Because I cannot resist oneshots. Inspired by a review from CowabungaBooyakasha.
A low rumble roused Changeling out of his half-slumber, causing him to leap out of bed without even getting dressed. He raced down the hall, choosing partway through to morph into a cheetah and sliding too far when he turned a corner just a tad too sharply. Transforming back in the blink of an eye, he felt the familiar whoosh of the doors to the living room, where he stood frozen.
Half of the room was cloaked in a deep shadow, in the center of which loomed a horrifyingly large, cloaked figure with thin, black wisps of power reaching further into the room. Nightwing was wrapped up in one of them, trying to scream some sense into the figure. "Everything's going to be fine, Raven, just try to relax!"
"So it's not enough for you to tell me what to do anymore?" she jeered, her second set of eyes flying open. "Now you have to tell me what to feel, too?"
"What happened?!" Changeling cried, looking at his girlfriend with a mixture of compassion and terror.
Cyborg stood ready to catch Nightwing, who still had yet to be released. "She burned her breakfast and suddenly she became this. She was making waffles."
Nothing more needed to be said. "I'm on it."
Leaping over the counter, Changeling groped desperately for the necessary ingredients, yanking a bowl from the cupboard with all too necessary force. His ears picked up the sound of rushing wind and a soft thud; probably, Nightwing had just been caught in mid-air by Starfire when Raven threw him, but there was no time to speculate. Changeling's hands moved of their own accord, egg and milk and flour and butter practically flying from his fingertips to the bowl, all of which he mixed while dodging a tornado of household objects. The waffle iron was still hot; beside it were the forlorn remains of Raven's first attempt. Changeling took a second to mourn them before hastily pouring his batter in and slamming the lid shut.
Over this part of the making, Changeling had, unfortunately, no control. All that there was to do was wait, and Raven seemed to be done waiting. Cyborg, who undoubtedly would have been the empath's favorite of the boys had Changeling not dashed that possibility, was for some reason attempting to make her smile. Changeling knew that would be nigh impossible in this state (he'd tried...only once.) "Hey Raaaae," Cyborg called, hands on his hips. "I've been meaning to get working on the T-Car. How about I take my little sister down to the garage and we have a nice long chat?"
It was one of her favorite ways to work out stress, but judging by the way she leaned in close to Cyborg and shrieked, she wasn't having any of it today. Changeling slowly attempted to open the waffle iron; when it didn't stick, he reached for a plate and frantically threw the golden brown waffles onto it, squirting the smallest hint of syrup onto them. Raven had never been one for sweets. Once he'd tried to buy her a set of chocolates—
"YO, GREEN BEAN! YOU GETTING THOSE WAFFLES, OR AM I GONNA HAVE TO—"
"I'm coming I'm coming I'm coming!" cried Changeling, the plate of waffles he carried wobbling dangerously. He stopped short in front of the sofa, trying not to tremble at the sight before him. "Rae Rae, it's okay, I made you some more! See? You can calm down now!"
The hulking, four-eyed figure in the center of the room howled, her hair lengthening and hovering above her shoulders. "CALM DOWN?!" she roared, bending low to watch Changeling squirm. "How dare you tell me what to do, Garfield Mark Logan?"
Changeling's bravery failed him, and he sheepishly attempted to hold out the waffles while keeping his distance. Impatient, Starfire wrenched the plate of waffles from Changeling's hands, making sure to shoot a cold glare his way before floating up to meet her friend's gaze. "Raven, Changeling has prepared for you the waffles which you desired so strongly this morning. Please, eat."
At the sound of the Tamaranian's soft, lilting voice, Raven's second pair of eyes closed, and a tendril of black energy reached out for the plate that Starfire held aloft. Miraculously, she shrank, the fabric of her midnight blue cloak diminishing to its normal length and the darkness fading away. Nightwing, who had been cowering behind the counter until Starfire's interference, sighed with relief as he watched his teammate devour her breakfast. "Raven," he began delicately. Talking with Raven after that kind of display was like walking on eggshells. "Is everything all right?"
