Author's Note: This one-shot popped into my head and threatened to murder me from the inside if I ignored it. It's fluffy and fun and silly and, hopefully, accurate and in-character. Rated for mild language and certain themes.
The entire last scene was heavily and unrepentantly inspired by Gretlusky's (gretlusky . tumblr . com) drawing, which is the photo I paired with this fic. You can also find her on DeviantArt under the username gretlusky (formerly Rachel1466). She's my favorite ever, and I hope I did her artwork some justice.
Reviews of any kind – suggestions, praise, flames, whatever – are entirely welcome!
Beast Boy's controller dropped brusquely from his hands, parallel to the way his mouth now hung agape as he stared at the Tamaranean in disbelief.
"You mean you just realized?" he asked incredulously. "You've been here for like four years!"
Starfire's face flushed a deeper shade of tangerine as she took a seat on the massive faux-leather sofa beside the changeling. Cyborg, intrigued by where this conversation might lead, took a moment to pause the video game that was currently flashing on the television screen. It was not typical that the pair of friends could be pulled away from one of their GameStation matches, and even Raven closed her book as she sat quietly on the other side of the couch.
"Yes," the princess responded, her voice growing tender and doubtful. "I admit, I have been quite perplexed on the matter for some time."
Cyborg tittered blithely and playfully, "Well duh, girl. When we aren't watching horror or action or suspense flicks on Thursdays, you're the one who usually picks out a Rom-Com for us."
Starfire looked at him peculiarly, his reference completely lost on her. As she usually did when she found something one of the boys said to be confusing, the princess turned her face towards her best friend for enlightenment.
"'Rom-Com' is short for 'Romantic-Comedy'," Raven explained. The sorceress dully noted that Cyborg had taken this opportunity to begin excitedly whispering something to Beast Boy while the Tamaranean's attention was elsewhere. Bringing her eyes back to the princess, she continued. "Have you ever noticed that once a month, I tend to inexplicably miss movie night?"
Starfire's eyes narrowed slightly and she gasped as the realization hit her. She pointed at Raven accusingly. "You have been purposefully missing out on the night of 'Rom-Coms' all this time?!"
This reverted the boys' attention back to the matter at hand, and they turned back to face Raven with annoyed expressions. Cyborg crossed his arms and stared gravely at the empath. "Rae," he said with a scolding tone.
"Victor," she said in mock response, crossing her arms to mimic him.
"If I can sit through yo stanky gore and horror movies, you can deal with Star's Rom-Coms," he said, not permitting the sorceress to get under his skin.
"Dude," Beast Boy said, now turning to Starfire. "What did you think they were doing?" he asked disbelievingly, a slight grin beginning to inch across his face.
All eyes were now focused on the amber-skinned beauty as she responded. "I did not know. Robin has mentioned that the natives of Earth cannot use the action as a means to transfer language, but when I attempted to ask him..."
"Lemme guess," the mechanical man interrupted with a chuckle, placing his controller on the floor. "He started sweatin', and made up some sort of excuse before running away?"
The inquiry didn't even warrant a verbal response, for the discomfited smirk and the orange glow in Starfire's cheeks said everything.
"He was probably crying," the changeling chimed in with a snicker.
"He was probably pissing his pants," added Raven, causing the mechanical man and the green Titan to erupt into giggle fits beside her on the sofa. Even the empath's face donned a rare, engaging smile. She turned to Starfire, ignoring the boys' cackling. "How'd you figure it out?"
"I utilized the internet," she responded humbly.
There was a pause in the room. Cyborg and Beast Boy stopped laughing to themselves momentarily as they waited for the silence to be broken. After all, the other Titans knew that the internet could be a terrifying place. In the end, it was the empath who broke the tension.
"You... did research on the internet... on kissing?"
Starfire smiled, fumbling with her hands on her lap blushingly. "I had not realized that on this planet, the pressing together of lips might elicit romantic or sexual pleasure. Tamaraneans do not possess the same neurological processes as humans, so I do not believe the 'kissing' releases hormones, or the Tamaranean equivalent, in a comparable manner."
"So that's a 'yes'?"
