Sometimes fandoms that I was once a huge part of come screaming back to me, begging me to fall into obsession again. This is what happened with Teen Titans, the most influential fandom of my tweenage years. One day my 21-year-old self happened to catch an episode on TV, and the next thing I knew I'd watched the entire series over again in less than a week. And that was back in December. Eight months later, I'm still obsessing. I don't see this ending anytime soon.
Once upon a time, after the episode Spellbound aired, every BBRae shipper rushed to write their own alternate ending or post-episode fic. I am just now jumping on the bandwagon. This takes place a couple weeks after the end of that episode, so prepare yourself for all that angsty stuff. :D
The image for this story is mine, and I'm annoyed at how blurry and weird it looks on this site. If you want to see the original (with actual details and non-blurriness), look me up on Deviantart-I'm tsukitsu. You'll find it. It might ruin a future chapter though ... I mean no it won't.
Disclaimer: The creators of Teen Titans write episodes, not fanfics.
It had been one week, six days, eight hours, and thirty six minutes since it happened. Since he happened. Not that she had been keeping track … not intentionally anyway.
Malchior of Nol, wizard who defeated the dragon Rorek in Raven's enchanted novel. He was charming, understanding, and easily able to win the darker teen's affections through paper roses and a mystic nature much like her own. He shared with her new magical properties and spells, and perhaps most importantly, he taught her that a half-demon girl with emotional control problems had the capacity to fall in love. He was the only person who had ever made her feel like she wasn't creepy.
He would have been perfect had he not been the evil dragon in disguise.
Malchior's charm was pure manipulation. The spells he taught her were forbidden dark magic. And all the times he'd sworn they would be together once he was released … he was only encouraging her to free him faster. Raven couldn't believe she hadn't seen it sooner, hadn't realized she was being tricked. In the approximately two weeks since she re-cursed Malchior, her appetite, sleeping habits, self esteem, and overall happiness suffered terribly. She meditated longer and wound up with less control. Nightmares became a common occurrence. She was highly distracted in battle, and though she hated to admit it, this was caused by a lack of concern for her own well being.
Worst of all was the loneliness. No matter how many people surrounded her, no matter how many times her friends smiled and talked with her, she felt entirely alone.
On this particular night (or to be more accurate, morning), Raven sat cross-legged on her bed and slowly breathed her incantation. An hour ago she had bolted awake shaking and sweating from a nightmare, and when she found herself unable to fall asleep again, she turned to meditation in hopes of clearing all negative thoughts from her mind. Namely memories. Memories of him that clung to every fragment of every thought that fizzled through her head.
The mere recollection of Malchior was a plague, infecting her mind and giving her the sense that it could never be cured. Trying so hard to forget only served as a constant reminder. Raven had even gone so far as to scour her spell books in search of a charm to erase him from her memory, but anything promising she found either contained horrible side effects or the chance of erasing all her memories. If only she could get him out of her mind ...
With a heavy sigh, Raven broke her lotus position and dropped her head into her hands. Why couldn't this be easier? Why couldn't she get over him? He was evil, for crying out loud! But logic had no bearing on her heart. She felt the way she felt, and changing that was impossible (although she had certainly tried). Right now, she just needed to calm down and ignore her raging emotions.
"I need tea," she concluded.
The monster movie marathon was finally over, and the last remaining titan in front of the TV stretched and yawned dramatically. Beast Boy, who could shape shift into any animal at will, was perfectly content being nothing but a couch potato for the entire night.
"Can't believe Cyborg couldn't handle all ten hours," the green teen chuckled to himself. "Sure won't let him forget that tomorrow!" Beast Boy flopped over on the couch, his limbs splayed every which way in a position that could only be comfortable to a contortionist.
"I probably should get to bed," he mumbled, "...unless Clash of the Planets is on!" With renewed excitement, fueled by far too little sleep, the changeling grabbed the remote and began browsing through channels for one of his favorite sci-fi series. Halfway through his search, the door to the common room slid open. Beast Boy shrieked and toppled off the couch, images from almost half a day's worth of horror movies still galloping through his mind. Once he had peeked behind the sofa and verified that the possible zombie, vampire, and/or phantom was none other than Raven, he relaxed and draped himself over the back of the couch.
"Hey Raven, what are you doing up so late—er, well, early?" he asked.
Sensing the sorceress was in no mood to talk, Beast Boy returned to his program-hunt. He could hear her in the background making tea, the clink of a mug and the bubbling kettle giving her away. As Raven-like as it was to drink tea early in the morning, something about the timing seemed strange. Then again, he wasn't always up until three in the morning. Maybe this was just a habit of hers.
