(A/N) Hey guys! You guessed it, I've decided to add another chapter! If you like this chapter, thank all the people who urged me to write it. I was gonna leave it as a one-shot, but now I'm thinking about continuing it and making it a long story. Oh, and as you may have noticed, I changed the title of the story. Sorry about that, but it'll make sense. Hopefully.
Chapter 2 I Hate You, Don't Leave Me
She always thought of him, no matter what. Usually she managed to push him to the farthest corners of her mind, if only to give herself a bit of peace. He was always there, though, lurking in the shadows, ready to creep in on her should she let her guard down. She had let her guard down a lot lately, something that caused her a great deal of irritation. She had pushed him away in the first place so she wouldn't think of him anymore, and yet he was always there, waiting to attack her mind when it was most vulnerable.
This was one of those times when that had happened. Raven hadn't slept well the night before, and was therefore exhausted throughout the entire day. It wasn't the first time she had gone without sleep, not by a long shot. In fact, it had been happening very frequently for months. None of the others said it, but they knew it was because of what had happened with her and Beast Boy. They did, however, voice their concerns over her lack of sleep, but they always fell on deaf ears. She ignored them, always.
Raven had gone to her room early the night before in order to meditate, hoping it would clear her mind, and that was when she started seeing him again. She wasn't hallucinating. She saw him in her mind all the time, because he had earned a permanent place there. She saw his smile, his deep emerald eyes that always held that certain sparkle that made them special, that made them his. A year ago, seeing his smile would've actually lifted her up, but now it only brought frustration.
Damn you, Gar! Damn you! Raven thought with irritation. Why can't you just leave me alone?
She continued to try to meditate, even though she knew it was in vain. She would never be able to concentrate enough to meditate now, but still she tried. She had to have a clear mind if she was going to be any use on missions, so she continued her useless attempts for the next several hours, but her mind could only see those sparkling emerald orbs looking back at her, the boyish smile turned into a sad frown.
This was not the state one should be in when going into a mission, but when the claxons blared throughout the tower and the red lights began flashing, she joined the others just as she always did. That was just poor judgment on her part.
Turns out, her trouble meditating was just the beginning of a series of unfortunate events laid out throughout that night. The mission, on a number of levels, took a toll on her. The Slade-bots seemed drawn to her, as if sensing she didn't have her A-game. She was able to defend herself very well, and take out a good portion of the robots coming at her, but eventually her luck ran out.
During the entire mission, she kept seeing his bright smile, then the sad frown, no matter how much she tried to shake it from her mind. She remembered how, in the months before he left, they always had each other's back during these fights. They watched out for each other, and no matter how much she tried to deny it, she wished it was still that way.
Damn you, Gar, she thought while taking on a group of the robot commandoes attacking her. Perhaps if she hadn't let this thought distract her, she would have seen the glint of the machine gun.
Several shots rang out from in front of her, so loud that for a moment she couldn't hear anything besides her own guttural shriek as she dropped to the ground. The shots echoed in her ears painfully as the agony erupted in her abdomen. Her vision faded out in seconds, but it felt like hours. Soon, all she was seeing was blackness, and she could feel herself tumbling through a bottomless void.
Raven was floating through dark ocean waters, drifting through the deep blackness. The water felt cold without being painfully freezing, but still numbing. It was like the edges of her mind were dulled, so that she could only feel herself drifting. She couldn't feel the water around her, and when she looked into its darkness, she didn't care. All she felt was the numb cold. All she saw was the deep and dark black surrounding her. All she knew was that she was moving, but she didn't know where. She had no control over where she was going, nor did she have the will anymore to try controlling it. She would just let the current take her where she was supposed to be, even though she didn't know why she was in the water in the first place.
She recalled hearing shots ring through the air with thunderous cracks, and her own scream following the sounds of the machine gun. She remembered a horrible pain ripping through her gut, as well as the peculiar inability to breathe. She remembered seeing only one thing before her vision faded to black, and that was the color red. Red, everywhere, all around her. It seeped into her vision, until that was all there was, then there was nothing left at all. Just the darkness that now surrounded her.
She wondered if she was dead.
But no, that wouldn't make sense at all. This was not where someone would go when they died, right? This was neither heaven nor hell. This was… no place. She should've seen something by now. No, she was not there yet. She was still going.