"I'm fine," she growled, not even bothering to look up from her plate.
"We're just...concerned," Nightwing said as calmly as possible. "The past few weeks, you've been very...um...and now today, you're..."
"I said, I'm fine, Robin."
Normally, Nightwing would have persisted further, but he knew when to fold. Grumbling indignantly about the use of his old moniker, he moved to stand beside Starfire. She opened her arms to comfort him, but Changeling saw that she was also biting her lip as if she were trying to hold something in her mouth at bay. He could smell something akin to shame.
Ignoring this development, Changeling gingerly sat down beside Raven, resting his hand awkwardly on her shoulder. He was immediately keyed back into her scent, which was currently impossible to read. "I'm sorry about your burned breakfast, Rae. But you can always ask us for help cooking. I know you're not the best at it, but it's okay!" Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Starfire and Cyborg waving their arms frantically, shaking their heads.
When he refocused onto Raven, Garfield instantly saw why. Her fork fell to the plate with a loud clatter, and her head drooped forward. "Raven, no! I didn't mean it like that. Well, I guess I did, but it's not a big deal—"
"I can't do anything right," Raven whispered, her voice so low that even Garfield strained to hear it. The window cracked sharply. Unsure of how to respond, Garfield took her half-finished plate and tenderly moved a violet curtain of hair aside, but was so alarmed by what he saw that he nearly fell backward onto the sofa.
A lone teardrop was rolling down Raven's cheek, and more were forming just behind her eyelids.
Raven never cried.
Whatever was going on with his girlfriend was serious. The Titans had only seen her cry once before, and on that occasion, the entire world had been threatened by Raven's very existence. If her problem now was of the same gravity, there was a whole lot more to worry about than a couple of burnt waffles.
Nightwing seemed to have drawn the same conclusion, as he was at her other side in a heartbeat. "Raven, what's going on?"
"I can't even make breakfast," Raven whimpered. "If I can't do that, how in the name of Azar am I going to..."
What was left of her waffles became engulfed in darkness and exploded rather messily across Changeling's face. Raven heaved a great sob just as Starfire, out of nowhere, swooped in and took her in her arms like a great, crimson bird of prey. Before the boys had time to lift a finger in protest, Starfire and Raven had flown out through the main doors and out of sight.
"What was that?" Nightwing asked finally, scratching his head.
"What did you do?" Cyborg corrected, having eyes for no one but Changeling.
"Nothing!" Changeling absentmindedly rubbed some of the syrup from his face, licking it off of his thumb. "It wasn't me, I swear! I just woke up!"
Cyborg only raised an eyebrow. "But she's your girlfriend, and she's been acting weird for a while now. Somehow it's gotta be your fault." His eyes narrowed, unmistakably accusatory. "You treating my baby girl right?"
"Yes." Changeling felt the tips of his ears grow warm. Cyborg was his best friend, but when Raven had entered the equation, he'd grown frustratingly overprotective.
Nightwing surfaced from his contemplative position, eyes still wandering. "It's got to be something specific. She's been behaving strangely, sure, but the past couple of days, she's been completely impossible to talk to."
"We haven't fought or anything," Changeling said defensively. "Honestly, with me, she's almost been...shy. And she's smelled just a tiny bit ashamed for a while now, or at least I think she has. It's been really hard to tell."
At this, Nightwing perked up. "She's smelled ashamed? And shy?"
Changeling nodded. "And other stuff I can't really figure out. She never smells that way."
" 'Other stuff?' " Cyborg asked, suddenly suspicious. "How long has it been since her scent change?"
"Her scent change?" Changeling asked stupidly, blinking. "Maybe, I don't know, a month or so..." Had it really been that long? At any rate, he couldn't figure out why Cyborg's human eye had suddenly grown to the size of a dinner plate. Nightwing seemed just as confused as Changeling was. "What?"
