A/N: I intended for this story to be only two chapters, but as I wrote this one I realized that I was trying to pack too much into it. So instead, this thing is going to be at least three parts! Possibly four! On the upside, while it takes longer for the story to end, I will probably post quicker than other wise. Alright, a quick recap: Beast Boy and Raven are adorable. Some creepy ghost army is creepin' in on the Titans' territory. I do not own Teen Titans, otherwise it never would have gone off the air. And… GO!
"Glorious morning, friend!" Starfire sang, sweeping into Raven's room with a large smile on her beautiful face. "It has been a most unacceptable length of time since we have done the shopping together. I would like to ask-"
"My permission to enter my room?" Raven asked scathingly. "You would have had it, but now I'm not feeling so charitable." She felt a twinge of remorse, seeing the slender alien's face drop with sadness.
"I did not mean to intrude. I had only observed the comings and goings of our friend Beast Boy and assumed that your restriction had been lifted. My strongest apologies go out to you, Raven," Starfire concluded solemnly, green eyes averted from Raven's.
"It, well, it's a little different, with him, and you should know that I always snap at him, too." Raven rose from her cross-legged position, wistfully concluding that although she enjoyed the company of Beast Boy and the other Titans, it made it quite hard to find some time alone. She set a hand on Star's shoulder, regretting her next statement even as it began to leave her mouth. "I'd be happy to go to the mall with you, Starfire."
The alien squealed, her hurt feelings forgotten, and threw her arms around Raven in a hug. "It will be most enjoyable, friend! I will make certain you will not regret this!"
Raven pried herself loose, smiling somewhat forcefully. "Yay." She couldn't quite put feeling behind the word.
Now- that wasn't to say that shopping with Starfire couldn't be fun, nor to imply that Raven didn't like Starfire. The problem was that although Raven liked Starfire, she wasn't an overly friendly person- the friendliest she got was around her boyfriend, Beast Boy, and even he bore the brunt of a snide comment or stony silence on a semi-regular basis- and spending many hours in a row with Star, traipsing from store to store and being expected to moon over shoes, was tiresome. The redhead was just too… giggly.
"Just let me grab an apple to tide me over until we get back, and let Beast Boy know I'm actually leaving the Tower so he doesn't call in a search party when he doesn't find me in my room. I'll meet you downstairs in like twenty minutes." Raven slipped around Starfire, grabbing her cloak off the hook as she opened the door.
"You do not wish to eat at the court of foods?"
"Well, the food there is just-" Raven glanced back at her friend's big, soulful green eyes and demurely clasped hands, paused, and then sighed. "Fine."
Starfire clapped her hands, excitedly, floating after Raven and spouting on about all the stores she wished to go to. Raven ignored her, not having any opinions herself since she didn't really care what she wore (as long as it was blue, generally), and tried to decide where Beast Boy would be at this time of the day. His room was a strong possibility; it was only ten, and the only days he rose even moderately early were ones where he'd happened to fall asleep on the floor of her room while they were talking (which had only happened once), or they'd both fallen asleep on the couch. And then the only reason he woke up early was because he generally ended up being awoken by her getting up.
Raven turned down his hallway, knocking lightly on the door before turning the knob. "I'm going to the-" She broke off, finding the door locked tight. "Hmm."
She turned back to her alien friend, recognizing with a frown that he never locked his door. Starfire shot her a quizzical look. "He is not in his room?"
"Then he is downstairs, playing the videogames with Cyborg?"
"I guess." Raven felt a stir of unease, though it wasn't so ridiculous to believe. He was generally up by ten-thirty, at least. She glided down the stairs rather than walk down them, turning the corner with the inexplicable expectation that she wouldn't see his mop of green hair sitting on the couch. But there it was- she breathed a sigh of relief, feet touching back down on the floor as she walked up behind him.
She set her hands on the back of the couch, looking down at him in amusement. He was half-awake, playing more on auto-pilot than anything else, and hadn't even noticed her yet. "I'm going to the mall with Starfire."
