A Friend In Need.
Disclaimer: Jack owns no Titans.
A slight departure from the theme with this one but an idea popped into my head about Cyborg, everyone's favourite cybernetic superhero! This can still be considered part of the same universe as my other two stories, set after 'Beast Outta the Bag' and 'A Day In the Life of Braven'. Indeed, I will probably reference one or both of them. How might the fifth member of the team, who arguably has the biggest problem regarding companionship, feel about seeing his friends prancing around him holding hands and making googly-eyes?
This is the third part of my little series, after A Day In the Life of Braven. First is the multi-chapter 'Beast Outta the Bag'.
Raven and Beast Boy lay, together, on Raven's bed (fully clothed!). Their eyes were closed but they weren't asleep, Raven's head curled into Beast Boy's chest with one arm behind her neck, the other gently stroking her arm. Both of the heroes were enjoying the closeness, though Raven had an ulterior motive: she was attempting to get herself more and more used to close, physical contact with Beast Boy, one step towards intimacy. Beast Boy had jokingly (and privately) begun to refer to Raven's steps as 'Raven's Road-Map to Sex', but at times like this, really didn't care. She was in his arms and the novelty wasn't wearing off. Occasionally, when the reality of the goal set in, he became flustered and twitchy around Raven but most times, like now, he just let it all go. She was warm, at peace and he could feel her steady heartbeat in his own chest... bliss. Like most things, however, there must come an end, and Raven's curiosity had been gnawing at her...
"Garfield?" she murmured. Even now, the way she said his name caused his pulse to quicken.
"Mm-hmmmm?" he answered, drowsily.
"When you told Cyborg and Nightwing about the first time we held hands..." Raven began. Beast Boy remembered the event vividly. Holding someone's hand... for most people a friendly but largely insignificant gesture. For Raven, it was a monumental sign of trust and a rare, overt show of affection. Starfire must have told her about the beginning of the conversation, which she had overheard before giving the "boys" their privacy.
"What about it, Rae?" he encouraged.
"... What did they say?" she finished. He was slightly confused: all their friends had been very supportive of them. So why was Raven worrying about thair little conversation now? He decided to answer honestly, for now and deduce her motivations later.
"They were...supportive, I guess. At first." Raven's eyebrow arched in question.
"Only at first?!" she asked, slightly shocked.
"No, no, Rae, it's not that they stopped or anything, they just... had to put it on hold for a bit. Cy kinda... threatened me. Nightwing joined in at the end but Cy did most of the talking."
"They threatened you?!" Raven said, completely baffled now. Beast Boy seemed to be amused and slightly surprised at her confusion.
"You don't get it, Rae? Okay, I'll tell you exactly what he said. First, he said that you didn't have anyone to look out for you... family, y'know?" Beast Boy said. Raven was no closer to enlightenment and suddenly felt rather small...
"Oh..." she whispered, unwittingly moving closer to Beast Boy. Seeing she still didn't understand, he continued...
"Then, Rae... he gets this look in his eyes. I mean, he'd looked kinda uncomfortable since he started but then he looked at me like... like he might look at a bad guy, I guess. Right then he wasn't Cy, my cybernetic super-friend but Cyborg: badass Titan. He looked me right in the eye and just said, 'she has me. You get me?' and then Nightwing said that included him, too. Then I guess I might have said I would never hurt you and we talked about movies instead." Raven was flabbergasted! She supposed she should have been used to her friends' loyalty by now but, because of her fragile emotions, they rarely made any public shows of emotion toward her. First, she pecked Beast Boy on the lips for saying he would 'never hurt her', then became quiet and thoughtful...
"I want to do something for him," she said after a few more minutes.
"Cyborg?" Beast Boy asked. Raven only nodded. "Not Nightwing?"
"Maybe," Raven conceded. "But it feels like I need to thank Cyborg with more than just a 'thank-you'. I'm not sure what to do, though... "
"I could try and think of something-" Beast Boy started before Raven silenced him with another peck.
