anything…" She hiccupped again. She hated herself.
"Hey. No. Rae. It's not you." He turned her with his fingers splayed across her cheek. "It's not you doing this."
"How do you know?" she demanded.
He let out a puff of air. "Because. You didn't get those powers until after the whole Trigon thing, right?"
She nodded, brushed away her tears with the back of her hand.
He blushed. "Then it's not you. All me. Sorry."
She hiccupped, gaining control over herself. "What do you mean?"
He turned an even deeper shade of red, which made an interesting color against his green skin. "Um… I've kinda wanted to do that for a while." He cringed. "Please don't hit me."
Raven stared at him. "Don't lie."
"I'm not! I swear! Scout's honor!" He held up two fingers pressed together and out his right hand over his heart.
She raised a skeptical eyebrow at him. "Idiot. You have to be a scout for that to work."
He grinned at her. "Really? Nothing makes you feel better except calling me an idiot?"
She wrapped her arms around his chest. "I'm sorry." He didn't put his arms around her back. She didn't know if it was because he was shy or because it was too much, too fast. Either way, she didn't really mind. After Robin's easy acceptance of whatever she wanted, she kind of felt reassured by Beast Boy's hesitancy.
"Huh? No. It's okay. Really. I don't mind it." He patted her head, slightly confused.
"No. I mean… I'm sorry I never noticed."
"Heh. No biggie. So. Um. What now?" he asked, running a hand over his hair at the back.
Raven blushed. "What do you mean?"
"Uh… well… like, I like you… and you know it now… so… like, isn't something supposed to happen now?"
She sat up. "I guess so. But… I need a little time." She bit her lip unsurely. Was that unfair of her? Letting Robin sleep in her room right away but keeping Beast Boy at a distance?
"Yeah. I thought you might. No problem. Um… do you want me to leave?"
"No." Raven rested her head on his shoulder again. "Sit with me. Please."
"Okay," he said, putting his arm around her shoulders again.
The Titans were all sitting in a circle in Raven's room in the lotus position. Raven, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Robin, and Starfire were joining hands. They'd only done this a few times before, and this was the first time Robin joined them. It took a bit of persuading from Beast Boy, but he agreed eventually.
"Are you sure you are prepared for such an exercise?" Starfire asked, her eyebrows slightly furrowed with worry.
"Um… I think so. I won't know until we've tried, though," Raven answered. She was trying not to be annoyed. That was, like, the tenth time Starfire asked her that.
"You'll do great," Beast Boy said supportively, squeezing her hand a little. His squeeze sent tingles through her fingers. She looked at him gratefully.
"Okay," Raven said as she breathed out. She wished she was floating, but that made holding her friends' hands awkward. "Go."
It hit her all at once. All of their emotions. She'd done this exercise with two of them before, but not with all of them. She was supposed to pick out the emotion they were feeling and decipher who was feeling which emotion.
It was a large bungle of emotions, knotted together the way headphones always seemed to be when she haphazardly shoved them into her cloak pocket. Not to mention, they were a little fuzzy, hard to pick out. If she could just get a solid grasp on what they all were, it would be easy to decipher.
A warm glow. That was Starfire. Her feelings were easy to pick out, because her unhappy feelings filled Raven with a pleasant warmth.
"Starfire's feeling hopeful," Raven announced with a smile. She couldn't help it. Starfire's feelings had a strong effect on her. It was too bad that Raven couldn't help Starfire quell her sadness when she felt it. It was hard on Raven, being able to feel it so prominently but not being able to help.
Once she picked that out, the other feelings drifted into focus a little, like adjusting the knob on a microscope. "Um…"
"You can do it, Raven!" Starfire urged.
She focused. One at a time. Slowly. "Really, Robin? Determination? Give me something tricky, why don't you?" She teased.
Robin frowned and slouched a little sulkily. "I didn't want to be too hard on you…" he mumbled in his own defense.
Raven smiled a little at him.
Things between them had been a little weird, but they'd gotten progressively better. Starfire really helped a lot. She'd made Robin check up on Raven every once in a while in the first two weeks after their… episode… and lately he'd been opening up to her again. Little conversations in the hall as he passed her. Raven thought that he was glad she was practicing with her new powers so much instead of staying holed up in her room. He was still a little wary around her, but Raven felt like they might actually be able to go back to what they had before instead of feeling like she'd lost a valued friendship.
