It was quiet in Titans Tower. Well, of course it was. No one's usually up at two in the morning.
Beast Boy was feeling snacky, so instead of just falling back asleep he decided to brave the long journey from his bedroom to the fridge.
He winced from the bright light in his face. There wasn't a whole lot to choose from. He settled for a glass of soy milk and stood in the kitchen to drink it, enjoying the peaceful silence.
It had been a good day for the team. Jump City now had one less criminal. No one had any major injuries, just a few scrapes and bruises here and there. The afternoon was fun. A barbeque and ball games in the park. Kids came along and asked for autographs, like they always did. Robin got the most female admirers, and Starfire attracted every guy in a 3-mile-radius, but Cyborg and Beast Boy were ever the class clowns, making the onlookers roar with laughter at their antics. As for Raven? No one really wanted to admit it, but kids and even some adults were sort of... scared of her. Even if she wasn't part demon with spooky dark powers, her antisocial behavior and constant book-reading would make most people shy away. But one day there was someone who didn't mind her creepy demeanor. His name was Justin, and he was a nice boy. Instead of pestering the other Titans with questions like most kids, he spent the afternoon observing Raven. She intrigued him. Dark, mysterious girls like that always did. He finally got up the nerve to go talk to her, and it didn't end so great.
"Hey," a voice said.
Raven turned around. A boy was standing there, holding a white daisy in his hand.
"Can I help you with something?" She didn't say it rudely. It was just a habit. Guys didn't really go up to her a lot.
"I'm Justin. And this is for you." He showed her the flower. She had already seen it.
"...You just killed a plant, you know." She looked at him.
Justin wasn't expected that answer. "Um..." He threw it into the grass. "Forget that. You're Raven, right? From the Teen Titans?"
"What gave it away?" Her deadpan was meant to be a joke, but it didn't sound like one.
The boy was getting nervous. "I just thought that uh, maybe we could get to know each other better? Like say, over lunch?"
"I already ate," Raven said politely. "But thanks for offering. If I want food, I can get it myself."
"How about dinner?"
"I have plans with my friends."
"Well, is there any free time? I'd really like to go on a date."
"A date?" Her tone was surprised. "Why didn't you say so?"
Justin smiled. "So..."
"I'm sure Starfire would love to go on a date with you! Let me just go talk to her."
Justin stared at the girl who was now walking over to her friend. Oh.
Beast Boy smiled. Raven really had no clue how to talk to guys.
He finished his milk and dumped the glass in the sink, belching loudly as he went to go back to bed. He took a few steps, and was in the middle of a good stretch when he heard it.
A kind of soft... crying sound? It was really quiet, almost too quiet for even Beast Boy to hear. He couldn't tell where it was coming from. And who was it? Cyborg had been the last one to go to bed, and he didn't cry. Especially not like that. Star was a loud crier, so it wasn't her. And unless Robin had some sort of dramatic voice change, it wasn't him either.
Beast Boy checked the couch, under the dining room table, behind that ugly potted plant that some old lady had given them for getting her cat out of a tree. He went around and around the tower, but no luck. The only place he could think of was the balcony. The balcony!
He flung open the doors, an ocean breeze cooling his face. It smelled like salt out here. The crying had stopped. He glanced around, then gave up and was about to walk back inside when-
The sound of a hand slapping skin echoed in Beast Boy's ears.
The changeling squinted. It was hard to see in the dark, but he could just make out a small figure in the corner of the balcony.
His eyes adjusted to the dark quickly. Yes. It was Raven, all right. Sitting with her knees up to her chest, a hand clapped over her mouth, and tears staining her pale cheeks, but still Raven.
He crouched down next to her. "Are you okay?"
She stared at him with wide eyes, still holding her mouth like she didn't want any noises to escape.
"Hey," he said softly. He touched her arm. "Talk to me."
"You shouldn't be here," she whispered.
"But I am though. And it's a good thing I am." He cocked his head to the side. "What's wrong?"
"Leave me alone."
"Leave me alone," she repeated harshly, getting up to leave.
Beast Boy caught her hand and stood up. "Not until you tell me what's wrong."
"Garfield Mark Logan," she snarled, yanking her hand away, "I swear to God, I will-"
He pulled her into a hug.
Raven froze. At first, she felt anger bubble up inside her, but it disappeared with a pop. She stood motionless, Beast Boy's arms around her. She felt strange. Vulnerable. His arms were like magic, paralyzing her. Something in her snapped, and without a word, she started crying into his shoulder. Her hands were pressed up against his chest. At first they were balled into fists, but now her palms were relaxed on the soft fabric of his simple gray t-shirt. Wait, a t-shirt? She hadn't really noticed before, but he wasn't in his uniform. She was still in hers, though, seeing as she never actually went to bed that night.
He smells like mint, Raven thought to herself. And cinnamon. That's a weird combination.
"You smell like toothpaste," she said, cursing herself for hiccuping again.
Beast Boy wiped her cheek with his thumb. He suddenly felt awkward and looked down, blushing. "Yeah. I couldn't decide on what flavor to use, so I used both."
"That's dumb," she said. Her cheek tingled from his touch. It was rare to see him (and feel him) without his gloves on.