"I..." the princess began, her face turning an even more vibrant and impressive hue of orange. "I also did not realize that the Google would... produce such a wide and... creative variety of images on the subject matter..."
Cyborg and Beast Boy exploded into a hysterical fit of laughter so large and boisterous that it may have registered on California's Richter scale. Tears streamed down the edge of the changeling's face, his forest eyes wrinkled at the sides, and one of Cyborg's mechanical lungs nearly collapsed in on itself. All the while, Starfire and Raven sat uncomfortably and cross on the common room sofa. Embarrassment blanketed their faces.
"I'm gonna have a blast goin' through the this month's browser history," Cyborg said, laughing so hard that he rolled around backwards over Beast Boy on the couch, effectively squishing him.
The empath reached out briefly towards Starfire and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Remind me later to give you a better lesson on using the computer," she muttered gently to the princess, who nodded intensely.
Nearly a half hour later, after the laughter had died down, Starfire opened her mouth once more. She'd originally entered the room with a purpose, and now that her friends had settled down, she wished to finally enlist their help. She'd learned the hard way that the internet could not be trusted on such matters.
"Friends," the princess said, eliciting the room's attention, "I am… deeply saddened by my discovery. I do not possess the same endorphins that humans do. What if I am to never feel the chemical pleasure of the Earthly kissing?"
Cyborg paused the GameStation once more and looked at Starfire questioningly. Beast Boy and Raven similarly ceased in their activities, devoting their attention to their amber-skinned friend.
"Do Tamaraneans fall in love?" the mechanical man asked.
This warranted a nod from the princess. "It is somewhat rare. The vast majority of our marriages are arranged, based on a complex caste system, but yes. Tamaraneans know love." Starfire beamed to herself, the ephemeral desire to fly filling her heart momentarily. "Despite the fact that Tamaraneans have always been a race of warriors, we know love better than any other beings in our galaxy… Perhaps even better than Earthlings."
Cyborg smiled. "Alright, good sign! And, uhh, is it enjoyable for Tamaraneans to… reproduce?"
"Reproduce, or consummate love?" Starfire queried in return.
The changeling, the empath, and the mechanical man all looked at the princess skeptically. "There's a difference?" Beast Boy asked.
"Typical," Raven muttered. The green Titan shot the sorceress a dirty look.
"I dunno," the cybernetic man responded to the Tamaranean, "Either, I guess?"
Starfire contemplated his words carefully. "On my planet, there is a stark difference between consummating love and reproducing, even if both actions entail the same general process," she explained, earning absorbed and attentive glances from her fellow Titans. She continued, "While there is no such thing as romantic kissing on my planet, Tamaraneans very commonly express themselves through touch. Reproduction is done exclusively in order to populate Tamaran, enlarge families, or pass down royal bloodlines, and does not involve virtually any of the touching. Making love, however, involves a variety –"
Beast Boy coughed loudly, forcibly quieting the princess. "Look, Star, I don't know anything about chemicals in the brain, but if your people can fall in love and enjoy being physical and stuff, then I'm sure when you finally kiss a guy... well, you know, really kiss someone, and not just to transfer language or whatever... you'll really like it." He exhaled heavily, seemingly relieved of the burden of continuing this line of conversation.
"Poetic," Raven answered sarcastically, though her remark went unnoticed.
"Yeah," Cyborg added, putting his hand reassuringly on Starfire's back. "I'm sure kissing will be great for ya. All magic and rainbows."
She smiled weakly at him in response. She didn't seem entirely convinced. "Thank you, friend. Do you know this from experience?"
The mechanical man went rather wide-eyed, but before he could respond, the changeling piped in. His tone was sharp with his typical mockery. "Yeah, Cy! You talkin' from firsthand experience, dude? Why don't ya share?"
Instantaneously, Cyborg clammed up. "I told you, BB, I ain't talking about this."
Starfire looked at him with confusion. "Are you ashamed of the person you have done the kissing with?" Cyborg removed his hand from the princess's back as the changeling began cackling once more. Despite Beast Boy's obvious amusement in the ordeal, Starfire pressed forward. "Why would you partake in the kissing if you felt shame? I thought that it was meant to be a glorious occurrence."