She felt a tear slip from the corner of her eye, flowing into the water surrounding her, where it soon disappeared. The numb coldness of the water seeped into her, and she felt herself succumbing to it. It was all cold, all dark. There was no shred of warmth or light, nothing to make her feel anything. It was funny, she had always forced herself to feel nothing, always encased herself within darkness, and yet now she desperately craved the light. Anything to make her feel something, anything to make her want something, anything to make her care. There was nothing, though, and so she no longer took notice of where she was drifting.
She didn't care that she had begun to sink.
She felt herself moving towards what she thought must be the bottom, even though she still could not see it. It just felt like more of nowhere. Still, some part of her guessed that it led to someplace big and important. She didn't think it mattered, and had a hard time believing there would be anything but this darkness, this strange cold. She blinked, but could see nothing. There was nothing for her. Why did it have to be so cold, though?
There. She could see the bottom now. It rose out of the clear blackness, and she was moving towards it. Somehow, Raven knew that once she hit the bottom, she would be leaving. She would be going to someplace new, someplace different, and she would never come back. She didn't move away from it, though. There was just too much darkness, too much cold, to bother moving at all. She was numb.
She was merely inches from the bottom when she felt it. Her right hand, which hadn't moved at all since she found herself drifting through the ocean, now held something she couldn't see, but only feel. It was warmth. This was the first thing she realized. It wasn't just warm, it was warmth. It was a source of heat that took away the numbness and forced a sliver of hope to lodge itself within her, and suddenly she was moving. She was swimming with hard strokes away from the bottom, and back to the surface. She could still feel that warmth within her hand as a few precious rays of light finally reached her from above. The light shown down on her, washing away the numbing cold and replacing it with something warm and bright.
She broke through the surface of the water and took her first breath. She hadn't held her breath at all, and yet when she took in the air on the surface, it brought a kind of relief to something unknown to her. She smiled, truly smiled, as she looked into the sun.
She blinked open her eyes momentarily, only seeing a very blurry image that consisted of nothing but white. It was very bright, wherever she was. It was bright white, and she had to wonder if she did indeed die and was waking up on some cloud in the middle of heaven. Perhaps when she got up she'd find herself wearing a white robe and halo.
She blinked again, and a sickening pain ached through her abdomen, which made her immediately dismiss the possibility of being dead.
Opening her eyes a little wider, she felt a tiny moan escape her lips, barely loud enough to be heard. As her vision cleared a little, she looked around. She was in a bland white room, laying in some kind of bed. Her eyelids fluttered with dizziness as she registered movement around her. She saw a head of very red hair, a large figure beside the red head, and someone wearing black and blue. Although she couldn't make out the specific details of any of the people, she instinctively knew these were the people she called her friends and teammates. However, there was someone else. He was kneeling beside the bed she lay in, and all she could see of him was that he was…
I must be dreaming or hallucinating, the thought formed in her hazy mind.
Still, a voice reached her before she once again closed her eyes and gave in to her fatigue again. It whispered to her in a soothing tone of voice, one she would know anywhere. "Raven," it said. He said.
She felt him holding her right hand in both of his, and suddenly she realized the source of the warmth.
It was night. The air was crisp and fresh. The moon was bright, and the stars were shining in defiance of the city lights, leading twinkling trails and patterns through the cosmos. She smelled the salty sea spray in the air, heard the whistling wind. Raven wasn't sure if she should smile or cry. She had done both that night.
She could see herself on the roof, walking beside a man that had an unmistakably green complexion. She wasn't one to display emotions, but as Raven looked down upon herself she could see her own contented posture, her half-smile, her eyes that showed a slight twinkle to them that normally were stoic and cold. This was one of the times she had been truly happy, and then she went and ruined it.
It was for the best, though, she reminded herself. I'm a demon. I could never give him what he needs, what he deserves. I had to push him away.
She remembered the first time she thought she fell in love, when she met Malchior. She never had this reservation with him. She never felt the need to hold back with him. The reason for that was obvious: she didn't care about Malchior the way she cared about Garfield. That was why, when she began to realize she loved Gar, she felt the greatest pain in her life, because she had to keep him at a distance. She never held hands with him. She didn't go out of the Tower with him. She didn't do anything with him, until that night that would forever damn her. She thought she could get away with just holding him at arm's length while still being his friend, but she was wrong.
She watched the scene unfold before her. The kiss, then her faking her own anger at him, then her saying the thing she knew would make him leave her alone once and for all.
"Why would I love an idiot like you?! Why would anyone love a worthless idiot like you?!" she heard herself shout. She winced at her own words.
