Hello readers.

This is going to be a different kind of story for me. Some of you might not like it, but I ask that you give it a chance.

And for those who might be interested, let me know if you would like me to republish the original version of this story, which had a very different outcome. If I hear from enough of you, I'll republish the original version of the story.

-( scene break )-

"You are so immature!"

The twenty four year old superhero known as 'Changeling' crossed his green arms across his now broad chest and glared at his girlfriend.

"Gee, Rae, that put down is so … original." He replied in a huff. "It's what, the 527th time you've called me that?"

"Only because it's true." She snapped back at him.

"Oh, I see, I'm immature because I'd like us to go out somewhere I'd like, for a change."

Starfire watched the altercation nervously from the kitchen, where she was preparing some of her Tamaranian slop, which was probably toxic for humans. She was sorely tempted to intervene, but past experience had taught her that it was pointless. The best thing to do was to allow the Chromatically Challenged Couple™ to run their spat until it petered out of its own accord. After that they would both sulk for a few days, after which Garfield would approach Raven with a conciliatory gesture, maybe some flowers or if it was a really bad fight he might take her out to dinner and maybe a concert with the city's symphony orchestra.

Starfire, Nightwing and Cyborg would know that the civil war was over when the changeling resumed sleeping in Raven's room. That temporary bliss usually lasted about 6 weeks, though once they went three whole months before having another fight.

Such was life in the Tower, which was now inhabited by the "Titans" who had long since dropped the word "Teen" from their title. A lot had changed in the Tower, but none of the changes had been quite as unexpected as the formation of Chromatically Challenged Couple™. It was one of those events people would sometimes describe as "No one could have seen it coming", and the truth is that neither Raven or Beast Boy, as he was still known back then, could explain what hit them.

It was one of those strange, inexplicable cosmic events. It defied all conventions and common sense. Raven was a taciturn, introverted, emotionless intellectual. By her admission she didn't do "fun" and her idea of a good time was reading dull college textbooks. The changeling was the opposite. He was extroverted, wore his emotions on his sleeve and was very much into fun. Oh, and he hated reading books with a passion, unless they were of the graphic novel variety.

When they actually became a couple was a complete mystery. They never announced their relationship to their friends, and in fact, to this very day Raven would deny that the changeling was her boyfriend; even though they had been sharing a bed for almost five years now, at least when they weren't fighting. When they did fight, he would go back to his room and stay there until she allowed him to return. It was as predictable and the sunrise in the morning.

They were now entering what Cyborg had clinically, and in utmost secrecy, labeled "phase 1" of the fight cycle. It was very predictable. Raven would insult Garfield, usually attacking his alleged lack of intelligence.

"The places you like to go are juvenile and puerile." She replied with a slight edge in her voice.

In the five years they were together, Raven only ever apologized once to him. On that occasion she insulted his dead parents. That time she had gone over the line and he retreated to his room and stayed there, giving her the silent treatment. After fourteen excruciating weeks, which filled the Tower with enough tension to affect the others she finally caved in and apologized to him.

"You always say that!" He protested. "Why do we always have to do your stuff?"

That happened two years ago. Raven learned her lesson and never again mentioned the names of Marie and Mark Logan in an unflattering context. She stuck with put downs that were "safe". The problem with that however, was that it was predictable and was becoming unsatisfying for her, which is why she would sometimes venture into uncharted waters.

"If you don't like my choices, you can always find someone else to go with you to see Mutant Ninja Zombies 27, because I sure won't."

This had become Raven's new game with Beast Boy. She would dare him to date someone else.

"You know what? Maybe I will! In fact, I'll get a date for the Titans' Ball."

The Ball was an annual event started at Starfire's insistence years before. At the time Robin agreed with her, saying that it would be a good team building exercise to have Titans East and all the honorary Titans come to visit. Starfire simply thought it would be "the fun". Thus the annual tradition began and the upcoming Ball, which was just a few days away, would be the fifth one celebrated by the team.

"Good luck with that." She taunted him.

"You think I can't get a date, do you?"

This had become a new ritual. The changeling would indeed go out and try to find a girl to date. But the bitter truth was that, as Raven once told him in Tokyo, he was green, and had pointy ears and fangs. The local ladies always rebuffed him. He once asked Nightwing if he could take the T-Ship to Japan to find a date. His request was denied.