Cyborg looked dazed, but anger was lurking behind the haziness in his eyes. "I don't know, Changeling, do you think that maybe her scent change could be hormonal?"
"Hormonal?" Changeling frowned, shaking his head. "Couldn't be. The only thing that would change her hormones that much is—"
Oh my God.
His knees gave out. Blindly, Changeling threw out a hand to steady himself but missed, landing hard on his right wrist. Raven had told him after that everything was fine, nothing out of the ordinary, and like the idiot he was, he'd believed her. She'd been on missions, battling villains as if nothing had changed, and none of them had made her stay home...the thought of her out in the world, putting herself at risk in her condition, made Changeling's stomach turn. She hadn't told him. Why hadn't she told him?
"What?!" Nightwing cried, apparently still in the dark. "What is it, Changeling? What's making her act this way?"
His mouth was dry, and something in Changeling wanted to punch Nightwing for being so dense, for making him say it out loud. "Raven's pregnant."
Nightwing looked thunderstruck, utterly dumbfounded. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it, then opened it again, but no words were coming forth. Unfortunately for Changeling, Cyborg did not have a similar reaction.
"I KNEW IT!" Cyborg bellowed, lifting his friend clean off the ground with one hand and pressing him against the wall, his sonic cannon positioned inches away from Changeling's face. "YOU IRRESPONSIBLE, POINTY-EARED LITTLE GRASS STAIN! If you don't run right to my baby sister, NOW, and get your green butt on one knee, so help me, I will turn you into a REAL grass stain all over this carpet!"
"Easy, Cy, easy!" Changeling cried, shrinking away from his friend's weaponized arm. "I already have the ring!"
"You...You do?" Instantly Cyborg released him, causing Changeling to hit the ground for the second time today. "But...you didn't tell me."
The hurt in Cyborg's voice was palpable, but the hurt in Changeling's tailbone outweighed it for the moment. "Sorry, guys," he said shyly, even though Nightwing still seemed too shocked to hear. "But it's too hard to keep secrets from her. She's used to picking up weird emotions from me, but if you were all in on it, she'd know something was up."
Cyborg's former rage had evaporated entirely; he was beaming and pacing the room excitedly. Nightwing finally snapped out of his disoriented stupor and turned to face Changeling. "So...when are you going to ask her?"
"I've had the ring for ages, but I haven't found the right time. There's been so much crime, and she's been so standoffish, and now..." He could hardly breathe. "I mean, she didn't even tell me." Changeling's blood began to run hotter. "She didn't even tell me! Why wouldn't she tell me?"
"Gar..." Cyborg began, reaching out to console him. Nightwing's face was unreadable; knowing him, he was probably trying to work it out in his head, looking for an answer for Garfield when the only person who could give it to him was her.
"I'm gonna go talk to her," Changeling muttered, and he stormed out through the doors, ignoring the telltale footfalls of his friends behind him.
Rounding the corner toward Raven's room, he saw her emerge from behind a door, the tall redhead following her. She seemed calmer now: a good sign, all things considered.
"Raven!" Changeling was running, almost sprinting, until he reached her and pulled her into a close embrace. "Raven, I know, and it's fine, we'll work it out, but to be totally honest, I kind of can't believe you."
"Garfield," she hissed, pushing him away as she usually did when he was affectionate with her around the others. "What are you talking about?"
Changeling sighed. "I know why you've been so upset lately."
Raven's eyes widened, and she twisted her neck to look at Starfire. She shook her head and put her hands out in front of her, the picture of innocence. "I said nothing, Raven, truly!"
"You told Starfire?" Changeling cried, unable to mask the pain he felt. "I can't believe you told Starfire!"
Raven was blushing furiously, and the light above them burst. "Of course I told Starfire. Who else was I going to tell?"
He felt the pain twist and contort into rage. "I don't know, me?!"