That was when he ran away, flying off so fast he failed to see the tears that had already begun to run down her cheeks. They were spilling over her eyes so fast she was soon unable to see, and instead of stumbling through the Tower she simply phased through the roof, teleporting back inside her dark and depressing room.
Raven curled onto her bed and let the tears come after that. Sobs racked her body as they came. She didn't make herself stop, didn't try to pull herself together, but instead just let herself cry.
Gar came back late that night and spent hours packing. In the morning, before he left for his old team, she made sure she was there to see him off. She knew she couldn't love him, but she still wanted to see him when he left. He said his goodbyes to the others, but just walked past her. He said nothing, and Raven knew she deserved it. As he left she was able to catch a glimpse of his face, but all she saw was a sad frown, the one that had been haunting her in the months since then.
Days later, when the call came from the Doom Patrol that Beast Boy was leaving the Titans, she accepted his departure and told herself that it was for the best. This way, he could find someone who could give him was he deserved. But that didn't stop the countless night where she cried herself to sleep. That didn't stop the days of quiet where she wondered what happened to the annoying and yet welcoming jokes. She wondered where the boy was that had been like her second half for several years, the boy who gave her a feeling of belonging on the team.
Then she remembered he wasn't a boy anymore, and she wasn't a girl anymore, and that was the bitter truth.
Still, Raven could see that boyish smile, those sparkling eyes wherever she was.
The dream faded out, and she was left with nothing. She was… alone. She was all alone. What had happened to the warmth she had been feeling just a little while ago? Where was her light, her warmth? She could only feel the tears slipping down her face.
More than anything, she wished the source of the warmth were there. She wished she didn't have to be alone.
He drummed his fingers over his legs tensely, although with much less anxiety than what he had displayed for the past two days. The doctors are confident she'll make a full recovery, he told himself, but it didn't make the worry leave him. He had spent nearly all of his time with Raven over the past couple days, doing the only thing he could think to do: stay at her side and hold her hand while she remained unconscious. If he could do nothing else for her, he would at least do that. He smiled slightly, wondering what Raven must've been thinking when she opened her eyes, only to see him by her side, firmly holding her chilled hands in his own.
It was soon after the doctors had told them she would recover that she first opened her eyes. It was only for a few fleeting moments, but he remembered the wave of relief that had washed through him upon seeing her awake. He had look on at her for two days, and the entire time her eyes had been shut, with those deep indigo orbs closed off from him. When she opened her eyes, even though she closed them again almost immediately and fell back into unconsciousness, he was finally sure that she would be okay. He was finally able to relax, if only a very tiny bit. After she slipped back into sleep, he had brought his hands together and let a small tear roll down his face, slipping over his lips as they turned upwards into a smile.
"Thank you, God," he whispered beneath his breath, so quietly the others couldn't even hear him. "Thank you for not taking her." He hadn't prayed like that since the days when he went to church every Sunday, back when he first lived with the Doom Patrol.
After that the hospital moved her out of intensive care and into a normal room. That was when his friends pried him away from her bedside. He certainly didn't go without a fight, but with a bit of convincing from the others, he did go. With their pleas of "You need to move around a bit" and "You have not eaten since yesterday" and "You know she'll be fine, grass stain," he finally relented and let go of her hand.
He had done as the others wanted. He went down to the cafeteria and ate, he spent a little time with the Doom Patrol- who were currently staying in a hotel in town- in a futile attempt to calm his mind, but he just ended up back outside her room. The others sat around him, not speaking, and the only sound that could be heard was him drumming his fingers on his leg. It was hypnotic, but tedious in its repetitiveness. Thrump, thrump, thrump, thrump, thrump.
"The coming months shall be quite difficult," Starfire said, breaking the eerie quiet.
"Yeah," agreed Cyborg. "Raven's gonna be bedridden for weeks. Not to mention there'll be one less person on missions."
There. That was the cue everyone took to look at the changeling. Gar lifted his eyes to them, looking at each of them. He lingered on Cyborg, who had just called him out.
"So, what are you gonna do?" Cyborg asked, losing the subtlety to his questions.
He scanned each of his old teammates. He had actually thought about this a lot over the last few days, and he already had his answer ready. "You already know what I'm gonna do, chrome dome," he replied with his old school grin. "You didn't pack up my old room yet, did you? I'll need it if I'm gonna be living in the Tower again."
