AN: I'm in the process of writing a long piece that's begging to be written, yet refuses to come unless it's kicking and screaming. In the middle of that, though, this little idea struck and completely hijacked my attentions. I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I own nothing that is worth suing me to get, which means you can assume I don't own the Teen Titans.
Tamaranean physiology was, by any standard, a series of marvelous adaptations. Their lungs, for example, were designed with multiple chambers that served to collect and store air, compressing it down to liquid in order to sustain them on long flights through the vacuum of space.
Hence, when a Tamaranean chose to let out a true scream of frustration, it was very loud and incredibly long.
Raven was snapped from her meditative trance by just such a scream.
Noting that the tone was not indicative of danger, she nonetheless hesitated as she opened the door to her freshly shielded room just a crack.
The noise grew louder, as expected, but the wave of utter vexation that slammed into her set her teeth grinding from the empathic resonance.
Shutting her door as quickly as she could, Raven spent the next several minutes erecting the strongest mental shield possible.
When she exited her room fully, the scream was still going in full force.
Heading down the hall toward the obvious source of the sound, Raven punched in the override code to Starfire's door, plugging her ears immediately as the door slid open.
Face buried in a pillow, Starfire lay prone on her bed, oblivious to the world, shrieking as nothing in the Milky Way could.
When Raven laid a hand on her friend's shoulderblade, the screaming stopped as Starfire whirled around, eyes wide with shock.
"Friend Raven!" she exclaimed. "Please accept my apologies. I was unaware that there was anyone left in the Tower."
"Just you, me, and Beast Boy," the empath replied.
Tamaran's princess gasped, face twisting in horror. "Oh, X'hal, no! His hearing is far more sensitive than-"
"Don't worry about it, Star. He's just concerned about you." It was a white lie; she could feel the waves of pain and confusion radiating from Beast Boy's room, but overwhelming even that was concern for Starfire.
In fact, she could feel him lurching out of his room, heading toward them.
Raven's eyes glowed with a brief surge of power, and Beast Boy crumpled to the ground in the hallway, fast asleep. She brushed aside a twinge of guilt; it was best for Starfire if she could vent to one person at a time, and if the cause was what Raven suspected, a girl should be the first to hear it.
"So... wanna talk about it?" she asked after a moment.
"Oh, Friend Raven! I do not wish to burden you with my—"
"I'm your friend, and the only girl in the Tower. I want to hear it."
The orange girl sat for a moment, considering her words, then spoke. "Am I unattractive, Friend Raven?"
The empath's eyes widened before she let out a snort. "Seriously? You get hit on constantly whenever we go out, you've gotten offers to be a model for any product you want, and you're worried about that?"
"I... I suppose not," the red-headed girl said, deflating. "It is merely... Am I too... alien?"
One purple eyebrow went up at this. "By whose standards? You've done an amazing job adapting to human culture, and any quirks that you've held onto are more endearing than anything."
"Even to Robin?" Starfire's voice was impossibly tiny.
"Especially to Robin," the sorceress replied. "I see him smile every time he walks by the condiment aisle when we're out buying groceries."
"Then why," the warrior princess said, voice growing louder with every syllable, "Does he not wish to engage in the DATING WITH ME?" With the last word, the pillow Starfire had been clutching disintegrated as a starbolt appeared in each hand.
Righteous fury, indeed.
"Robin," Raven began, trying to find the right words and pausing as she failed. "...Is an idiot," she finished.
"Granted, he's very intelligent, perceptive most of the time, even, but he's more emotionally stunted and clueless about dating than I am." The purple-haired girl's mouth gave a little twitch. "And that's saying a lot."
Starfire let out a massive sigh. "Then how will I ever begin to do the dating with him?"
Raven's sigh mirrored her friend's. "Well, subtlety is completely lost on him, as you've seen. I think you're just going to have to beat him over the head with it until he notices."
The princess gasped, horrified. "No! I would never attempt to damage him—"
"Not literally," the empath said, waving a hand to allay her friend's distress. "I mean be extremely obvious that you like him as more than a friend. Drop lots and lots of hints. That's all I can think of. It should work, even on a lummox like him."
Starfire's joyous squeal rang out, and Raven created a small cushion around herself with her powers to avoid being injured by the Tamaranean's hug. "Thank you, Friend Raven! I shall do the dropping of many hints for Robin."
As she was released from the hug, Raven permitted herself a small smile. "No problem, Star. Good luck." With this, she disengaged herself from her friend's arms and wandered back to resume her meditation... with a small detour beforehand.
Beast Boy awoke to soothing hands caressing his face, a blue glow filtering through his eyelids. With a contented rumble from deep in his chest, he let his eyes flutter open, revealing a set of lithe, gray fingers.
Garfield gave a start, sitting up and scrambling backwards with an apology on his lips. He wasn't certain just what he'd done, but Raven was involved, so it was bound to be his fault somehow.
"Easy," a smoky voice said. "I had to put you under for a second." How could she manage to sound sultry even as she admitted to knocking him out?