"WELL, Star," Beast Boy began loudly, physically inserting himself between the mechanical man and the Tamaranean. He threw his arms around each of them, holding them in a forced hug. His smile and tone grew so viciously and visibly devious that Raven let out a preemptive groan as she picked up her book. "How long were you on the internet earlier? 'Cuz there's this whole thing called 'forbidden romance' –"
Starfire gasped excitedly. "Such as the story of Romeo and Juliet?"
"JUST like that!" Beast Boy grinned in response.
The mechanical man fumed. "Shut it, B," he said, shoving the changeling onto the floor, giving him a mouthful of carpet.
"Cyborg, have you shared the forbidden romance? That is most exhilarating news!" the princess bellowed, beginning to clap. "Oh, Cyborg, you must share!"
"C'mon, Cy, you must," Beast Boy reinforced slyly.
That was the mechanical man's final straw. "Oh, nuh-uh, hell no," he said, shaking his head dramatically and standing from the couch. Ignoring the presences of both females in the room, Cyborg once more shoved the changeling face-first into the carpet before turning on his toes. Heading towards the automatic doors without looking back, his voice demonstrated clear irritation. "I'm out," he insisted as he decidedly exited the common room without another word.
When he had made his exit, Raven remarked without looking up from her book. "That was mean."
"T'was all in good fun," the changeling responded with a shrug of his shoulders. "Besides, I owe him. You wouldn't believe the shit he gives me about girls."
"I think I would."
Later, after the princess had yet again roped the room into a conversation about romance, Starfire clasped her hands together and her eyes grew very large. "Have you partaken in the romantic kissing, Beast Boy? I am very curious to know what it is like, and if the Earthly movies portray it accurately."
"Once," he said, his eyes growing sad as he looked away from Starfire and Raven. As the words rolled off his tongue, the empath quickly forced her attention back down at her lap where her book lay, but the princess kept her focus attentively on the changeling as he seemed to adventure through the realms of nostalgia. After a few moments, his ears twitched downward, and Beast Boy continued. "Well, kinda. Almost," he revised. Starfire eyed him curiously, but hesitated to press the matter. "The point is that I know all that romance stuff is real."
"Joyous!" Starfire exclaimed. "So, then, the Rom-Coms are correct in their depictions of the romantic kissing?"
Raven scoffed, finally looking up from her book. She'd been stuck on the same page since Starfire had first walked into the room some time ago. "Not a chance. Movies always dramatize everything."
"How would you know?" Beast Boy asked critically, his tone brimming with recognizable violation.
The empath's left eye twitched slightly at his outburst. "Because I'm a realist and an empath, and I'm not an immense, sickening sap like you two are," she said sharply, snapping her book closed. As she did so, a cloud of dust spewed out from between the pages.
"I think you're more of a pessimist," Beast Boy responded, crossing his arms. Raven merely snorted sarcastically at the changeling. He turned his attention back to Starfire, whose face always illustrated exactly what she felt. At the present, it exemplified a mixture of disappointment and confusion. "Star, I swear, it's all real!" he insisted, extending his arms to accentuate the matter. "I mean, there's no like... background music, or anything, but there's definitely fireworks and tinglies and butterflies!"
"Tinglies?" the empath repeated questioningly, donning a smirk.
"Butterflies?" Starfire asked, evidently lost at the expression.
"Butterflies refer to a melodramatic feeling some people get when they're infatuated or excited by something," Raven explained unhurriedly. She almost seemed nauseated by the notion. "It got its name because it supposedly feels like there are tiny butterflies floating around in your stomach."
Starfire's eyes immediately grew reminiscent. Springtime memories from years ago of sitting atop a Ferris wheel surrounded by the vibrant luminosity of fireworks filled her mind, warming her soul. Her memories transformed, empowered by nostalgia, somersaulting over one-another in her heart. Starfire thought back to diving off the edge of an alien cliff when she'd felt perhaps the most joyous she'd ever been. She remembered clandestine hallway conversations, standing so close to one-another she could feel the warmth of another's breath on her cheeks. The nostalgia of sharing a rose-hued twilight dance aboard a yacht swelled elatedly within the princess's belly.