Starfire leaped to her feet and threw her arms around the green man. "Truly? You are truly returning to Titans Tower?" she asked in a high-pitched squeaking voice while squeezing the life out of him. He heard several popping sounds, signaling his back cracking from the pressure.
"Y-yes, Starfire! C-could you let go… of me… please?!" he got out while attempting to take in a breath.
The Tamaranean gave a small "Oops!" before releasing him. "Forgive me, friend Beast Boy. I am sometimes forgetting my own strength."
"Don't worry about it," the changeling replied with his usual carefree tone after catching his breath again.
"Oh, there is much we must discuss!" Starfire exclaimed, turning to face the others. "We must plan a great coming home party for both friend Raven and Beast Boy! I shall make zorcaberry pudding and Cyborg may prepare the eight-layered cake with the many happily colored frostings, and boyfriend Nightwing may…"
Gar managed to sneak away from them in Starfire's growing excitement, slipping inside the hospital room. As he gently closed the door behind him, leaving the joyous exclamations of the Tamaranean princess behind, he breathed out a tense sigh.
He wasn't entirely sure he was doing the right thing. He was of course committed to returning to the Titans while Raven recovered. The team would need him on missions, and Raven would especially need him, he knew. However, there was a reason he left in the first place, one besides his quarrels with the empath. He had left so he could grow as a hero, so he could make himself feel accomplished. So far, he had yet to achieve this goal with either the Titans or even the Doom Patrol, but going back to the Titans surely wouldn't help. Perhaps he would leave again, once Raven recovered.
He turned away from the door, looking at Raven's unconscious form in the hospital bed. She was no longer connected to so many machines, with only the heart monitor there now to give off the steady beep. He allowed a smile to come onto his face, as he was now confident that the beeps would continue, and the line would not go flat.
He looked towards her face, still ghostly pale but nearing it's usual shade of serene misty gray. The color of moonlight, he thought. Even before he began to have feelings for her, he thought she was beautiful, although he would never admit that. He would always think of a shining moon casting its rays through stray clouds. Moonlight blanketed by stars and shining through a light cloud cover. She was the only one who could get such a vivid picture into his mind, and he realized how much he didn't want to leave her. He was torn.
He wandered over towards the window and peered out, taking in the brilliant afternoon sunlight. He looked up into the clear sky, seeing birds take flight and disappear into bright blue, and imagining himself doing the same. He could just fly away, be free, like he did before. He could do what he needed to do. It would be so easy, to do what the birds did, but he would not. He would remain grounded, at least for the moment. He was not allowed to do as the birds do and fly away.
He wasn't even sure he wanted to. He wanted to stay, and he wanted to leave. He knew he had to stay where he was needed, but he also knew he had a duty to himself. But then, a hero is supposed to think of others first, and himself last.
"A hero is supposed to be where he is needed," he told himself as he watched a small songbird take flight. "The Titans need me." Only after the words came out did he realize what he'd just said. He referred to his friends as another team, people separate from himself. Was he not a Titan as well?
"I've been away far too long," he muttered. Closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose, he turned away from the window. That was when a small moan reached his ears, and his eyes immediately jumped to where the sound came from.
The empath was blinking slowly, her eyes beginning to clear as they scanned the room. She seemed almost confused for a moment, and he swore he could hear her thinking, What the hell happened? Then, as a groan sounded from her, And why do I feel like shit?
"Raven!" he heard someone say, but it wasn't him. He turned to see the orange-toned alien zipping into the room and to the bedside. "You have awaken!"
Nightwing and Cyborg filed into the room after Starfire, each grinning widely as they saw that their friend and teammate was finally awake.
The girl blinked slowly, opening her indigo eyes wider as she looked at each of her friends. She opened her mouth slightly, as if trying to speak. However, only a small croak came, and she gave up. She visibly winced as she tried to move.
"Stay still," he found himself saying, as his feet moved of their own volition towards the right side of her bed.
The change in her was immediate and very noticeable as she saw him, at least to the four people gathered around her. They were able to see that slight shift in her eyes to one of sheer surprise, and they caught the way her jaw dangled open slightly in shock. She was still very groggy, so her normal guard against any and all emotions was down. It didn't remain that way for long, of course. Even in her weakened state she was able to regain her composure, although Garfield could still see a certain spark in her eyes. It was a spark he had never seen before, and it drew him to her side.
She looked like she was about to say something, but realized her voice would be little more than a scratchy croak and decided against it. Gar smiled down at her, deciding he would rather be the one who spoke.