"Don't strain yourself, Garfield." The comment wasn't genuine, so Beast Boy pouted playfully.
"I know they say you hurt the one you love, Rae... but-" he was interrupted again.
"Then I must love you a lot!" Raven quipped, smirking now. Beast Boy raised his hands in mock surrender, not even attempting to hide his smile at her words.
"Okay, okay! You don't want my help, I get it." Raven kissed him again.
"Sorry, Garfield... I want this to be something from me. Do you understand?" Raven said. Beast Boy smiled wider and rested his chin on top of her head, still buried in his chest.
"I understand, Rae. Though I think I earned some kind of extra boyfriend-credit for taking all of that awful abuse," he said, winking at her. She smiled shyly at him... and then uttered her mantra:
"Azerath Metrion Zinthos..." somehow, she had managed to say the words seductively, at least Beast Boy thought so, and black energy wrapped around the changeling, suspending him, face-down, above the bed. Before he could register alarm, he caught sight of Raven beneath him, playfully nibbling her own finger. Any objections died in his throat as he forgot to breathe. Raven's other hand moved slowly down her stomach to the waist of her grey jeans, then fisted in the hem of her plain, white t-shirt. Beast Boy's eyes widened and watered - he dare not blink! - as Raven slowly lifted her shirt. He saw flawless, grey skin and just caught a glance of her navel... then he was in the shower. His shower. Sitting on the floor. As he took in his new surroundings, a black nimbus appeared around the shower controls and icy water sprayed down upon him. He pouted for real this time... her teasing was getting mean! Then he remembered what he had seen before she had teleported him here and looked up at the shower head...
"Cold shower... probably a good idea."
Over the next few days, Raven... observed Cyborg. She wasn't sure what she was looking for but her instincts told her this was the right course of action. She didn't see him drool over a new game or movie, didn't hear him talk about a new gadget or CD he might want... but she did start to see something. While she watched him so closely, she inadvertently tuned her empathy into his aura. When she realised, she made sure she didn't pry too deeply, only 'seeing' his surface emotions. Everything seemed normal: she saw the flash of anger when they fought crime, the spark of humour when he joked with Beast Boy, the flush of competition when he played games with Beast Boy and Nightwing... and when he saw one of the two couples show affection, there was the undeniable flavour of joy: he was happy for his friends. But there was something else underneath and Raven couldn't identify it, at first. It wasn't there when Beast Boy told her a joke or when Starfire practically sang greetings to Nightwing... but it was there when Starfire embraced Nightwing, when Beast Boy clutched her hand. After some time and meditation, the answer was clear: the mystery sensation wasn't envy, or awkwardness... it was loss. When it was there in front of her, Raven finally understood... he wasn't jealous of their relationships.
"He can't feel it. When he touches someone... he can't feel it," Raven whispered to the darkness of her room, lost in her epiphany. The sheer unfairness of it nearly overwhelmed her control and her bookcase shook violently for a second. Even after she calmed her emotions, a few tears emerged from her eyes. Without another word, she marched to her now perfectly still bookcase and retrieved a few volumes, returning to her bed to read.
Beast Boy was miserable. For the last week, he and Raven had spent very little time together, in fact they really only spent mealtimes together. Occasionally, he had been allowed in her room when she took a break to get some tea. But it never lasted. He understood she was doing something for his friend and so he bore it as well as he could but... oh god, he was pining! Now he felt even more miserable. Seemingly in answer to his prayers, Raven appeared in front of him, excitement in her eyes. She searched the common room before her eyes fell on Beast Boy, and she pressed her lips to his, urgently. The smile never left her face... she was clearly pleased about something.
"Garfield! I've finished what I was working on for Cyborg. Do you know where he is?" she said, the same excitement showing in her voice. He tried to be disappointed she wasn't there just for him but her joy was contagious and he found himself smiling back.
"He got a new part in the mail this morning so he's probably in the garage. Wh-" before he could ask any more, Raven was gone again. He sat back down and waited again, this time with a patient smile on his face.