Very humbly, Starfire raised a surprised hand to the corners of her mouth. "I see," she said with clarity.
"But that's all bullshit," Raven retorted, ignoring the starry-eyed look in Starfire's expression. "The phenomena of romance and butterflies are only in a person's head."
The changeling jumped up from the floor, shaking his head adamantly. "You're wrong, Rae," he insisted deafeningly. His voice rang insistently and passionately. "It's definitely real. All of it. You just have to get kissed by the right person."
The empath rolled her eyes at him.
"I am aware that I am not the most knowledgeable source on the matter," Starfire interpolated, smiling tenderly from the sofa, "But I must agree with Beast Boy. The butterflies surely do exist."
"Ah-HAH!" he exclaimed, looking towards the empath but extending his arms in Starfire's direction to emphasize his point. "EXACTLY."
Raven crossed her arms. "Starfire didn't even know what kissing was until today."
"I wish I could see a candid example of the romantic kissing," Starfire said, looking to the floor, paying less than a fleeting moment of attention to Raven's comment. She seemed to brim with melancholy. "I would hate to think that I am waiting for a feeling that does not exist."
As if a light bulb illuminated and exploded above his spontaneous green head, Beast Boy shot a glance towards Raven. He grinned at her, slyly and shrewdly.
"What?" Raven asked in her deadpan. After a moment, though, the realization of his implicit request registered in her mind, and her cheeks flushed wildly. She nearly choked as she inhaled. "You're kidding, right?" she asked rhetorically, her voice cracking in unison with a window in the distance.
This caught Starfire's attention – as did the minor explosion which seemed to have originated somewhere in the kitchen – and indelicately ripped her out of her downheartedness. Momentarily, she stared inquiringly at her empathetic friend for answers, but when Raven stubbornly refused to even acknowledge the Tamaranean's questioning glance, a warm sense of understanding washed over the princess.
"Ohh," she giggled quietly, deciding that perhaps she should remain unobtrusive for the remainder of the conversation.
Beast Boy merely shrugged wordlessly in response to the females, still grinning idiotically, though the green in his cheeks now hinted at crimson, as well.
The empath obstinately crossed her arms tighter in front of her chest. "You're out of your mind," she stated simply, pointing her nose towards the ceiling. "The mere idea is the most preposterous, impudent, disturbing –"
"Sexy, exciting, and fun idea I've ever suggested?" the changeling interjected in a mock attempt to finish Raven's rant. Her mouth gaped open at his audacity, soon to be followed by a wild twitching within her right eye. Beast Boy cackled nervously. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding!" he swore quickly, not wanting the sorceress to toss him from the living room window. "But, I mean, how else is Star gonna know what a real, awesome, unscripted kiss is like?"
Raven stared at the changeling incredulously. "Why don't you kiss her so she can find out?"
"No way," Beast Boy responded perhaps a bit too hurriedly. He glanced at Starfire, who was now raising an offended eyebrow at him. He cleared his throat and pulled at the collar of his shirt before turning back to the sorceress. "Besides," he coughed, "I don't wanna take Star's first kiss from her. Robin would slaughter me and you know it."
The princess cracked a smile, shared briefly with the empath, and Raven sighed. Before she could capitalize the opportunity to give her rebuttal, however, each of the Titans' communicators beeped.
'Anyone free to help me in the garage?' read the text message that Robin had sent out to his team as part of a group message.
Beast Boy, having extensive experience with pressing buttons quickly, was able to respond before Raven or Starfire had even finished reading the message. 'Sorry dude, booked all afternoon trying to exorcise some really ugly demon outta Rae. I think I'm winning!' He let out another cackle as both females opened the new message as they received it, taking particular note of Raven's livid expression as she used her telekinesis to toss her communicator to the other side of the room.
Cyborg's group message was received next. 'I ain't talking to NONE of ya'll.' Starfire seemed too preoccupied typing up a message of her own to read it, but the changeling let out enough hooting for the both of them.