After sifting through the remaining channels and determining that Clash of the Planets was nowhere to be found, Beast Boy's attention was drawn to the girl in the kitchen area. He watched her prepare her tea methodically, guessing she could probably do it with her eyes closed if she desired. Usually Raven hated when people stared at her, but right now she either wasn't paying attention or was too tired to care. Tired … she looked really tired. All of a sudden Beast Boy noticed how prominent the bags under her eyes were. He noticed her skin was a shade paler than usual. But most of all, he noticed the hollow, haunted look in her eyes, and he couldn't believe he hadn't detected this sooner.
"Are you okay? You look kinda-"
"I'm fine," she said without giving him a chance to finish. Beast Boy frowned as she grabbed her tea and retreated to her room once more. She certainly didn't look fine. As a matter of fact, she looked like she hadn't slept well in weeks. Not since …
Oh … right.
Beast Boy, more than any of the other titans (besides Raven of course), remembered Malchior. He remembered because the dragon's betrayal to Raven all too easily reminded him of his first love, Terra. Although the former titan had proven herself a true friend in the end, Beast Boy still felt the sting of her initial betrayal from time to time, secretly wondering if he could have done something that would have changed her mind and made things different.
It hasn't been all that long since Dragon-dude came … Raven's probably still upset over it.
Beast Boy's eyes followed his teammate as she approached the door to the hallway. He knew when to leave her alone. The problem was, he never listened to that knowledge.
"Is it … him?" he asked. Raven froze just inches away from the door.
Beast Boy prepared himself for backlash, certain she was going to yell at him, hurl him out of the tower, or perform some fancy combination of the two, but she merely stood her ground. Her hands, still holding the cup full of tea, shook ever so slightly. Otherwise she was perfectly still. Even knowing his next move could be suicide, the changeling ventured a little further.
"Look, I know I'm not really the best at this kind of stuff, but … I think I'm the only one in the tower who understands what you're going through-"
"You don't understand what I'm going through," Raven cut in. Her tone wasn't unkind or angry like he expected. She sounded more defeated than anything.
"Okay, maybe I don't," he continued. "Not exactly, anyway. But I've been betrayed by someone who was really close to me, right when I thought everything was perfect. You know exactly what I'm talking about."
And she did. Raven had been affected by Terra's betrayal as well, even if it had been in a different way than Beast Boy. Trust was difficult to obtain with the sorceress, and she didn't take kindly to having it broken. Plus, she had gone against her intuition to accept the girl. When news broke that Terra was behind an attack on Titan's Tower, Raven was livid; she had allowed herself to consider Terra a friend, and it had almost gotten them all killed. But Beast Boy … they had all seen the way he looked at her, the way he acted in her presence. He was no doubt hit the hardest.
Maybe he does understand ...
Beast Boy waited for a reaction from his teammate, but she appeared so deep in thought that he wasn't sure she was going to say anything for awhile. Or at all. He wasn't even sure if she would notice if he kept talking, but decided to try anyway.
"Even if you're right and I don't know everything you're going through, I can relate, Raven. And sometimes, that helps a lot. So if … if you ever want to talk about it, you can come find me anytime, okay?"
The silence in the room was so severe that a pin dropping would have mimicked an explosion.
Raven turned her head the tiniest bit, studying Beast Boy out of the corner of her eye. She appeared wary, and the changeling had the sudden notion that Raven was like a wild animal determining whether or not to trust a human that offered her food.
Their silent exchange went on several moments longer before the girl looked away, breaking the spell that had fallen over the common room. Without another word, she walked through the doors and back to her bedroom. Beast Boy watched her leave, his face twisted in confusion.
"Ooookay, I'll take that as a 'maybe' then ..."
The afternoon progressed normally, but now that Beast Boy had discovered the source of Raven's sadness, he couldn't keep his eyes off her. Raven had always been a mystery to him, an enigma that he genuinely wanted to understand. Even though she could be absolutely terrifying sometimes, she was a very alluring person, and their opposing natures made him even more curious about how she worked. Now, he finally shared a common experience with his most opposite teammate, and a part of him hoped this would help him come to understand her more.
For the first few days after the dragon's betrayal, Raven abandoned her room in favor of the roof, the shore, or the common room's large window, and she had done nothing but gaze out over the horizon for hours. Once, Beast Boy stood with her for a little while in front of the window, saying nothing. She had glanced over at him, a dull film of grief coating her violet eyes, and he had gazed back in understanding. This tiny exchange left Beast Boy with the notion that he had understood her more at that moment than ever before. But days passed, and the obligations of hero life piled up. Mad Mod had broken out of prison, there was another incident with Brother Blood, Johnny Rancid picked a fight, and everything combined didn't measure up to the time it took to fill out paperwork for all the damages. Focused on completing missions and capturing bad guys, the titans had forgotten their own teammate's struggle. Maybe they had assumed she was better.
She wasn't. Not much, anyway. Beast Boy could see that now, and guilt worked its way into his system.