That left Cyborg and Beast Boy. "Cyborg… you're feeling… um… smug?"
She wasn't sure. It was coming very strongly, but sometimes it could be hard for her friends to pick a single emotion to feel harder than the others. Besides, when they channeled their emotions a little weaker, it was better practice. She was feeling rather proud of herself for picking that up. She'd come a long way in the five weeks since she got her new powers.
"Heh. Was I? I was going for 'accomplished'. Or something. Robin bet me I couldn't fix the axel on the R-Cycle without buying new parts just because he couldn't figure it out." Cyborg smiled at Robin out of the corner of his eye. "Like I couldn't fix it." Cyborg chuckled and shook his head.
"Jeez. Everybody's ganging up on me today," Robin muttered sulkily.
Unwilling to drop her hands from the circle, Starfire scooted a little closer to him and rubbed the crown or her head against his cheek. "It is okay. They are making the jokes with you," she soothed.
Robin leaned into her and kissed the top of her head affectionately.
"'Ey! Cut it out, you two! You're gonna mess up the exercise!" Cyborg snapped, although he had a smile on his face.
Starfire giggled and sat up properly.
"What about B?" Cyborg asked eagerly.
Raven concentrated. It wasn't that she was having trouble reading Beast Boy's emotions, it was just that she'd been setting up a block to him. Since they started their relationship, she didn't want to have any sway over his emotions, so she'd set up a block. Pulling it down whenever she wanted could be a little tough.
"Beast Boy's feeling…" she smiled widely.
"What?" Starfire asked.
He was feeling love. For her. She could even see it in his expression, how his eyes got soft and somewhat large, but focused right on her. She wasn't going to say that out loud though. She couldn't speak at the moment, anyway. She was too drawn in by the feelings he had. Little tingles fluttered in her chest every time she breathed and she ached with the desire to be close to him.
"Okay, exercise is done," she announced, plucking her hands away from Starfire and Beast Boy's.
"What?" Starfire asked, concerned. "But you didn't finish-"
"It's okay," Raven interrupted with a wave of her hand in Starfire's direction, fixing her eyes on Beast Boy.
Robin raised an eyebrow at her. "Um… c'mon, Star." He stood and tugged her up after him.
"Oh, but is everything okay? Have your powers given you the aching head? Is it too difficult to read four emotions at once?" she fretted nervously.
"Star, let's go," he urged.
She stood tentatively. "But why?"
Robin ran a hand through his hair. "Because… Because… Because everyone was picking on me and I could use some cheering up."
She glanced at Raven nervously before turning her attention back to him. "Very well. I shall recite to you the Tamaranean Poem of Good Cheer. It has four hundred eighty-six stanzas, although reciting them in English, I think the word count will come close to six hundred thousand."
"Uh, wait, that's not what I-"
"Come, as soon as we finish I wish to come check on Raven to be sure that she is faring well," she said in a businesslike tone, and Robin groaned as she dragged him out of Raven's room behind her.
Cyborg chuckled, looking after them. "You better thank him for that later, guys," he said clambering to his feet. "Keep it PG rated," he said over his shoulder.
"No promises," Beast Boy called after him with a sly smirk at Raven as he leaned over to shut the door.
Raven blushed and whacked him gently across the back of the head. "I wish you wouldn't say things like that," she scolded.
"What, you want to keep it PG rated? Really? I mean, whatever you want, Rae, but you're the one who's gonna hafta resist my charms." He waggled his eyebrows at her.
She sighed and grabbed him by the collar. "You'd better shut up while I still want to kiss you," she grumbled.
Beast Boy flashed her a smile. "Shutting up now." He pressed his lips against hers gently.
Well. This chapter was very hard to crank out. I think because it's all resolution and not much conflict. How was my BBRae? I'm trying to practice it more. The only problem I have with it is that whenever I try it, I make Raven out of character. I hate it when my characters are out of character. How do you guys think I did on that? If it was out of character, I hope you will bear with me. I really wanted to go into Beast Boy's point of view. Because poor Beast Boy. Raven made Robin like her instead of realizing that Beast Boy liked her all the time. But I stayed in Raven's for consistency. I don't think I'm going to write a spinoff on his point of view, because I kind of ran out of steam for this idea. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Thanks for reading, guys! I appreciate your support and reviews and faves and alerts and other things that I might be missing. You guys rock.
(Also, I know I cheated with last chapter's teaser. I do that sometimes. You silly, trusting readers.)