Now, one might think that Raven was cruel and didn't love the changeling. While she was indeed cruel she did love him very much. She only told him that she loved him when they were in bed together, while having sex, which she enjoyed a great deal, judging by her nightly screams of pleasure, which sometimes shook the whole Tower.

The only time she ever admitted her love for him in public had been on the day he was shot during a routine bank robbery. He had been careless that day and after he recovered from what was a minor wound she read him the riot act in the common room, in front of her friends. Cyborg asked Raven why she was so upset. Her answer was textbook Raven: "Why am I upset? Are you an idiot? Don't you know that I love him!?"

"You're welcome to try and find a date." She replied smugly.

The changeling stormed out of the room. If events unfurled as expected he would return that evening with his tail between his legs and concede defeat to Raven. Now before you feel too sorry for Garfield, this was when they would have their best rolls in the hay, sometimes the Tower would even tremble violently. The other three all agreed that they had the strangest relationship, but since they had somehow remained together for almost five years, what could they say? The dating gambit was one of their more mild recurring disputes and after he conceded defeat they skipped over "phase 2" or as Starfire called it "the sulk" and went directly into "phase 3", the reconciliation, which as already described usually involved copious and vigorous lovemaking sessions.

They were an unconventional couple, and over the years their friends became accustomed to their bizarre relationship. However bizarre it was, they were monogamous. While Raven always denied that they were in any sort of committed relationship, she had no other lovers, though more than once she publicly announced that she reserved the right to have them. The changeling never said anything about their relationship but was just as monogamous as Raven. For one thing, he never made good on the threat to date someone else. Apparently he had no reason to do such a thing.

No one was as disturbed with the unconventional couple as Starfire. The Tamaranian was a hopeless romantic and was deeply troubled by what appeared to be their highly dysfunctional relationship. During the first year she intervened repeatedly, telling Raven "that is no way to treat your boyfriend." Raven always replied the same way: "He's not my boyfriend and I'll treat him however I please."

Robin and Cyborg kept out of it from the beginning, though they often privately speculated about the amorous sessions the Chromatically Challenged Couple shared, reasoning that if Garfield was willing to put up with Raven's crap either he really loved her or she was a goddess in the bedroom. Maybe it was both, but in the end they decided to let sleeping dogs lie.

What was interesting about that day was that the changeling returned an hour later from his date hunting expedition with a big grin on his face. He barged into the common room and marched right up to Raven, who was sitting on the crescent shaped couch, reading a book. She didn't even look up at him.

"I got a date for the Ball!" He gloated.

She smiled maliciously at him. "Hiring a girl from an escort service doesn't count as a date."

"Sorry to disappoint you, Rave, but she's the real deal."

Raven shut her book. "Anyone I know?"

"I don't want to spoil the surprise." He gloated. "So, do you have a date?"

"I don't need one. Once your date ditches you, you'll come crawling back to me."

"Aren't you the confident little witch?"

Raven glared at him. "Don't call me that!"

Changeling suddenly looked emboldened. "Oh, did I hurt your feelings?"

Raven got up and stormed out of the room, the sliding doors closing behind her. Starfire began to fret.

"Oh, friend Beast Boy, I do not like this new situation. Only unhappiness will come from it!"

Cyborg shook his head. "Nuh, uh! It's about time if you ask me."

The tin man placed a metallic hand on the shape shifter's shoulder.

"Listen up, BB, I know that you and Raven have your own kind of relationship, but, c'mon man, she's had you whipped for years. I don't know why you accept that arrangement and I won't speculate. The thing is now you're in the driver's seat … your date … she is legit … right?"

The changeling laughed. "100% legit."

"She ain't ugly or anything?"

"She's a total babe. Raven isn't gonna like her, I guarantee it."

The tin man grinned. "Good, because what you need to do is show Raven that you don't need her and that if she wants you, that there are some new rules to the game."

"New rules?" The changeling asked.

"You'd better believe it. First of all, this crap that you're not her boyfriend has to end. Second, she needs to show you some respect!"

Nightwing laughed. "Raven? You expect Raven to show Gar some respect?"

Cyborg laughed. "You better believe it."

Nightwing grinned. "And just how is this miracle going to happen?"

"Easy man, piece of cake. When Raven sees BB's date all over him she's gonna understand that he's the man!"

"Or, she might kill him." Nightwing retorted.

"Wrong! She told him to get a date; she's in no position to complain."

Nightwing turned to face the changeling. "Gar, this is a bad idea. If you're unhappy with how Raven treats you, then tell her."