He watched her throughout the day, watched for all the little hints that he had missed. Suddenly every subtlety was as obvious as a flashing neon sign. He noticed the way Raven walked, hunched over slightly with her arms around her middle as if holding herself together. He noticed how she didn't observe her surroundings in silence as she tended to do; instead, she appeared lost in thought at all times. And he noticed her eyes, the same eyes he had met that day in front of the window. The pain they carried may have been a little duller, but if anything that worried him more. If eyes were the window to the soul, then Raven's soul looked ... dead.
Being severely insecure, Beast Boy had a constant need for the people around him to be happy. When a friend felt sad, his equilibrium was thrown off, like someone jamming a wrench into his own happiness. When that person was Raven, who normally didn't show much emotion at all, it was like a homicidal maniac running a chainsaw through any shred of joy he possessed. What she was going through was something serious, something he understood, and something no joke of his could cure.
But Raven wasn't one to share her problems with others. No amount of pestering could force her to open up; if she didn't want to talk about something, she simply wouldn't.
When the sun retreated for the night, the sky slathering itself with bright orange and magenta before fading away to a cool navy, Beast Boy watched his teammate return to her room with a half-hearted 'good night.' No one questioned her choice to retire at 8:30, but the changeling gripped the couch to keep himself from running after her.
"Yo, B!" Cyborg called, snapping Beast Boy out of his reverie.
The half metal teen gave his green friend a quizzical look. "Man, you've been completely out of it all day. You barely even cried when I beat your little green butt at gamestation earlier, not the first time, not even the eleventh time! You sick or somethin'?"
Beast Boy recoiled, laughing nervously. "What? Pshhhh, no! I was just … setting you up! So that when I crush you at Super Robot Laser Combat 4, you wouldn't expect a thing!" Cyborg took the bait.
"Oh, you're on, Grass Stain!" The two snatched up controllers and started their game, and Beast Boy pushed Raven to the back of his mind for the time being. Knowing her, he had done all he could just by offering support. Anything more was up to her.
Beads of cold sweat dotted Raven's face as she awoke, panting from yet another awful dream. Malchior, his dragon form even larger and fiercer than before, had been chasing her through a dark and twisted maze. Thorny vines crept along every wall and lashed out at the telepath as she hurried past. The walls seemed to grow larger with every turn she took, no matter which direction.
She remembered reaching a dead end and spinning around, only to find Malchior's enchanted book form standing before her. His eyes were just as beautiful as the first time they had gazed out at her from a page within the book. Back then, she hadn't recognized the cruel intentions behind them.
Raven screamed at him to stop chasing her, to leave her alone. 'I can't run anymore,' she had said, dropping to her knees. But as terrifying as the endless maze was, it was his final words that haunted her the most.
'Sweet Raven,' he'd crooned, 'it's not me you're running from. It's yourself.'
Now fully awake, Raven shook her head violently as if by doing so, the remnants of the dream would disappear. She reached over and grabbed the clock from her nightstand—one in the morning.
"Great. Just great."
Dropping it angrily, she flopped back onto the bed with a frustrated groan. 'Why can't I sleep for just one night?' she asked herself, knowing the answer before the thought even entered her mind. When it was clear falling back to sleep wasn't an option, Raven sat up in bed and massaged her temples. Her blankets lay tangled in disarray around her midsection, a parallel to her mental state at the moment.
'I wish I could have some reprieve from all this," she whispered.
"If you ever want to talk about it, you can come find me anytime, okay?"
No. No. Absolutely not. She would not subject herself to that humiliation. Seeking someone out was the equivalent of flaunting one's weakness, and Raven didn't need any more reminders that she was currently vulnerable. She thrashed in her bed, pushing the thought out of her mind. "I can handle this on my own," she said to herself.
But she didn't believe it.
Comfortably cocooned within a mass of blankets, Beast Boy almost didn't hear the timid knock on his door. One of his ears just happened to be poking out from under the covers, and his extra sensitive hearing picked up the sound. Stirring groggily, the changeling flailed around until his entire head was released from the blankety web. He waited a few moments, listening, unsure whether or not the noise was only a dream. Ten seconds later, the knock was repeated.
"Coming ..." he mumbled, rolling off the bed (quite literally) and stumbling to the door. He stopped to wipe the sleep from his eyes before letting the door hiss open, revealing the last person he expected.
His violet haired teammate stood before him, her usual composure dripping with trepidation. Beast Boy blinked sleepily as if to make sure she was really there. "What … uh …" he stuttered, his drowsiness enhancing both his confusion and his inability to form coherent sentences. Raven glanced at the ground before meeting his eyes, then answered his unspoken question.
"Can we talk?"
First chapter done WOO. I hope you've enjoyed reading as much as I've enjoyed writing this so far. :) Any and all reviews are appreciated immensely, from thoughts to praise to criticism. Feedback makes my soul flutter, and I will always reply to personally thank anyone who took time to leave a few words for me. ^^ Also, just in case anyone's wondering, this story will be three chapters long, and both upcoming chapters are at least halfway completed already.