'I am available and shall await your presence in the garage,' Starfire's message read, and she floated up from her comfortable seat on the sofa. "I must go, friends," she giggled, waving goodbye to the chromatically challenged Titans. "Thank you for your valuable knowledge on the subjects of romance, Earthly kissing, and the sensation of the butterflies!"
After the princess exited the common room, Beast Boy and Raven sat in a heavy, sore stillness before mutely returning to their own activities. The changeling reluctantly picked up his GameStation controller, sifting silently through single-player games, trying to decide which one he should play. Meanwhile, the empath reopened her book, attempting to dive back into the depths of it tales.
Neither Titan had much luck getting the afternoon's discussion off their minds.
Hours later, after the vermillion sun had set beyond the western edge of Titans Tower, a certain changeling lounged pensively atop the roof. He'd been out here for quite some time, halfheartedly pondering back to summers ago and sunflower hair and how he'd spent so many cinnabar evenings out here on this same rooftop. That was long ago – it felt so long ago that it could have been another lifetime – but the midsummer air brought brutal spurs of nostalgia with it.
In his right hand, he mindlessly fumbled with a butterfly hairclip.
The sky had not yet fallen into twilight, and the dusk zephyr felt calming and cool. Currently, Beast Boy leaned contemplatively into the buoyant wind, his right foot propped up on the roof's ledge, gazing out over the bay at Jump City. Every summer since the departure of that beeline honey hair and those illuminating celeste eyes, the changeling often found himself mulling it over atop the Tower. And with each passing year, the green Titan had grown more and more spirited; more healed and whole.
This year, although his thoughts still briefly skimmed over the carnival and the gaping cracks that ghosts had created in the city's concrete streets, Beast Boy felt frothy, weightless, and blithe. His summers no longer belonged to anyone but him.
Right as the changeling planned to pocket the butterfly clip and head back into his happy air-conditioned home, his ears perked at the discreet sound of the roof door opening. Lavender and chamomile filled his nostrils.
"Hey, Rae," he called before turning to her with his infamous, goofy smile.
Her face remained deadpan as she crossed the roof, joining him wordlessly at its edge. Beast Boy noted her silence and the way her thoughts so subtly shuffled across her face despite how hard she was attempting to hide them away.
The changeling sighed. "You really don't have to apologize every summer, Rae. It's okay."
Her vibrant indigo eyes met his with astonishment, betraying the pokerfaced expression she'd been going for. "I haven't apologized for anything," she stated, almost asserted, sounding overly wary.
"Not verbally," he replied, his comforting smile returning as he gazed at the butterfly clip between his fingers. "But you always come out and sit with me all quiet while I play with this stupid thing."
A delicate carnation color fluttered into Raven's cheeks. "I didn't mean for it to be so painfully obvious," she stated, her voice characteristically strident. After a moment, she asked, "Is that how you knew it was me before looking to see who opened the door?"
"Nah," he responded with a wave of his hand. He quit staring at the hairclip and turned his attention to the empath beside him, shooting her a toothy grin. "You smelled pretty, like candles and tea."
A vivacious blush would've spread across the sorceress's cheeks if she hadn't been so impressed. "I should stop underestimating you," she said, a miniscule smile hinting at the crevices of her lips.
"But I like blowing your mind," Beast Boy teased in response, waggling his eyebrows childishly. Raven groaned sarcastically in response, falling back into her typical silence.
Minutes later, as the sky made its transformation from cornflower to cobalt, Raven broke her muteness. "Sure you're okay, Gar?" she inquired genuinely. Serious moments seldom occurred between the chromatically challenged Titans, so she treaded cautiously.
Instead of responding to the empath's question, the changeling stared disparagingly at the butterfly clip for a heavy moment. To Raven's disbelief, another moment later, Beast Boy powerfully wound up his right arm and jettisoned the hairclip into the bay. They watched it float and flutter effervescently until it splashed lightly into the depths of the water. The sorceress looked at the changeling questioningly, an unintentional smile adorning her face, and Beast Boy merely grinned, shrugging his shoulders with distinct lightness. "It's time I've let it go."