Beast Boy jumped, his character getting run through with a sword, but- and this made her a little proud of him- he didn't even complain, instead reaching up to pull her down far enough to kiss her lightly. "I'll see you later, then."
His eyes, with dark rings around them, slid back to the TV screen. He yawned, stretching, and picked the controller back up. Raven frowned slightly, knowing he'd gone to his room around eleven-thirty the night before, same time she did. "What time did you wake up this morning?"
Beast Boy paused before hitting the button to restart his game, turning to face her with a sheepish look on his face. "I might have, um, had some really weird dreams last night, woken up at three, not been able to get back to sleep, and come downstairs to play videogames instead?"
"Go get some sleep," she admonished, straightening.
"You're lying," she sighed.
"Yes. Yes, I am." He returned to his game, laughing, and Raven rolled her eyes and went to join Star, who was bouncing up and down with excitement next to the door.
"But this one-"
"Raven, this shirt-"
"Is pink." Raven turned a stoic face and cool purple eyes onto a crestfallen Starfire, who resignedly placed the frilly blouse back onto the clearance rack. "You can try it on, if you want."
"It does not go with my hair." Starfire rifled through the other shirts, eventually coming away empty-handed. "I do not like any of these clothes."
"Maybe it would help if we left the clearance rack," Raven said drily, though she fully understood why Starfire wasn't looking at the full-price clothes; being a superhero wasn't bad money, as they had been put on the same payroll as the police, but most of that money tended to be funneled back into their various gadgets and Tower upkeep rather than shopping.
It was now twelve-thirty, and Raven was getting tired of wandering from shop to shop and leaving with nothing to show. Starfire had bought a few items, but Raven- despite her lack of being picky- had come up empty. It was the end of summer- which meant that bright, cheerful summer clothes were on the clearance racks and dark blue was scarce.
"You are not having fun, Raven," Star fire observed, looking over at her friend's empty hands. "I thank you for coming and attempting to have fun; shall we at least stop for the cream of ice on our journey home to the Tower?" Starfire smiled, and Raven felt a pang of shame that she wasn't able to let go and have fun with her only female friend.
"We can definitely do that, Starfire. I really am sorry… I'm just not a shopping person." She hadn't said this much to Starfire in a while, Raven realized. She'd been spending all of her time either alone or with Beast Boy. "Maybe… we could watch a movie tomorrow night, just you and I?"
Starfire beamed, sliding an arm through Raven's and leading her off. "It is a plan."
The two Titans picked their way down Main Street, each with an ice cream cone in hand. Starfire kept up most of the conversation, buzzing with her typical energy, but Raven smiled once or twice and supplied the occasional comment or snark. It was much more fun than the shopping had been; Raven didn't even begrudge Starfire the slight meander in their path to draw out their walk.
A cool breeze whipped through the air, heralding the coming of fall and ruffling the girls' hair. Raven turned her face, drawing a stray strand away from her mouth, and caught sight of a teenage girl across the street. There wasn't anything particularly strange about her, but Raven felt a twinge of unease as the girl's brown eyes stared almost lifelessly back.
She looked away, swallowing hard, and tuned back in to Starfire's description of her latest date with Robin. The two, cheerful alien and serious leader, had begun dating years before Raven and Beast Boy, and had long settled into a comfortable rhythm. They were deeply in love and often seemed as if they were married the way they carried themselves- rarely going out on legitimate dates, showing their love through everyday affections rather than passionate embraces or immense shows of jealousy. However, Robin still sometimes managed to surprise his girlfriend and take her out for a night of adventure, though he generally was more focused on training and taking care of the team.
Raven couldn't help but notice certain of the people they passed, more of them with the lifeless looks to their eyes. Her sense of foreboding grew- but she dismissed it as a symptom of her typical anti-social mentality.
