Chapter 3

It was dark when they returned to the tower after a very long and restful day. They were covered in bug bites, Beast Boy didn't allow them to use bug spray as he claimed it gave him a headache, and Nightwing was particularly sun burnt. He was actually quite a sight to see, sprawled on the couch all pink and uncomfortable. But luckily Starfire was there to baby him and rub aloe on his burns.

"Why do I always forget to put on sunscreen?" Nightwing cursed. "I can orchestrate missions to take down the most insane criminal geniuses in the world but I can't remember to put on suntan lotion?"

"Perhaps it is because you forget how vulnerable your delicate skin is," Starfire suggested.

This caused Beast Boy and Cyborg to snort while Nightwing just felt all the more humiliated. "Just another reason I hate being the only 'normal' person on the team. No one else has to worry about getting fried under the sun."

"Excuse me?" Raven raised an eyebrow as she helped to put various things they'd taken to the park away. "Did I or did I not wear an obscenely large hat today in order to protect myself from the sun?"

"Yeah…well…you should have reminded me then!" he accused. "We fair skinned folk need to stick together."

"It's called common sense," she replied.

"Don't worry, man, if BB wasn't green I'm sure he'd be in the same boat as you," said Cyborg.

"Probably but I'm not," Beast Boy smirked. "Guess green skin has some advantages after all."

"Do not worry, I shall take on the task of protecting your epidermis from now on," Starfire assured him. "I will not let you leave the tower unless you are properly protected."

Nightwing sighed and sunk further into the couch, causing the changeling and partial robot to chortle some more. Raven made quick eye contact with Beast Boy then decided this was as good a time as any to take her leave.

After a quick shower she secluded herself in her room, lighting some incense and candles to calm her nerves and help her to focus. She put the rose in a small vase and placed it on her dresser. The appearance of the flower had caused quite a stir amongst her friends, especially Starfire who begged for it. She claimed they reminded her of an herb that grew on Tamaran but that wasn't a good enough reason for Raven to relinquish ownership. Very few things truly appealed to her but this blue rose really did attract her. And she could feel how happy it made Beast Boy feel to know that she wasn't going to give it away. She gave her hair a quick brushing then prepared to begin her thinking process. She was about to take the lotus position when a question suddenly popped into mind.

How did a blue rose end up in a small patch of woods in the middle of Jump City park?

She grabbed her laptop and decided to do some research. She didn't want to admit that she was procrastinating but she most certainly was. And she discovered something very thought provoking right off the bat.

Blue roses do not exist in nature.

She learned that roses that appear blue are either white roses dyed blue or genetically modified roses. Meaning that the rose that now sat atop her dresser had not grown from that secluded place beneath the shrubbery in the Jump City park. So… where did it come from? It didn't take her long to come up with a theory.

"He couldn't have actually planted it, could he?" she asked herself. "The fact that we ended up amongst the trees was because he was nervous about the crowd around us. We could have just as easily ended up in another part of the park. But… he did find the rose easily despite the fact that it was well hidden. Could he really be that good of an actor? Or did we happen to stumble upon someone else's attempt at being romantic and he used it to his advantage? If it was him why'd he go through so much effort?"

She sighed and continued researching, feeling that she was reading too much into this. There wasn't all that much more interesting about the blue rose. She read the history of how they were dyed and the breakthrough in genetically manipulating them. But she was given another surprise when she came upon the blue rose's meaning.

"In Chinese folklore the blue rose signifies hope against unattainable love."

She blushed in spite of herself and quickly scrolled down.

"The blue rose means mystery and an appreciation for the enigmatic. A tantalizing vision that cannot be totally pinned down, a mystery that cannot be fully unraveled. The receiver is the subject of a complex personality that does not allow easy interpretation."

Her heart was starting to quicken its pace now. How could all of this be a coincidence?

"The blue rose is a flower that seeks to convey a message of mystery, enchantment and a sense of the impossible. One should never forget that as a flower that is not found freely in nature, the blue rose has a certain charm and unique mystery that does not reveal itself freely."

She could read no more. She slapped her laptop closed and pushed it away, as though the information was the machine's fault. She sat thinking feverishly. How could it have been a coincidence that this flower that reminded her so much of herself had been a stone's throw away from them in the park just when he was going to confess his feelings and ask her out on a date? The chances of such an incident were so insignificant she had to rule them out. He had not only planted that flower there for her but he was secretly expressing his feelings towards her with it.

She felt an intense fire prickle and blaze throughout her body as she blushed deeply. No one had ever put that much thought and effort into anything for her before. On the rare occasion that a guy liked her and had the courage to do something about it it was often due to her fame or assumptions they'd made about her personality due to her appearance. This flower represented a genuine feeling of affection and understanding.

Now what was she to do? Should she accept his feelings and go ahead with a date? He clearly did have feelings for her but what of her for him? She'd never quite looked at him that way before; she'd never allowed herself to. She knew that dating someone you work with was a risky move and from the very beginning of the Titans had forbidden herself from exploring emotions for her teammates that went beyond that of friendship. Having to open that part of her heart was actually a bit… scary. But she had to. She couldn't cower away and give her default answer of refusal. Not after he'd put so much effort into his confession.