"Pfft!" Cyborg interjected. "If he does that he might as well cut his nuts off and give them to her on a platter. He needs to act from a position of strength. If he can show her that he doesn't need her she'll be putty in his hands."

Starfire cleared her throat. "Maybe Garfield does not want the putty in his hands. Maybe he just wants a girlfriend."

"That's the thing, Star. Raven won't even acknowledge that BB is her boyfriend. Sure, we can make excuses for her. She's half demon, she's uncomfortable with her emotions, she's "complicated". But you know what? I ain't buying it. Raven treats B like crap because he lets her."

Cyborg turned to the changeling. "So B, what's it gonna be?"

Changeling looked lost in thought. Finally he spoke up. "I kind of like the idea of her being jealous."

Cyborg grinned. "Good … and whoever your mystery date is, make sure she dresses for the part. Cleavage is good. And don't forget to touch her … a lot. Grab her booty, especially when Raven is nearby and make sure she sees. Don't be shy."

"This is wrong!" Starfire growled. "Garfield, you cannot use another girl as an instrument to make Raven jealous. It is unfair to your date!"

Cyborg shrugged his shoulders. "It's just a date, and who knows? Maybe they'll hit it off."

Nightwing chimed in. "I'm with Star on this one. Don't play games with her, Gar. Be honest and upfront. If Raven refuses to change and it's important to you … well … then maybe it's time to move on. But manipulating her is a bad idea."

Changeling shook his head. "Sorry, but I need to show Raven that I can get a date and that I'm not a pushover or a loser. You know, I've been really patient with her and nothing's changed. She dumps on me, she insults me, tells me I'm stupid. Then, when I get fed up, she uses sex to reel me back in. So you tell me what's wrong with me manipulating her for a change? She does it to me all the time."

"She's not going to like it, Gar."

The changeling smiled at his friend. "I'm counting on it."

-( - )-

Raven phased through the door into her room and sat down on the edge of her bed, which she sadly realized she wouldn't be sharing with him that night. She leaned forward and cradled her head in her hands.

"What in Azar's name is he doing?" She muttered to herself. "Is he really going to bring a date to the Ball? I'm his girlfriend!"

Raven sighed. Five years ago, the little green imp confessed his love to her. Those were perhaps the most terrifying words she had ever heard. He said "I love you."

Those three simple words had sent her mind into turmoil. Nevermore looked as if it had been hit by a hurricane, her emotions were cast into such disarray.

Getting those emotions into check was an epic task. None of them were cooperative. It was a disaster, but she was able to pull it off … well … almost. There was Rage to deal with. It's not that Rage wasn't willing to cooperate, but she had a few conditions. The main one was that Raven would continue to treat Garfield like crap, at least in public. Rage's compromise was that in the privacy of Raven's room she would behave, and why wouldn't she? There was going to be sex … lots of sex, and that suited Rage just fine.

Of course, Raven knew that this was a cop out. It wasn't like she had all these little people running around in her head and that she was an innocent bystander, all these feelings and actions were her own, she couldn't blame them on anyone other than herself. The truth was that she wanted to treat Gar like crap during the daytime and to have sex with him at night. And she knew very well that there was no one else she wanted to do this with, she really did love him. It was all so complicated. Then again, no one ever said that being a dysfunctional demoness was easy.

She explained it all to him five years ago. He understood and agreed to the conditions. Surely he knew it was just a game when she insulted him. Sure, she crossed the line with his parents, but she publicly apologized for that. He knew what he was getting into. He knew what the deal was. It was true, she would always publicly deny being in a committed relationship with him, but did that really matter if she was faithful to him in private?

So what the hell was he doing? A date? If he wanted to change the rules why not ask her? OK, so she was inflexible, but did that really matter? She gave him what he really wanted every night.

Or did he want something else?

Raven heaved a weary sigh. If he was going to have a date for the Ball, then she was going to have find one too, she couldn't go alone while he went with someone else … she would look like a total loser if that happened. Her problem was that outside of the Titans network she didn't really know anyone, plus the Ball was coming up, there was no one left to ask, everyone already had a date.

She was screwed and she knew it.

-( - )-

OK, I'm bringing the story back. For those who read the original, the initial setup will be familiar, up until the Ball. At that point the story will change.

I'm toning down the language from the original so that the story can be T rated. There won't be any F-bombs in this story, though it will be sordid.