Upon return to the Tower, Raven found Beast Boy asleep on the couch, drooling and with the video game controller held loosely in one hand. Raven pried it gently out of his hand, saving his game for him before she turned off the TV. Starfire had already headed toward the roof, where Robin and Cyborg were probably training, and Raven was about to follow her (and let Beast Boy get his sleep) when her green-skinned companion rolled over, groaning. She looked back, about to advise him to go sleep, and realized he still was. His eyes darted beneath his eyelids, a sign he was dreaming, but something suggested to her that it wasn't a good one. Raven reached out a hand, tentatively shaking him awake.
Beast Boy shot up, jumping away from her with a shout, a look of wild fear on his face- and then his surroundings registered, and he relaxed, laughing with relief. "Jeez, Rae, you really startled me."
"Beast Boy, are you-"
"I'll meet you on the roof; aren't we supposed to be training by now? I should change." He kissed her lightly on the forehead and jogged up the stairs.
"…alright?" Raven murmured, staring after him with her brow furrowed.
Robin pushed his team hard. He always did; it was his job to make sure they were prepared for any villain which came into the city. Raven and Starfire were battling on the far end of the roof, black and green struggling for dominance as they both breathed heavily. That was more than satisfactory; the girls had long since decided that they were well-matched against each other and given up on trying not to hurt each other. They now just wanted to see who would win each day- he believed the score sheet looked something like: Raven 1,147-1,249 Starfire. Considering the number of times they'd fought, the 102 matches Starfire had on Raven was trivial. Cyborg, on the other hand, was running himself through another of those complex obstacle courses he'd created- one designed to use a set of approximately fifty different obstacles in random combinations of three, so that he was never sure what he was going to be facing. Robin had no qualms about his practicing that way.
No, the only thing that was bugging him that afternoon was Beast Boy. He and the green haired shape shifter were sparring (hand-to-hand, no weapons or powers involved), and while he did ordinarily win these bouts, he seemed to be getting an inordinate number of hits that day. He feinted, threw a kick- Beast Boy blocked, though somewhat belatedly. Robin slipped a foot past his defenses, hooking it around his knee and sending him sprawling to the ground.
Robin towered over the groaning green shapeshifter, frowning heavily. "What's up with you today?"
"I ate some bad clams."
"You're a vegetarian."
"They were… tofu clams?"
"Are you seriously trying to tell me you eat tofu clams."
"They're normally very tasty. It's just, these ones were stale."
Robin had his feet swept out from under him as Beast Boy leapt to his feet, grinning down at him. "Maybe I was baiting you." He extended a hand, pulling Robin back to his feet.
"You weren't. You'd have had a better lie planned."
"You give me too much credit."
Robin studied Beast Boy with narrowed eyes. "Seriously. What's going on? Is it something with you and Raven? Did she not laugh at one of your puns, or something?"
Beast Boy rolled his eyes. "A- she never laughs at my puns. And B- I've just been having a hard time sleeping, okay? I'm feeling a little out of it."
"Well, just-" Robin cut off as a large explosion rocked the Tower. They both spun around to see Raven and Starfire standing in the middle of a small crater, each with a hand outstretched. Apparently they'd each thrown a little too much power into their measures against each other.
"Maybe they should stop fighting each other," Beast Boy observed, glancing over at Robin.
The leader raised an eyebrow back. "You want to fight either of them?"
"I didn't think so." He motioned the Titans to him, as Cyborg was just finishing his run through the obstacle course, and called practice for the day. "Back to your lives, people! Today is not our day; we're either going to hurt each other-" he shot the girls a look- "tire ourselves out-" he turned the look on Cyborg, who was drenched in sweat and panting heavily- "or just get nothing out of this at all." His last glance was directed at Beast Boy, who looked miffed rather than shamed. "So let's just go about our normal days, alright?"
"Finally, some time to meditate," Raven muttered.
The other Titans dispersed, though Robin stayed to train a little more on his own. It was cathartic to him, and the way Beast Boy had been avoiding his questions made him more than a little uneasy; he needed to unwind.
Was it a pride thing?
Was he having nightmares and didn't want Robin to know?
Was the "not sleeping" just a lie?
Had he been up all night snogging Raven? Was that it?