"You?" She looked positively incredulous. "Why on Earth would I tell you?"
What? How could she say that? Something was strange about this, but Changeling was too furious to dwell on it. "Why?! Raven, I would hope that you would tell the father of your child before you told Starfire!"
Starfire's hand flew to her mouth; her shoulders were shaking as if she was laughing. How could she laugh at a time like this? He turned to Nightwing for help, but Nightwing was just as perplexed. When Changeling found Cyborg's eyes, he had nothing to offer.
Raven was shell-shocked, frozen for a few moments, before finally she (and the rest of the hallway's lights) exploded. "Garfield! I'm not pregnant, you idiot, I know about the ring!"
Changeling thought for a moment that his heart stopped. "You...You what?"
That shameful smell was creeping back into his senses again. "I know about the ring," she mumbled. "I went to your room to get one of my books and Starfire was bringing you something that she said she'd found in your laundry and I asked her about it and she must have figured out what it was because she tried to say it was for her so I asked her about it but she wouldn't show me and you know how bad Starfire is at lying—"
"Wait," Changeling said, holding his head to keep it from spinning. Back in Raven's mindscape, her timidity had spoken like this; hearing it from her own mouth was just as jarring as it had been the first time. "So you're not pregnant?"
"Azar, no," Raven replied, rolling her eyes. Starfire's giggles were perfectly audible now, and the boys were snickering behind him.
"But..." It still didn't fit. "But you've been acting so weird! And I haven't been able to get a good read on your scent since—"
"Since I found the ring." Raven screamed guilt now. "Garfield, I'm sorry, but I've been trying my best to shield my emotions from you since I found out. I've had to keep myself at an abnormally high level of control in order to keep my emotions from affecting my body, so that you couldn't sense any changes. I didn't want you to worry or figure it out. I was planning on just acting surprised when it happened, and hopefully you wouldn't ever know that I..." She paused, taking a deep breath. "The past few days have been taxing, and I let my fears get to me, so I tried talking to Starfire about it. Today, I couldn't keep it up. I just snapped. Everything I've been trying to hide just came right out."
Okay. Everything made a little bit more sense now, but Garfield was hung up on only one point. "Your fears? What do you mean, your fears?"
Raven gave Starfire a pleading look, at which Starfire flew straight over to the boys, lifted them both slightly off of the ground, and dragged them away. Nervously, Raven grasped her left arm. "I'm not good enough for you, Garfield. Maybe to be your girlfriend, but not your wife. You know how I am. You saw me today. It's been hard enough to let you in this far, but locking you into something so permanent...You deserve better."
"Locking me in?" That was it? That was all she worried about? Relief flooded through him like a long-needed rain after a drought. "Rae, you're not locking me in. I'm asking you. Well, I'm not asking you now," he added hastily. "Not properly, anyway. The ring's in my room. And it was supposed to be perfect. But the point is that there's no obligation. For either of us." Changeling took her free hand. "I want you to be my wife, Raven. If you don't hate me for screwing the whole thing up, that is."
"Of course I hate you for screwing the whole thing up," she replied matter-of-factly, but her scent had changed again, and she was smiling. "That being said...even though you're a complete buffoon, you're my buffoon, and I'm still willing to accept your offer."
It took Changeling a moment, but within moments he'd swept Raven up into his arms and kissed her with as much passion as he could muster. She was still smiling when they broke apart. "You're still going to have to make it official, though."
"She MEANS, go get the ring and get your green self on one knee, like I told you to!" Cyborg called from around the corner, and he heard Starfire swearing at him in Tamaranian, undoubtedly angry with him for "doing the ruining of the moment." Changeling grinned to himself, told Raven to "wait here," and set off at a sprint to his own room. Some things would never change.
OH GOD I'M CHOKING ON THE FLUFF. Definitely needed to get that out of my brain before getting back to the seriousness. Hope you enjoyed this distraction!