"Wait, you... uh... why?"
Brilliant, Gar. Very articulate. Who needs to quote Shakespeare?
Raven gave him that enigmatic half-smile of hers. "Girl talk."
"So you and Starfire..." Pieces whirled. "Starfire was screaming! Like, really loud. My ears..." He brushed a finger against his ear canal, and it came back with a dark red crust.
"Just blowing off a lot of steam," the empath said. "Your ears are fine now, though you may get just a bit of residual ringing."
"Thanks, Rae," he said, giving her a grateful smile. When she didn't correct him, it turned to a full-on grin.
"No problem," she replied. "I'm sure Starfire would still like to see you. She felt horrible when she found out that you were here for that scream. I wouldn't mention the whole ear-bleeding thing unless you brought a towel for the waterworks."
"Duly noted," Gar said, brushing away the flecks of dried blood from his ears as he rose to his feet.
"Good. Now get in there."
With a smile and a parting wave to the sorceress, the changeling knocked on Starfire's door.
Robin strode into the common room, arms laden with bags of groceries. Smiling to himself, he unpacked his surprise for Starfire- an assortment of gourmet mustards in easily-drinkable squeeze bottles. As he opened the refrigerator door to put the condiments in the section usually reserved for Tamaranean dishes, something fluttered to the floor.
The Boy Wonder quickly arranged his surprise for maximum aesthetic effect, then knelt down to examine the object.
It was a scrap of paper, lined, with handwriting that Robin immediately recognized as belonging to the Princess.
I would be very happy to attempt the dating with Robin, it read.
Batman's star pupil stared at the note, dumbstruck, before it slipped from numb fingers to fall once more to the ground. He walked away in a daze, not bothering to put away the rest of the groceries.
As he sat down heavily on the couch, he noticed another scrap of paper on the floor at his feet.
It bore the same message.
Robin's eyes bulged. Muttering to himself, he stumbled down the hall to his room.
As his door opened, another scrap of paper fluttered down from where it had been wedged in the doorjamb.
Not even bothering to read it, the leader of the Titans let his feet lead him just a bit further down the hall. His mind failed to register his hand knocking until the door swished open, revealing a radiant Starfire.
"Yes, Robin?" She asked, staring at him with those eyes that made him want to give her anything she asked.
"Uhhhh..." Try as he might, Robin couldn't seem to form words.
"Is there something you wish to ask me?"
"Uhhh... Yeah." Ever the silver-tongued orator, the boy stood with a nervous smile stretching at his face.
"Very well," the Tamaranean said. "You are most welcome to ask."
Unfathomable minutes or seconds passed in the struggle to speak, until he finally managed to blurt, "Saturday night?"
Starfire's breath caught. "Is... is this to be a date, Robin?"
He nodded, face contorting into what he hoped was a reassuring smile.
The resulting squeal of happiness was just enough warning for Robin to brace for impact as he was tackled into a floating hug.
Beast Boy wandered down the hall to the common room, hoping to commandeer the couch and Gamestation before Cyborg returned, only to find the former occupied by a blue-cloaked figure holding a piece of paper. Her expression could charitably be described as puzzled.
"Whatcha got there, Raven?" he asked.
The empath merely held up the scrap and waved it at him. Taking the hint, he leaned in close and read aloud.
"'I would be very happy to attempt the dating with...'" A huge grin split his face. "So she actually did it."
"Did what?" Raven asked, setting the paper back down.
Garfield let out a chuckle. "Well, after you told Starfire to drop lots of hints, she asked me how one goes about doing that. I told her that on Earth we have a tradition of leaving pieces of paper with hints on them where we know the person they're intended for will find them."
Raven arched an eyebrow.
"Hey, it's pretty much the exact opposite of subtle. Figured that's precisely what Boy Blunder needed. I'll be the first to admit that guys can be dense."
The empath sat still for a moment, then shrugged. "It appears to have been just idiotic enough to have worked."
He chuckled. "Who da beast?" He indicated himself with a pair of thumbs. "That's right. Beast Boy da beast."
Raven rolled her eyes in that eloquent way that only Raven could manage.
"Say, I'm gonna be playing Gamestation if it's okay with you, Rae. Don't suppose you'd wanna join in?" He shot her his most winning smile, knowing full well she would never in a million years say yes.
The near-infinitesimal smile he received, though, was totally worth it. "That's all right, Beast Boy," she said, then rose to her feet. "I'm about due for an extra round of meditation after all this commotion today."
He nodded and smiled. "All right. Enjoy," he said with a wave as she walked down the hall.
With the common room all to himself, Garfield settled in to get his Mega Monkeys fix.
An hour or so later, he strode down the hall, humming a selection from the game's horribly catchy soundtrack. As he reached his room and wandered inside, a scrap of parchment fluttered into the air. Catching it before it hit the ground, he silently read the impeccable, flowing script.
If Beast Boy asked me out sometime, I would probably say yes.
The green boy flopped onto his lower bunk, a huge smile spreading across his features. "Duuuuude."