Robin paused, catching the punching bag and dropping his staff to the floor. No, Raven would have been in a much better mood that morning. The sleeping thing was probably true- the only question was what was going on. Was it his- no, the anniversary of his parents' deaths was months away. Robin shook off the questions burning inside of him, resolving to ask Beast Boy about it later. He returned to wailing on the punching bag, grunts of exertion escaping him every few moments.
An hour passed, and Robin trudged downstairs, glancing at the clock. Only six. He sighed, heading straight to the fridge for a bottle of water. He sipped it carefully, not wanting to puke by drinking too much at once, and turned to look out over the living room. Starfire, in a chair on one side of the room, cheered on Beast Boy and Cyborg as they raced head to head in Mario Kart (Beast Boy was, of course, Yoshi, since they were both green), and Raven sat in between the two boys, reading and ignoring the world, apparently done with her meditation. It was nice to see her out there with them, even if she wasn't participating.
She'd come out of her shell, the past few years, as first her friendship with Beast Boy and later her relationship with him had brought her an overall sunnier outlook on life- even if "sunny" for her was still full of dry wit and exasperated glares, it was still an improvement. He hadn't exactly approved at first when they'd begun dating, as both of them had terrible records in that department- evil dragons and turncoat blondes were just the beginning- as well as a propensity for high tempers. However, things seemed to be going quite well- and it wasn't like he could've told them not to, since he was dating Star.
He looked over at his beautiful alien girlfriend, smiling slightly. She was so enthusiastic about everything; he could guarantee that she had no idea which of the two guys was winning at any moment, but she didn't care. She was just having fun- something he, personally, was bad at.
He shook off the slightly dark thought- it wasn't like he didn't know how to enjoy himself at all- and joined the rest of the Titans, sitting on the arm of Starfire's chair. Cyborg was winning, and Starfire might have had a better grasp on the game than he'd thought, since she was urging Beast Boy to catch up.
"Yes! Hit him with the turtle shell! No- the other one! You cannot aim with the green-"
"Star! I'm concentrating!" Beast Boy yelled, as into the game as she was.
"Yeah, concentrating on getting your butt whooped! Booyah!" Cyborg crossed the finish line with an exultant look on his face, leaping onto the coffee table to perform his war dance.
Beast Boy crossed in third and flopped back, cursing good-naturedly. "Well played, sir." He stood, shaking hands with Cyborg- a ritual that had both of them fighting to keep straight faces as they exchanged mild-mannered congratulations and best wishes.
"Hey, Rob, you wanna grab a controller and play a round?" Cyborg tossed a remote over to the dark-haired martial artist, grinning. "I promise I'll take it easy on you."
"Me, too!" Beast Boy added, elbowing Cyborg with a playful scowl.
"Nah, man, you don't have to. You ain't good enough at this game to beat Robin even if you tried."
"You can both try your best," Robin interrupted, taking the seat Raven offered as she instead floated cross-legged to the right of the couch, "but I'll beat both of you hands down."
"Oh, it is on like-"
"Robin, please be Donkey Kong because then this would be perfect."
The night wore on- Robin won that round, Beast Boy won the next. Starfire retired to her bedroom after getting confused when the boys switched to playing teams (with Cyborg and Robin on the opposite team from Beast Boy). Raven took her chair. Cyborg left next, needing to recharge his batteries. Finally, although he'd been intending to wait for Raven to go to sleep and ask Beast Boy about whatever it was that had been keeping him up, Robin admitted defeat and headed to sleep himself. Raven moved back to the couch, still reading, and Beast Boy switched to playing some shoot 'em up game.
By eleven-thirty, Beast Boy had his feet on the back of the couch and was on his back, head hanging off the couch as he played (he was still surprisingly good like this). Raven finally put up her book, sprawling across the couch and putting her feet on his stomach. "Aren't you tired?" she yawned, covering her mouth with one hand. "You've been up for almost twenty-one hours now."
"Not really. Okay, well, yes, but it's that stage of tired where you know you could go to sleep if you tried but you're not really feeling it." Yet at that moment, the controller slipped out of his hand and hit him in the face. "Ow."