So how did she feel about him? On the negative side of things he could be overbearing at times and clingy. He was also stubborn and overdramatic. And though at times his boyish charm was endearing his lingering immaturity was incredibly off putting. On the positive, she found him to be kind and thoughtful. He was always trying to put the people around him in a good mood and he had the ability to light up a room. He was intensely brave and loyal to a fault. And there was an intelligent man beneath the fool, though he was only knowledgeable about things that truly interested him. Finally he wasn't difficult to look at. While she didn't believe in physical beauty being all that important in a person's character it certainly didn't hurt; it was more of a bonus. And, now that she was actually thinking about it, she could see herself being attracted to him if she were to open her heart.

After weighing the pros and cons it seemed the pros had won out. It made more sense to give the date a go than to decline. This didn't mean she wasn't still apprehensive about accepting his feelings but there was enough of a base for them to start comfortably. After all, it was only a date. He wasn't asking to be her boyfriend.

She looked at the time and saw that it wasn't all that late. She blew out her candles and decided to go tell him her decision. She doubted he'd be asleep, what with his anxiety still filling the halls. Feeling his nerves certainly didn't help her own but she did her best to suppress them and keep her heart steady. She made it to his room and, after taking a moment to breathe, knocked on the door.

"Yeah?" he called.

"It's me."

She listened as the sound of things being tossed around filled the air before he slid his door open, looking unprepared and yet excited. "Hey, hi."

"Hi," she said, a bit amused by the double greeting. "I've come to give you my answer. But before I do I have a question for you."

"Okay," he said nervously.

"Did you or did you not plant that blue rose in the park?"

She watched as his face drained and went pale. "W-What do you mean?"

"Exactly what I said. Did you plant that rose or was it really happenstance that you found it? Your answer is actually quite important in finalizing my decision." It really wasn't but she wanted to see what he was going to do. It was now more clear to her than ever that it had been his doing.

He scratched behind his left ear and shifted his weight from foot to foot. He seemed scared to death of giving the wrong answer and this kept him quiet for far too long. She had thought it was amusing at first but now she could see he was being tortured over giving an answer.

"Beast Boy," she said, getting his attention, "I just want the truth. I won't let anyone take me out if his first act of courting is to lie to me."

He pursed his lips over a whine then finally cringed and said, "Yeah, I put it out there."

She took this. "Alright, that's all I needed to know."

"Are you mad?" he asked, still bracing himself for a bad reaction.

"You think I'd be mad?" she asked. "I would have been disappointed if I found out we really had discovered it accidentally. Knowing that you went through all that trouble in order to set the mood in order to ask me out is quite…sweet."

He beamed upon hearing this and the tension was gone instantly. "You thought it was sweet? Really?"

She nodded. "Incredibly so. But I would like to know why you chose a blue rose."

"Well cuz it's your favorite color," he said bashfully.

"Oh," she said, a little disappointed. Had it just been a coincidence that the rose held so much meaning that was akin to herself?

"Well that's why I chose it in the beginning," he continued. "I thought it would score me some points if I got you a flower that was your favorite color. So I went to a gardening shop and the woman working there told me all about blue roses. And when she told me what they mean I knew that it was the flower for you. Cuz, you see, the meaning of blue roses is mystery and a longshot at love. So they're basically you in flower form. It just felt perfect."

Now it was her turn to beam. He had done his research and had presented her with the flower because it reminded him of her. "It was perfect. And I'm really thankful you put all of that time and trouble into it."

"You don't know the half of it," he chuckled. "I had to grow four of them in my closet. It was like having a pet that could wilt and die any day! I got pricked so many times by those stupid thorns. And, boy, are they pungent! They may smell good to the average person but my super sensitive nose was dying."

"You grew it yourself?" she asked, shocked.

"Well yeah," he shrugged. "You can't just buy a single potted blue rose that's ready for planting, you know? So I grew four of them and planted the best one."

"Wait a second, how long have you been working on this?" she asked, her head beginning to spin.

"A couple months," he shrugged with a grin.

He'd been planning the moment they'd shared today for months? So this wasn't just some sudden crush he'd figured out a few days ago, these were genuine long term feelings! She felt herself rouge all over and now it was her turn to fidget about. "Oh."

"So…" he said, trying to get her to look at him again.

"So?"

"So what's your decision? Can I take you out on Friday?" he asked with a nervous yet hopeful smile.

She swallowed and forced herself to nod through her nerves. "I'd like that."

The explosion of relief and joy she felt radiate off of him nearly bowled her over. "Cool! I mean, uh, great. So, um, how does seven sound?"

"Seven sounds fine," she said, unable to hide her smile. "I'm… looking forward to it."

She swore that if his face could break it would have then by the way he was grinning. "Me too."

They stood there for a moment, regarding each other, until she broke the trance. "Well I suppose I should be going then. I'm just about ready for bed after this interesting day."

"Yeah, I'm ready to pass out," he admitted. "I haven't been able to sleep well the last few nights thinking about this."

"Goodnight Beast Boy," she said kindly. "And I promise I'll take care of the rose."

He blushed slightly but couldn't help his smiling as he retreated into his room. "G'night Raven."

She let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding and turned to head back to her room. She couldn't believe how content she felt. She hadn't a clue as to whether this would turn out well or not but at the moment it didn't matter. He genuinely cared for her and she'd be a fool to turn away from him.

She made it back to her room and all but collapsed onto her bed. She looked over at her rose sitting still and silent upon her dresser. She smiled and closed her eyes. Mystery and a longshot at love; that was her alright.

The End

AN: I hope you enjoyed this commissioned story. Come follow me on tumblr!