Cyborg stood in the garage, admiring the view under the T-Car's hood and wiping the oil from his hands with a rag. Raven appeared next to him, causing him to jump.
"Whoa! Little warning, Raven?" he said. She closed her eyes for a moment, seemingly trying to calm herself. He had no idea what might have got her wound up in the first place.
"Garfield told me what you said... about me having no family to look out for me." she said, tone flat. He blanked for a second before the recollection hit him, then he looked at the floor sheepishly: had he upset her?
"Raven, I was just-"he started.
"Then... he told you said that I... that I have you." Raven said, her voice breaking slightly. Cyborg looked back at her now, relief in his eyes.
"Well... yeah, Raven." he mumbled. What she said next felt like icy claws in his heart.
"I know we've been hurting you... all of us... when we hold each other. Touch each other. Kiss each other." Cyborg's relief turned to despair at her words. He had been in denial, he supposed. Now that choice was taken from him.
"Raven... why would you-"Cyborg started, but Raven didn't let him finish.
"I brought you this. Put it on." Raven held up a glittering, silver chain with a few solid pieces in amongst the links, each engraved with arcane runes. "It's a glamour charm... sort of." Cyborg understood enough about magic to know what a glamour charm might be. A disguise or decoy, similar to his holo-rings. He put it on, unsure what to expect when he looked down at himself... no difference. White metal and blue lights. For some reason, his despair grew. Then Raven reached out and put her hand on his arm... and he cried out. She moved her hand across the surface of his arm before clutching it in both of her own, holding herself to his side.
He felt every single thing.
Experimentally, he reached up with his other, shaking hand and lightly touched the metallic half of his face, eyes closed. He whimpered when he made contact. Again, he could feel the touch in his hand and face. He could feel Raven's heartbeat through his other arm, still held by the demoness. She let go when he pulled his arm from her, looking at his face with a small but heartfelt smile on her own, unshed tears shining in her eyes. She could see his aura again: it was bright with hope, disbelief and joy. As she stared, the man fell to his knees, gazing at his hands in wonderment. Then he turned his eyes to Raven, still unable to speak, and pulled her into a gentle but irresistible embrace, standing again and unwittingly lifting her feet from the floor. He could feel her warmth, feel her heartbeat again... he could even feel her breath against his neck.
"Raven...thank you so, so much. I don't know how I could repay y-" he was interrupted, yet again, by Raven.
"I didn't do this for repayment, Cybor-...Victor. I did it because, even though you might not have any family to watch out for you, you have me... you get me?" she finished with a smirk. Hearing his own words from Raven was too much for Cyborg and he began to laugh and cry at the same time.
"I get you, Rae," he sobbed. Regretfully, Raven separated herself from her friend.
"Victor, I have to go...your emotions, they-"
"It's okay, Rae. Go straighten your head out. I'm gonna stay here for a while. Don't tell anyone yet, okay? Let me try and wrap my head around it first." he said.
"Of course, Victor. We'll be waiting." With those last words, Raven teleported back to her room, needing to meditate. Cyborg moved around the garage, arbitrarily holding or touching various items and tools, feeling the coldness of the metal workbench or the roughness of scrap wood. Raven's words echoed in his head - 'you have me' - and a trembling, watery grin grew on his face.
Up in her room, even as she meditated, reciting her mantra, Raven smiled her almost-smile as, even from this distance, she felt her friend's joy grow and grow.
Well, there we go. The idea I had was just for Cyborg but some random, slightly saucy BBRae fluff got in there somehow. I have a problem. Even so, I'm fairly pleased with this. As I wrote, I decided I wanted to show how her relationship with Beast Boy might affect her relationships with the other characters. Starfire got some Raven-hugs in the main story so maybe I need something about her or BB's friendship with Nightwing next. Ah, I'll just wait and see what nonsense my brain spits out. Laters, y'all!
P.S. To continue this story, read the one-shot, 'A Friend Indeed'. Fair warning! It's rated M, though there isn't any lemon content.