Raven snorted. "You're feeling it."
"Maybe a little."
"Come on." She removed her feet, flipped off the TV, and rose to her feet, yawning widely. He grumbled complaints, but she pulled him to his feet and put one of his arms around her shoulders to lead him up to his room. He unlocked the door- making her wonder again why it had been locked- and they stumbled together through the pitch black, unable to see anything. He collapsed onto the bed once she got him there, practically falling asleep on the way down.
"Goodnight, Beast Boy," she called, pulling the door closed behind her. She heard him murmur a response, but it was nearly indecipherable through the door.
With Raven falling asleep once she got back to her own room, the whole Tower was asleep until early the next morning. But not everything was silent.
The restless rustle of sheets echoed down the long hallway- to follow it to its source revealed Beast Boy, pointed ears twitching anxiously as he tried to roll away from what he was seeing. Within his dream- his nightmare- he found himself in the shadows of a dark, abandoned building, perhaps an old industrial plant or warehouse. A man, with a dark suit and pale complexion, stood with his back to the lurking shapeshifter. There was something not quite right about the man, as if you could look right through him if you looked closely enough- and the air about him seemed to shiver with the coldness of his soul.
He spoke with a voice that was polished and old fashioned, piercing grey eyes locked on the nervous visage of a less corporeal ghost. "The army is mobilizing on schedule?"
"Yes, sir, we have brought a third of the city under our control. I have allowed a certain degree of mobility in the targets, but made certain that our most powerful and loyal members ended up within influential members of the community…" the portly little ghost swallowed hard, glancing up at his master.
Beast Boy shrank farther into the shadows, worried that he would be spotted- not that it mattered… This was just a dream…
The small ghost found his voice, asking quietly, "And your own target, sir? Has he…"
"He remains on the island." The white haired ghost turned slightly, revealing his hawkish profile to the watching green eyes. "Surrounded by salt water, where I cannot reach him. Yet we are connected- our bond grows stronger as time passes. I can feel him reaching out to me, though he does not know it. The moment he sets foot off the island, I will claim him and lie in wait until our strike is prepared. I can trust you to finish our last minute preparations?"
"I have found the location for our ceremony. The precise center of Jump City lies across two ley lines, an added bonus to the brewing supernatural energies which brought us here, and we will be able to create various distractions for the Titans until the portal is opened. At that point-"
"Shh, my servant. We have a visitor." The blue eyes locked with Beast Boy's green ones. They swept him into a dark vision of Jump City, of clutching hands and icy flames creeping across his home. In that cruel, cold voice, the tall man promised Beast Boy his part in the destruction.
"Little shapeshifter," he crooned, as Beast Boy saw the Tower crumbling below hordes of icy demons and his friends' faces twisting in terror, "your body is already promised to me, and your powers will be at my disposal as I open the portal to Hell. I- you, really- will command the demons in a march of destruction that will start with the end of the Titans…"
"Why would you want to destroy the city? What possible reason could you have?" Beast Boy asked, hope fading from his mind as those eyes continued to promise the end of his world.
"Because, dear boy, I'm dead. What reason do I need?" He turned away, hands clasping behind his back. "There was little to entertain me in the Underworld. But the demolition of this city, and the searing pain it will cause you to see your own hands helping in it? That will keep me well entertained. Imagine- your green hands closing about the throat of that purple-eyed sorceress-"
Beast Boy leapt out from the shadows, a feral cry erupting from his lips as his fingers lengthened, turning to claws, reaching for the back of the tall specter. But he connected with nothing.
He awoke with a thump, slamming into the floor as he fell out of his bed. Images of a terrible dream flitted from his mind. He groaned, well exhausted, and rolled over, the red LED display of his alarm clock alerting him that it was barely four in the morning. He could still feel his heart pounding from whatever his dream had been- he grasped for the strands of memory lurking at the back of his mind, but just as he caught them, they dissolved in his grasp. Something about… ghosts?
