Beast Outta the Bag
Disclaimer: I don't own anything yada yada...
My Titans are gonna be a bit older... early twenties, say. I may mention other heroes from the comics but it shouldn't prove an obstacle if you don't know them. Failing that, google is your friend ;)
Edit - This is the first in my little series, so go ahead and enjoy!
Beast Boy had guilt. And guilt sucks. He hadn't done anything you could say was wrong, exactly...but he felt he was using something important for selfish reasons. This, of course, makes no sense without context but that means a flashback! Okay, rewind...
"STANKBALL!" Whoop, too far, forward a bit. There we go.
Beast Boy had not stopped grinning since he and his team had arrived on the JLA Watchtower. They met semi-regularly with the Justice Society of America to maintain ties, update pertinent information and trade stories, usually with a buffet. This time, however, the two veteran teams had extended invitations to other groups of crimefighters including the Shadowpact, Doom Patrol and the Titans. It was mostly informal, as usual, but there were a few scheduled events and presentations as well. Beast Boy looked around him, trying to see what his teammates were up to:
Nightwing, formerly Robin, was standing with Batman, apparently introducing himself to the new Robin. This boy, Beast Boy knew, would be the third Robin after the short and tragic career of the second, but he didn't know his name.
Starfire was making a deliberate effort to mingle with as much of the crowd as possible but, at the moment, had stopped to chat to Green Lantern and Superman about extraterrestrial events, something she simply couldn't do at home.
Cyborg was standing near a table demonstrating several examples of technology confiscated from villains like Lex Luthor, T.O. Morrow, Professor Ivo and, supplied by Cyborg himself, Gizmo. Other tech experts like Mr Terrific and Red Tornado, as well as a few civilian attendees like Will Magnus, listened dutifully, occasionally asking questions or contributing information or opinions. Cyborg was in his element.
Raven had also found a group of people who shared her interests. She quietly conversed with Zatanna, Doctor Fate and the Enchantress about various magics they had learned and discovered.
Beast Boy smiled at the sight. She had been nervous that the other magic users would dismiss her as the child of a demon, though she hadn't admitted it. Even so, Beast Boy had known: he was an expert in Raven-watching. Even now, he found his gaze lingering a little too long. When Robin had transitioned to Nightwing, he said everyone else should think about any uniform changes they might want to make. Raven had been the only one to make any significant alterations, moving from a leotard to a full-body uniform but still wearing her cloak and belt. Beast Boy had been surprised by his own disappointment when Raven appeared with covered legs but, naturally, kept it to himself. This had been the point when Beast Boy began to consciously realise his attraction to Raven. After all, as an adolescent boy fighting crime with two pretty adolescent girls, he had quickly come to terms with his hormones out of necessity, letting go of any guilt he experienced when he would unwittingly glance at Starfire's backside or Raven's legs. But there is a big difference between subconsciously admiring someone and being genuinely dismayed when they stop showing skin! After a brief panic, Beast Boy made the excuse to himself that he was finally losing control of his hormones and, as Starfire was spoken for, Raven was the obvious choice for this childish infatuation. Crisis solved, Beast Boy went abot his life as usual, even as a small part of him decided Raven's new snug-in-all-the-right-places uniform had its own virtues.
While Beast Boy's train of thought hovered around her style of dress, Raven herself looked away from Zatanna and Fate's conversation for a moment to see the changeling looking in her direction. She offered him an almost-smile and waved casually before turning back to the discussion, briefly reminiscing to herself about how she and Beast Boy had regularly argued in their teenage years. Their relationship now was much calmer (but not completely without arguments, pranks or the occasional awful joke: it seemed Beast Boy would remain Beast Boy, even in manhood). Her almost-smile grew imperceptibly wider, then she returned her attention to the people in front of her.
Beast Boy had been startled out of his reverie when Raven had noticed him but had reacted quickly and simply waved back. Instances where he got lost while staring like that had completely destroyed his hormones excuse, even in his own mind. There were other instances, too... like when Raven had begun meditating straight away after returning from a bank robbery. This meant she was still wearing her uniform. When she finished, she unfolded from the lotus position and, apparently, saw a wrinkle in the material around her left leg. Beast Boy, now in civvies and watching TV (with headphones after one too many arguments with the demoness), had been watching idly up to this point, sipping soda from a can. Then, in an effort to eliminate the wrinkle, Raven smoothly bent over while keeping her leg carefully straight, running her hands down the back of her calf. Beast Boy promptly choked on his beverage, convinced that A) Raven had no idea he was there and B) he would never again be able to refer to his infatuation as 'childish'. Raven quickly stood up straight, a blush of embarrassment dusting her cheeks both for the "pose" she had been striking and the fact that she hadn't noticed Beast Boy's presence. Her embarrassment quickly turned to anger and she raised an eyebrow at Beast Boy, daring him to say what caused his outburst...but that time, he was saved. He wordlessly pointed at the TV screen and, when Raven moved to look, she saw a music video featuring a small army of swimsuit models. She shook her head at Beast Boy's behaviour (and her own) and left with only one parting word:
Beast Boy shook his head, trying to force the recollection away. He looked around the collection of superheroes again, this time looking for someone else. He was becoming increasingly paranoid that Raven would discover his secret...that, even though he knew she would never deliberately violate his privacy, one day his ever-increasing feelings for her would be too "loud" for her not to sense them. He found his quarry and moved through the crowd. The target saw him as he approached, smiled and held out his hand which Beast Boy shook with a smile of his own.
"Garfield Logan. Most people know me as Beast Boy, though..."
"J'onn Jonzz. Most people know me as the Martian Manhunter."
"Good to meet you, Mr. Jonzz. If it's alright, I have a professional favour to ask." J'onn nodded his head, indicating he should go on. Beast Boy took a deep breath: he had been practising this question since yesterday. "I'd like to learn more about shielding my thoughts or feelings from psychics and empaths.."
As the Titans returned home, Garfield reflected that J'onn had earnestly taught him everything a non-psychic could do to protect their thoughts and emotions or, at least, as much as he could in the time they had. Now Beast Boy, as he bid the others goodnight and walked to his room, was using that training to hide his crush from a girl. An empathic girl, yes but that was basically it. He scowled at himself a little...now he had guilt. And guilt sucks.