Raven couldn't help but smile. "You deserve it," she said as Beast Boy wrapped his arms around her for a quick hug. She even returned it.
They stood together near the ledge of the room for some time longer before Raven once again broke the air's silence. "I've been wondering," she began, her voice no longer light or joking but also clearly not brimming with importance, either. Beast Boy turned to her, sincerely awaiting her question.
"Why were you so okay with taking my first kiss, but not Starfire's?"
Every hair on the changeling's arm stood up sharply. Raven looked at him expectantly, and Beast Boy cackled nervously. "I guess because Starfire knows exactly who she wants her first kiss to be," he said. "It would've felt so wrong for it to have been me, ya know?"
The empath mulled it over fleetingly, crossing her arms. "That's a bold assumption," she replied, narrowing her eyes. "What makes you think that I don't have someone specific in mind for my first kiss?"
Unintentionally, Beast Boy's ears twitched marginally downwards. His eyebrow jerked up skeptically, and he turned his body away from the bay and towards the empath. "Do you?"
Raven ripped her gaze away from the changeling and forced herself to look out at the city. "No," she said indignantly. "But I'm not about to let some pointy-toothed elf take my first kiss from me."
"You're just afraid I'm gonna woo you," the changeling pestered coyly, clearly teasing her. "You don't want me to sweep you off your feet!"
The sorceress's typically-pale face was blanketed with sunsets as she crossed her arms. "You're delusional," she remarked coquettishly.
Meanwhile, the changeling's tone was growing craftier and by the second. "C'mon, Rae, you're not even a little bit curious to see whether or not the tinglies really exist? I bet they doooo," he sang.
Her face was still sprinkled with pink, hiding behind the hood of her cloak. "No," she articulated far too quickly.
"And besides," Beast Boy continued, completely ignoring her, "Kissing a pointy-toothed elf would totally be at least a half-step up from an evil book-dragon." Raven quickly shot him a snarling, vicious glare. "No offense," he amended.
The sorceress exhaled loudly. Her arms were still crossed protectively around herself underneath her cloak. "Only some taken," she said dismissively. "You're… unfortunately right."
This perked Beast Boy's ears right back up into the air. "You know," he began, attempting to sound as nonchalant as possible, "We could… set up a little wager."
Raven eyed him suspiciously and silently, both of their faces growing maddeningly warm. The green Titan chuckled, "In the name of science, of course."
"Of course," she mimed, rolling her eyes. "Beast Boy, I already said that I'm not letting my first kiss get taken by –"
"OH OH OH," he interrupted, excitedly jumping in front of her, separating her from the bay. The summer wind was growing stronger as the nighttime air rolled in, and even the rooftop smelled of the sea. "But see, I wouldn't be taking your first kiss!" He paused dramatically before crossing his arms proudly. "You'd be taking mine!"
Raven stared at him incredulously for a long, hard moment, never ceasing her skeptical glare. "You do realize –"
"Sssshhhhh," Beast Boy said, putting a finger over her lips, though making sure to remove it briskly before the empath got the chance to bite it off. She stepped back from him, unimpressed, her arms still crossed reclusively around her chest. This did not deter the changeling, however; and as he simply filled the gap between them once again and put his arm around her, he explained on. "I bet that I can convince ya that butterflies are real. If I win, I get the satisfaction of being right!"
"For once," Raven chimed in sardonically. The longer she kept up her disinterested façade, the longer she could push the changeling away.
The changeling shot her a dirty look, but continued on. "If I lose, I die in a lonely pit of humiliation, and you get the satisfaction of being right." He smiled brightly at the empath, despite the fact that she looked so visibly uncomfortable. "Either way, since you'd be taking my first kiss, you technically have nothingto lose."
Raven rolled her eyes at Beast Boy again and groaned. "Nothing except my dignity."
"Plus," Beast Boy said, wiggling his eyebrows and moving closer to the dark Titan, "Wouldn't you rather your first kiss be with one of your best friends?" He stopped, flushed, and delicately removed Raven's hood from her head. His hands rested briefly on her shoulders as he stared directly into her lilac orbs.