Then, with a start, he recalled the last few moments before he'd fallen asleep the night before. There was a strong possibility that he'd told Raven he loved her. Beast Boy buried his face in his hands, wondering if she'd heard him. The door had been closing, his voice had been muffled by pillows, and he'd been so tired there was a strong possibility it hadn't been intelligible anyway.
He hadn't meant to say it. He wasn't even sure if he'd meant it- okay, yes, he had meant it, but that didn't mean he was ready to tell her or that she felt the same way. She was incredible, beautiful, powerful, intelligent, snarky, quiet, mysterious, surprisingly caring, and confident in nearly every aspect of life- and he was… Beast Boy. Pointy ears and bad jokes.
He kicked away the sheets and rose, pledging to make his bed later, and staggered to his door. Going back to sleep wasn't an option; he knew this from the night before. So downstairs he could find something to eat, and some videogames, and-
Hand on the doorknob, Beast Boy stared into Raven's large eyes. "Hey, um… morning?" he offered her a grin, feeling his recently calmed heart begin to race again.
Raven dropped her hand, which had been poised to knock, and stumbled out her own greeting. She hadn't really intended to knock, expected to chicken out, and wasn't really prepared to have him standing before her. "Why are you up?"
"Still having trouble sleeping. Weird dreams. You?"
"Oh, um, I just… figured you'd be… needing company…" Fast asleep, her mind complained, and not giving me every option to ask you what it was you actually said when I left earlier. Because even in my dreams I found myself wondering.
He smiled at her, ignoring her obvious lie, and pulled her close to bury his face in her hair. "I really think I do."
She hugged him back, briefly, and stepped away, glad for the darkness so that he couldn't see her blush. Whether he'd said what she thought he might have said or not, it had made her realize that she felt the same way.
Green fingers slipped through hers, and she let herself be led down to the main room. She closed her eyes tightly, trusting him completely, and mentally urged herself to just ask him. "BeastBoywhatdidyousayjustbeforeIleft?" she blurted, eyes snapping back open. They had just entered the main room, light from the clear night streaming in through the tall windows.
He stopped abruptly, causing Raven to run into his back. "What?" Beast Boy frowned and looked down at her. The light threw strange, angular shadows across his face, making him look like an entirely different person- and for a just a moment she thought he might be, the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end. She felt an otherworldly presence looking through his eyes…
A cloud passed in front of the moon, plunging them into darkness, and the spell was broken. She felt him shiver, draw her closer. "Just got cold in here, didn't it?"
"Yeah…" Raven trailed off, mind filled with thoughts of all the blank eyed people she'd seen on the way home from the mall. Had she really been imagining things then, or was she still imagining things now?
She shook off her misgivings, moving away from him to flick on the lights. Orange artificial light blazed down from above, completely banishing any thoughts of creeping specters in the darkness, and she turned to face him- though she dropped her eyes from his, nervously. "Before… I was just asking what it was that you'd said before I left. Because when you said it I wasn't really listening, and later I started wondering... I thought that maybe you'd said…"
Beast Boy laughed nervously, almost wishing she'd left the lights off. Confessions were easier to make in the dark. "That I loved you? Because I did."
Her eyes flicked up, wide with surprise, and she nervously, quietly asked, "Did you mean it?"
There was a part of him that hated to see her so insecure, but another part of him felt a degree of pride it was for him that she was going so crazy. The last part of him felt guilty for the second part. He nodded, wondering what it was he normally did with his arms. Beast Boy settled for crossing them over his chest.
Raven mimicked the action, suddenly feeling like the tank top and shorts she'd changed into before going to bed were too revealing. She wished she had her cloak.
He cleared his throat, breaking the awkward silence. "Raven, um, look, I know that you- I mean, you don't have to- look, it's okay if you don't feel the same way. I mean, come on, I have pointy ears!" Beast Boy's attempt at a joke fell flat, even to his own ears. He was so busy berating himself that he nearly missed her response.
"I didn't say that."
Beast Boy swallowed heavily. "You mean that you…"
"Like your pointy ears?" she smirked. "Yes, I do, actually." She stepped forward, hugging him tightly. "I'm bad with expressing affection, Beast Boy," she whispered, "so just give me a little time."
