"SHUT UP!" Beast Boy screamed.
At least they thought it was Beast Boy. It was his voice, and it was coming from inside his bedroom. But it was after three in the morning, and from where Cyborg and Raven were outside his door they could only hear the scream. The muffled sounds before and after – talking? Moving around? – weren't clear.
Raven shivered. She'd known Beast Boy for a long time. She'd seen him in a fit of rage, badly injured, half-crazy with fear, and never heard him sound that way. His voice had a note of absolute despair, like a lost soul. "What's wrong with him?" she whispered.
Cyborg glanced at her from where he stood examining a readout panel for Beast Boy's room. "I was hoping you'd tell me," he said, also keeping his words quiet. "That's why I woke you up first. Is – anything – in there with him?"
That had been the first thing Raven had done after Cyborg had knocked on her door twenty minutes ago, not explaining much, only asking for her help. Eyes sandy with sleep, stumbling along the corridors, a cloak thrown over her t-shirt and sweats, she'd nonetheless automatically reached out with her mind, seeking the bright sparks of life in the still darkness of Titans Tower.
Cyborg walking beside her, concerned, not entirely awake himself. Starfire and Robin, asleep in their rooms.
And Beast Boy. Asleep as far as she could tell, but restless. Something troubling him, but he was definitely alone.
"There's no one there but him," she said. Her normally low voice was even more scratchy and strained than usual, betraying her fatigue. She cleared her throat and shook herself, trying to wake up. "Is he having a dream?"
Cyborg shrugged. It was so late that only the dim white emergency lights of the corridor exit signs were on, and she could only see the red gleam of his robotic eye and a glint off the metal of one shoulder as he turned back to the panel. "That's what I thought at first. He's been yelling in his sleep and setting off the floor alarms for a few days. I figured it was nightmares. He has them sometimes." He shrugged again. "You know."
Reluctantly she nodded. Being who they were, doing what they did, they all had nightmares. Even Robin probably did, though he'd rather eat his mask than admit it. "Then why -"
"Because there's a difference between setting off an alarm a couple times and setting it off for three hours," Cyborg said flatly. "I asked BB yesterday if he was having bad dreams and he denied it. I think he was telling the truth – I don't think he remembered – but he looked bad."
Raven thought back. Beast Boy had seemed quieter than usual, but she hadn't bothered to wonder why, just appreciated the absence of the jokes and stupidity that grated on her nerves at the best of times.
"I thought I might have missed something that you could detect," Cyborg continued, "and I didn't want to wake everybody up and make this a big deal. But if you're saying he's alone -"
Beast Boy screamed again. They thought they heard words but it was hard to tell, the screaming almost animal, trailing off into a muffled howl.
Cyborg cursed. "That's it." He held out his left hand and pressed the knuckle of his thumb. His thumbnail, a small square of metal, slid sideways and popped out with an audible click. He removed it and showed it to Raven. "Master key. When I swipe this to open the door, the alarm will go off in Robin's room. You wake Beast Boy up and I'll explain to Robin what's going on. Not that I know."
The door slid open, revealing Beast Boy's room, a mess as usual. Enough of Jump City's light pollution came through the window to reveal both the clothes and other things scattered all over the floor and Beast Boy himself.
He was twisting on his bed, muttering, his blankets heaped around him. "Shut up," he said gutturally, over and over, "Shut up..."
Raven approached the bed cautiously. "Beast Boy?"
He didn't respond and she touched him with her thoughts. He was so heavily asleep he seemed paralyzed, struggling to awaken, thrashing through his nightmare.
She leaned over him, tapping his shoulder. "Beast Boy." His mumbling increased. He was stuck. There was no way she could do this gently. Vaguely she heard Cyborg and Robin talking behind her as she laid her palm against Beast Boy's forehead and said loudly, both directly to his mind and in his room,
Beast Boy jerked awake, his eyes wide. His normally green bright skin had an ugly gray cast underneath as he sat bolt upright and looked around wildly. Cyborg was right, he did look bad. Finally his darting eyes noticed Raven, but instead of relaxing as he fully awoke he tensed further. Abruptly he bounced out of bed and to his feet, his hair disheveled, his tank top and sweats askew. Staring at Raven, his breathing ragged, he grabbed her cloak and pulled her toward him.
"Raven... make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!"