Our second hug, she thought.
"You're right," he mumbled. "I was dumb."
"Not you. They should make a toothpaste with mint and cinnamon, so you wouldn't have to choose between them."
He looked up from the floor. She had a fragile smile on her face.
"Do you wanna talk about it?" Beast Boy asked a couple minutes later. The two friends were standing, looking over the sea with cold, fresh air blowing into their faces.
Raven was silent.
"Oookay. Or not."
"Do you remember," she said seemingly out of nowhere, "when you and Cyborg were trapped in my mind?"
"And you had to put up with all of my Emoticlones?"
"Which one did you like the best?"
"Huh? What kind of question is that?"
"I'm just asking," Raven said hastily.
"Well, Happy was pretty cool. She laughed at my jokes. But then again, she laughed when me and Cy were falling to our death too." He ticked off the clones on his fingers. "Bravery was spunky. Sometimes I see that in you. Rage was scary. Knowledge was boring. Timid was weird. She kept apologizing for stuff. Sloth was like me, haha! Rude was well, rude. Perfect Balance Raven was... powerful. She was you. But intimidating. Not that you aren't intimidating now," he added.
"Intimidating," Raven echoed. "You think I'm intimidating?"
"Duh! You creep me out most of the time."
She stared out at the choppy gray water. "No one likes me."
"What are you talking about? We like you!"
"I'm not talking about you," she said. "I mean, other people. I'm a freak."
"A freak." Beast Boy almost laughed. "You're talking to someone who has green skin. And who cares what other people think? They don't matter."
"I care," she whispered. "Nobody thinks I do, but I care."
Beast Boy was taken aback. She was right. He certainly didn't think that she cared. Every time someone ignored her, every kid whose parents told them not to speak to her, created a tiny hole in her heart. It hurt her, and Beast Boy knew it.
"You forgot Affection," Raven said.
"Affection wasn't like you at all. I don't think you've ever showed any type of endearment to anybody."
"That isn't true," she said.
"When have you ever liked anyone?"
"Exactly. You can't even talk to boys, can you? Like that one day we had a barbeque in the park and that guy -what was his name, Justin?- asked you out?" Beast Boy felt a little bad to bring up that painful memory for Raven. He knew how embarrassed it made her.
"I didn't realize what he was asking," Raven said hotly. There was a sharp bite to her voice, probably from her humiliation at Justin's request.
"How could you not have gotten that? He literally said 'I want to go on a date with you.'"
"I've never gone on a date," Raven said, flustered. She was blushing now. "I don't know how to talk or flirt with boys... I've never needed to... I wouldn't even know where to start."
"I can teach you."
"Come on, Rae. You know me, I flirt with any girl I see."
"Sooo, I've got experience. Okay. Let me start." He cleared his throat and stood so he faced her. "The trick is to compliment them, so they know that you notice them and find them interesting and/or attractive."
Raven lifted an eyebrow. This was ridiculous. Taking flirting tips from Beast Boy, of all people?
"Raven," Beast Boy started, taking her hand in his. "You are the most amazing girl I've ever met. You're smart, funny, and you can really kick butt."
Raven couldn't help but smile. Ever the charmer, Beast Boy.
"Every time I look at you," he continued, looking into her eyes, "I just have to think...wow."
Beast Boy blinked. Raven's eyes... they were the color of the night sky above them; a blanket of dark with stars dotting it like tiny twinkling diamonds. With every second, they seemed to grow more and more purple. The color of Affection.
Beast Boy was mesmerized. Had Raven's eyes always been this gorgeous? The surface of the moon was reflecting off of her shiny violet orbs, making them seem huge.
He was staring, but didn't care. His better-than-human senses were picking up all the little things. He noticed her cape, swishing softly in the wind. Her practically white skin was almost glowing. The smell of her lavender shampoo was so subtle, yet it drove him wild.
"Huh?" Beast Boy snapped out of his trance, absentmindedly wetting his lips.
"You didn't finish. That was a good start, but I don't think it'll, um-"
Raven's cheeks warmed. "Oh. Okay. That's more like it."
The boy was inching closer to her. He could feel her body heat coming off her in waves.
"You know what really seals the deal?"
Beast Boy leaned in.
Raven's breath hitched in her throat.
The kiss was unexpected, to say the least. But instead of pulling away or slapping him across the face, Raven let herself be taken into the safety and warmth of Beast Boy's embrace. It was an explosion of fireworks in her mouth. She felt comforted and temperature-wise, toasty, like she had just stepped into a fireplace. How could a boy make her feel like this? Raven didn't know. But she didn't take the time to ask. She wrapped her arms tentatively around his neck, the tips of her fingers creeping up and reaching into his short green hair.
He buried one of his hands into her hair as well, making the kiss last as long as possible. His other hand was on her waist. Raven was glad he was such a gentleman. Other men would've been grabbing for something else.
"Do you do this to all the girls?" Raven whispered when their lips detached.
"No," Beast Boy said, slipping his fingers around hers. "Just you."
The corners of her mouth lifted into a smile and she put him under another bone-crushing squeeze.
Our third hug.