"Take all the time you need," he promised, returning her hug. "You should go back to sleep."
She shook her head, pulling away to lead him to the couch. "You said you needed company."
"Yeah, but you-"
She curled into his side, pulling his arm about her shoulder. "We should put in a movie."
"Beauty and the Beast."
Beast Boy's laughter was loud enough to bring Robin down to yell at them to go to sleep.
He and Raven were still on the couch when the others came down for breakfast. He was sprawled across the couch with her asleep and perched somewhat precariously on top of him, his green arms keeping her from falling off. He'd never quite fallen back asleep, drifting back and forth over the threshold of consciousness. Each time the dreams had begun to creep towards him, the anchoring weight of her on his chest had brought him back.
He turned, hearing their footsteps on the stairs, and carefully rearranged his grip in order to place a finger to his lips. "Let her sleep," he called softly, and was rewarded by three thumbs up and a few amused glances.
Carefully sliding Raven so that her elbow wasn't pressing into his kidney, Beast Boy settled back with a content smile on his face and closed his eyes.
Starfire nudged Robin, giggling quietly and murmuring, "They have the "adorableness," yes?"
"Well, um, that's not exactly a manly observation, so it's not like I-" Robin broke off at Starfire's knowing look. "Okay, yes," he admitted. "They are adorable."
Cyborg snorted, but didn't dispute the claim. Voice as quiet as he could manage, "What do you have planned for training today?"
Beast Boy, one pointed ear tuned attentively to their conversation, wondered how he could possibly have more terrible dreams when he felt this happy. He yawned, her soft and rhythmic snoring lulling him into a stupor.
"Well, I've been thinking that we need some practice against some people who actually fight back, not just some kind of obstacle course or whatever- no offense to your hard work in building them, Cy, but it's not the same- so I called-"
"Bumblebee?" The large, muscular youth's eagerness was evident in his tone, though he attempted to sound blasé.
"Yeah, but Titans East have actually got some stuff going down this week; they're hearing some chatter floating around about a mole people revolution…"
Robin's voice faded to a low buzz as Beast Boy sank into the inviting arms of sleep. The peaceful blackness was welcome after two nights in a row of barely four hours of sleep. His last reservations faded away… The nightmares were-
He couldn't see anything, simply felt cold hands groping for his soul, heard quiet and mocking laughter…
Robin broke off from describing how he'd hit a dead end with Jinx and Kid Flash, a dynamic duo of a superhero team, discovering they had recently dropped off the map after their engagement had placed a bounty on Jinx's head. "Is it just me or did Raven's snoring just get more… menacing?"
"Dude, that ain't Rae snoring, that's BB growling," Cyborg observed, exchanging a concerned glance with Robin.
As they spoke, the changeling yelped, a sound much like a dog in pain, and gave a spasm so violent that Raven slid off the couch, awakening as she abruptly hit the floor. She sat up, bleary eyed and wondering at how bright it was- she never slept this late; the sky was generally still grey when she rose. Her attention was soon drawn to other things, however, as Beast Boy- still asleep- morphed through four or five forms in rapid succession, swatting and struggling against some unknown menace.
Raven, focusing solely on her convulsing boyfriend and ignoring the other Titans, closed her eyes to reach out to him both mentally and physically. Her fingertips felt him flinch away, unable to distinguish her touch from the depths of his dream, but her mind went almost unnoticed. She couldn't see exactly what he was seeing (subconsciously, he seemed to be holding her back) but she could feel the precipice upon which he stood. Cold hands reached for him, threatening to drag him off the edge- and even as he fought, he reached out to them, too.
Raven opened her eyes, sensing somehow that there was a barrier between him and the snatching hands, that he couldn't fall over the edge- yet. She reached for his shoulder, shaking him gently and calling out his name. Her voice carried through the fog, but the dream still hung heavy about his mind as he awoke. Morphing into a green cat, he leapt backward, hissing furiously.