"I don't know," she responded quietly. She couldn't stand the weighty silence that now hung between her violet eyes and his forest ones. It was easy for her to respond sarcastically to his jokes and teasing, but when he got serious, it felt almost impossible. Her gaze fell briefly to her feet. "I don't think I realized that anyone…"
Raven let her words fall from her mouth and hover in the summer air before flapping away. She looked at Beast Boy with curiosity and interest, her cheeks glowing.
"You're pretty," Beast Boy said meekly, squeezing her slender shoulders momentarily before releasing her from his touch. He let his hands fall to his sides. "And you're really smart. And you're cool, and you're a total badass… And you're fun, even if you don't realize it." His words trailed off, and the shape-shifter's face deepened with scarlet streaks. He turned his attention back onto the bay below that reached out towards Jump City. Fragmented lights from the city's skyscrapers were just beginning to turn on for the evening.
He hadn't meant to make the exchange so heavy. He hadn't meant to make it feel so tangible. For sure, he hadn't meant to sink his own battleship, exposing his weakness to the empath.
He hadn't meant to show Raven how much he'd clandestinely wanted it.
It was the final straw; the empath could no longer ignore the array of feelings that trickled out of the changeling's pores, nor the ones that spilled from her own, buzzing chaotically around her on the rooftop. Now that the green Titan was no longer so merry and playful, the empath had lost her sharp edge.
It had become too real for her to ignore.
Slowly and prudently, she turned her body completely away from the roof's ledge to face Beast Boy. Though he kept his gaze focused outwards on the bay and the city, his body curved towards hers, obligated by some sort of mystic magnetism. Every inch of her skin crawled with tension and anticipation. Delicately, peeking her left arm out from underneath her cloak, Raven brushed her fingers along the line of the changeling's jaw, softly compelling his face to meet hers.
Though Beast Boy was only an inch or two taller than the sorceress, he looked down at her with tenderness. His eyebrows relaxed as the empath took a step closer to him, almost entirely closing the space between their torsos, and inadvertently, a small, gentle smile inched across the changeling's lips. He let his arms lay tranquil at his side so as to not startle or pressure the gray-skinned beauty before him.
Ever so cautiously, Raven edged closer to the changeling, her left arm tenderly reaching for his chest. Her hand trembled, as did her breathing, but Beast Boy looked so composed and safe and alluring that it settled the nerves threatening to implode within her ribcage. As if second nature, her lips parted in anticipation as she continued to lean towards the changeling. Finally, her fingers rested on the fuchsia fabric of his uniform, and keeping her eyes locked on the jungle-colored wonders before hers, Raven surrendered, pressing her lips on Beast Boy's.
Her stomach churned and fluttered and soared.
The kiss was slow and soft and sweet, bursting with tiny whispers of what felt like exultant, delicious chaos – like an abnormally warm midsummer evening crisped with an autumnal breeze. Logic warred murderously with the arrhythmic pounding of her heart, so loud in Raven's ears that she forgot all about her stubborn pride and the changeling's silly bet and the hairclip floating to the bottom of the bay. She leaned into him further and more comfortably, and only then did Beast Boy wrap his arms around her back, cradling her slender frame even closer to his body.
Vital body processes, like breathing and thinking and pumping blood at a reasonable rate throughout the body, threatened to cease entirely, but neither the sorceress nor the shape-shifter noticed. In that solitary kiss, Beast Boy kissed the empath a thousand times, one for each day he'd wanted to since they'd met. In that one instant, Raven returned each and every one of the changeling's kisses, attempting to will time to skid into reverse.
She'd never expected the enticing heat that came alongside a kiss, especially when her whole world was always so chilled, and after a million microscopic millennia had passed, Raven separated her lips from Beast Boy's. Dizzy and thunderstruck, the empath allowed the changeling's arms to remain wrapped under hers and around her back.
Beast Boy looked equally as dazed. "See?" he remarked genuinely and unpretentiously, grins bursting at the seams of his tickling lips. Beaming, he basked in the warmth of the wind, never so thankful for the summertime. "Butterflies."
Raven shook her head, holding back the majority of a smile. "Tinglies."