Raven awoke in her bed in Titans Tower. She rolled over to look at the small clock perched on her nightstand. It read 1:32 AM. She propped herself up on her elbows and looked around the room to find the reason she was awake and not sleeping as usual. She saw nothing out of the ordinary and was about to fall back into her bed when her stomach rumbled loudly.
Yes, that would be it, she thought to herself. Beast Boy was being obnoxious all day yesterday, prompting me to stay in my room to avoid him. I suppose I forgot to eat as well.
Raven wrapped herself in a cloak and padded slowly out of her room. Half-awake, she entered the main room. She tiptoed toward the refrigerator and opened it. She saw nothing to her interest, so she figured a cup of tea and a slice of toast would do. She quietly fixed herself her early-morning snack and was just about to sit down to eat when she heard a snore coming from one of the couches. Surprised, she nearly dropped the slice of toast, but she caught it with her black powers before it hit the ground. She set it back on the plate and cautiously tiptoed toward the source of the noise.
Well, surprise, surprise, she thought blandly. Beast Boy snoring away. The green boy was sprawled out on the sofa. A plate with a half-eaten tofu sandwich on top sat on the floor net to him. He looked so… peaceful. Not a care in the world. Probably dreaming about food and video games, Raven thought. Then she frowned. Now that I think about it, I actually want to know what he's dreaming about.
She held out a hand and, careful not to wake him, placed it on his forehead. She closed her eyes and whispered her words of power. "Azarath… metrion… zinthos."
Suddenly, she was blinded by a great light. She squinted until her eyes adjusted, then realized she was somewhere outside. She looked around and saw that she was surrounded by small huts on some sort of African plane.
What in the world is Beast Boy dreaming about in Africa? Raven thought. Then, she heard a noise behind her. She whipped around to see three people emerging from one of the huts. There was a man talking to a woman, followed closely by a laughing little boy. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Raven wondered who this family was until she took a good look at the little boy. Sure, his skin was fair, his ears were rounded, he had no fangs, and he was much younger, but there was no mistaking the child for another.
It took Raven a moment for her to realize that the dream must have been a memory. After all, he hadn't been born green, and he did have to have some sort of past and family, right?
She watched the happy family talk and laugh for a while. The man, who Raven realized must be Beast Boy's father, even pulled out a small plastic ball that they tossed around for a while. Soon, the woman called, "Come on, Garfield, it's time for lunch. Come inside." They entered the hut once more.
Raven smiled. Must have been nice to have such nice parents. I wonder where they are now. Beast Boy's never talked about them before.
Before she could teleport herself out of the dream, the whole scene suddenly changed. The world went dark, then there was a light on Beast Boy, who now looked as he did outside his dream and stood several feet away from her. He was staring at two people who were walking out of the darkness toward him. They were his parents, but they didn't look normal- more ghostly-looking and, well, dead. The woman raised her hand out.
"Garfield," she whispered painfully. "Why didn't you save us?"
"Why didn't you?" his father asked. "You could have saved us, but you let us fall."
"No!" Beast Boy cried out, backing away. "I tried, but-"
"You flew away and left us to die," they both chanted mournfully.
"I'm sorry!" Beast Boy yelled. "Now stop haunting me!" He turned to run away, but ran right into a tall figure in a suit that somewhat resembled Beast Boy's. He wore a strange helmet and held himself up proudly. Raven recognized him as Mento, the leader of the Doom Patrol, the group Beast Boy had once been a part of.
"You stupid kid," Mento boomed. Beast Boy looked up at him fearfully and shook his head, but he only continued. "You can't do anything right, can you? Can't follow orders, can't ever do what you're supposed to. When will you ever learn?"
"Go away!" Beast Boy began to run once more, blind in the darkness. Raven followed him closely, but not close enough to be seen. He only stopped when he heard a voice say, "You couldn't keep a secret, could you?"
He grimaced. "Not you," he cried. "Anyone but you!"
Then a thin, blonde girl stepped out. Terra, Raven thought with an angry frown.
Terra, dressed in the outfit she'd worn as a Titan, sneered. "I thought I could trust you. But you've proven otherwise."
"I didn't tell!" Beast Boy exclaimed.
"Of course you didn't," she retorted sarcastically. Then she stuck her nose in his frightened face. "You're so stupid. Why would you ever think I could like you? The weakest of the Titans. The lame green kid who doesn't really do anything. The freak."
Beast Boy turned from Terra, too, but came face-to-face with his wailing parents and Mento. They surrounded him, shouting, crying, taunting, and it was too much for the teen. He stood straight, took a deep breath and yelled, "Get out!"
The room suddenly went totally, midnight dark. A deep growling began to sound from everywhere. Then, there was a sudden spotlight on an unsuspecting Raven. She froze, completely unable to move a muscle. Beast Boy rounded on her, his eyes glistening with tears.
Suddenly, there came a deep growl, echoing from every side. Beast Boy's eyes went wide with fear. All he could do was whisper in a choked voice, "No. Oh, please, no."
"What do we have here?" the growling voice said, almost amused. "A little birdie has flown in. How lovely it would be to rip her apart…" Claws of black emerged from the darkness an began to encircle Raven's still form.
"NO!" Beast Boy yelled, snapping into action. He ran toward her at full speed. "Not again! Don't you dare lay a finger on her!" Raven could see the tears streaming down his cheeks. But before he could reach her, she was yanked by some invisible force into the air. Glowing white eyes appeared above them, and the growling started once more. As Beast Boy shouted loudly from the ground, a single green claw materialized, drawing back, ready to stab into Raven's heart. She braced for the blow.
The claw shot forward, she heard an agonized scream from below, and-
Without warning, she was pushed backwards. She slammed into something hard. She looked around and found that she had collided with a counter back in the Tower. A few magic words muttered under her breath confirmed that she was no longer in the nightmare. She stood up, rubbing her head.
She glanced over at the sofa. She heard quiet, muffled noises coming from it. She soundlessly stepped over to it and found Beast Boy, huddled on the cushions, whimpering faintly into his knees. "I couldn't save you," she heard him softly cry. "I tried, but I couldn't save you." Sobs racked his thin body, and Raven wasn't completely sure what to do. She'd never seen him so upset before.
She put out a hand and laid it on the boy's arm. "Beast Boy?" she whispered.
As soon as she touched him, he jerked back. His eyes fell on the girl standing before him. He quickly wiped his tears on his sleeve. When he looked back at her, he was his usual beaming self once more, and only a slight red tinge around his eyes gave any sign of the tears coursing down his face a moment before.
"What's up, Rae?" he asked, with only a bit of a tremor in his upbeat voice. "Didja come to sneak some tofu for a midnight snack? I knew you'd give in sooner or later." He attempted to smile, but the sadness behind it was still just barely evident.
Raven just stared. Beast Boy had gone from quivering with despair to bright and cheerful in a matter of seconds. Yet, she could see it wasn't truly brightness; it was like a light bulb that flickered bravely in its last stab at life. She recognized the mask he wore, of light to hide darkness, of happiness to conceal pain. Could it be that he always wore it, to cloak the hurt of the past?
"Rae?" Beast Boy interjected. "You okay?"
Raven's answer came in the form of an unexpected embrace. For a second, he was surprised, but he quickly held her as tightly as she was holding him. They stayed there for quite a while, locked in a mutual understanding, each with their own mask to hide from the world slipping slightly, their true colors shining, and nightmares forgotten, blown away like leaves in the autumn wind.