Green eyes locked with violet. He leapt forward, morphing in the air, front paws catching her shoulder and pressing her backwards until he- human he- was pinning her to the ground, green eyes lit with worry. "Did I hurt you?"
"What?" Raven squirmed, shoving against him. "Beast Boy-"
"I didn't think I would have another one, Rae, not with- and I wouldn't have let myself go to sleep if I'd realized- Raven, did I hurt you?" he demanded, sitting up so that he could study her anxiously.
"No! You didn't! Beast Boy, what was that?!"
"We'd like to know, too," Robin interjected, drawing the two's attention to the fact that the other Titans were in the room. "When you said you were having trouble sleeping, I thought that meant you were having insomnia or…" he glanced at Raven, who drew her arms about her chest while giving him a devilish glare, "something. Not some kind of fit."
"Beast Boy, why did you worry so profoundly that you had hurt Raven?" Starfire asked, solemnly, causing the shapeshifter to look away from the group and mumbled something under his breath.
"Beast Boy?" Raven prompted softly, setting a hand on his shoulder.
With a groan, he rose to his feet, extending a hand to help Raven up. "I think it would be easier to show you."
"Show us what?" Cyborg demanded, but Beast Boy just shook his head and motioned for them to follow. He lead the others up to his room, keeping Raven's hand clasped in his the entire distance- she would normally have pulled away, but she needed the reassurance as much as he did. He was worrying her.
"It started almost three weeks ago, a few nights after that battle with the ghost wizard dude… It wasn't that bad at first, I didn't start losing sleep until about a week and a half ago. But the dreams got worse- not that I would know, since I can never remember them after I wake up, except for… well. Take a look." Beast Boy pushed open his door.
They filed in around him, Raven's hand slipping from his as he remained on the threshold, leaning against it with his eyes averted in a small degree of shame. Robin flicked on the light.
The room was thrown into sharp relief, fluorescent lights reaching their bright fingers into every corner and crevice. He heard the sharp intake of breath, the measured footsteps as his teammates turned to survey the carnage. The torn pillows and claw marks on the walls. The broken lamp, overturned bookshelf (containing mainly comics and video game cases).
Then the rattling began. Beast Boy straightened abruptly, frowning, and stepped through the black film that crept over the floor and the walls. Raven stood in the center of his room, eyes closed and fists clenched, attempting to regain control of the anger that had every item in the room about to explode. The others stood quietly, frightened to break her concentration or accidently focus her fury on them, and he stepped forward to set a hand on her shoulder.
"Raven, calm down," he murmured. "They're just dream-"
"NO!" The metal frame of his bed bent in half. She spun to face him, eyes glowing black with power. "They're not just dreams, Beast Boy, I saw it. You held me back, but I saw enough to know that there is someone out there targeting you!"
He drew her in, burying his face in her hair, and she melted into him, the darkness fading from the room.
No one spoke- no one knew what to say. What could they say? The Titans were used to facing their problems head on, to punching and kicking and shooting their way to victory. They didn't know how to deal with a mysterious force characterized only by nightmares and darkness.
Finally Robin cleared his throat, ushering his team out of Beast Boy's room. "Let's… let's go get pizza, okay? We can relax a little, try to figure out how to deal with this."
"Do you not think it is early yet for pizza?" Starfire asked, but as her green eyes swept across the downtrodden faces of her friends, she rescinded her objections. Pizza made everything better.
Raven carried Cyborg across the water and Starfire carried Robin, allowing the understandably exhausted Beast Boy with only his own weight to support. He opted for the form of a hawk, letting the thermals carry him rather than his own strength.
Cyborg touched down first, nearly falling backwards as Raven let him go before his legs were quite situated. She had donned blue jeans, t-shirt, and cloak before leaving, and as her feet touched down she brushed back her hood. Purple eyes watched Beast Boy draw closer, her normal protective instincts doubled by the revelations of that morning and the night before. He shifted back as he touched down, gracing her with his typical toothy grin.
Raven's responding smile never made it to her face as she suddenly saw him again at the edge of that precipice- and this time, he stepped over the edge.