"Hey, Rae," he said. "It's good to see your eyes again, open and bright. Sorry I haven't been around to see them for the past few months, but I'm here now."
"You have been injured, friend Raven, but you will soon be recovered," Starfire told her friend gently, showing her usual very large and welcoming smile. "Friend Beast Boy will remain with us during the time of your healing."
Raven simply looked up at him, then began to weakly move her hand. He looked down, realizing what she was trying to do. He knelt down beside her, took her hand, and gave her a warm smile. She relaxed as he took her hand in both of his, breathing out any tension she must have been feeling.
He swore he could see the corners of her mouth turn up into a hint of a smile.
"I'm staying right here, Rae," he told her gently, and decided that maybe, just maybe, it was okay to let her be the one that tied him to the earth.
Four Days Later…
"Welcome home, Raven," Nightwing said warmly as they went through the hallways of Titans Tower. "It wasn't the same without you."
"It wasn't the same without either of you," Cyborg added, looking at Beast Boy.
The green man was walking behind and pushing a wheelchair, in which sat the tired yet strong form of the violet-haired sorceress. She gave her teammates her Mona Lisa smile, and nodded.
"It's good to be back," she said, then look up at the man pushing her along.
"Yeah," he agreed, but with some hesitation. She was weak, but her empathic powers could still pick up his tense emotions.
The Tamaranean, who had been absent since they entered the Tower, now came rushing up towards them from down the hallway. Gar could see she was hiding something behind her back. He didn't need empathic powers to know each of his old teammates were suddenly excited upon the reappearance of the princess. He could see each of their smug and conniving expressions, and could even see a devious grin on Raven's usually stony face.
"I have obtained our desired materials," Starfire said, giggling, still holding whatever it was behind her back.
"Am I missing something here?" the changeling asked nervously.
"Well, you did quit the Titans, Beast Boy," Nightwing said through his smirk.
"And y'know what that means, green bean," added Cyborg, exchanging a nod with his darkly clothed teammate.
Gar's expression became alarmed as he looked at his friends, eventually landing on Raven. She smirked up at him. "You have to be initiated, all over again," Raven said, as Starfire took out the things she had been hiding.
In five minutes he had been forced into a tutu, got on a unicycle, and took in his hands two rubber chickens. To make the most of it he decided to put his classic goofy attitude into it and began riding around letting out strange sounds which usually came from circus clowns, and told some of his old jokes. It wasn't humiliating like it should've been. In fact, it felt just like old times. It wasn't like he hadn't purposely made a fool of himself before.
After one more ride around the hallways on the unicycle, he hopped off and ran to his friends, panting. "Happy now?" he asked with mock irritation.
They nodded and began towards the common room. Still in the tutu, he went up behind Raven to push her wheelchair into the common room. However, one look at her and he could see an oddly downcast look upon her face, where just a moment ago she was holding her classic sarcastic smirk. He paused, causing Cyborg to look back at him. He gave his buddy a look, one that Cyborg automatically understood and nodded, walking behind the others into the common room and making sure the doors were closed.
"Like the tutu, Rae?" he asked in a cheerful voice. "What an amazing grand entrance back into the team!"
She looked up at him, her eyes and face once again stoic. "Not bad. For you, anyway," she replied.
"You know, I think that with my reentry to the Titans, I might change my hero name," he said, then put on a mischievous smile. "How do you like Changeling?"
"It sounds nice, did you-"
"Or do you prefer… Beast Man?" he went on with a smirk, striking a pose that looked especially stupid with him in the tutu.
"Or what about Beast Dude? Do you like Beast Dude, dude?" he said, letting out a laugh.
She rolled her eyes and glared at him. "You know what, Gar?" she said. He looked at her, waiting for what she would say. "I hate you."
Before he could show the overwhelming disappointment and hurt he was feeling, she added, "Don't leave me." He could see tears beginning to form in her eyes, spilling over and running down her cheeks.
He bent down beside the wheelchair and gently wrapped his arms around her. "I won't," he told her.
"Promise me," she said with urgency in her voice. "Promise me."
He paused for a second, thinking about the birds he had seen taking flight, thinking about what he could do if he did indeed just leave again as soon as Raven was recovered. Then he thought about her, and how the first thing she wanted after she woke up was to hold his hand. He thought about her words. I hate you, don't leave me. Those words seemed like they should've been strange coming from her, and yet they felt so natural and right.
"I promise, Raven," he told her. "I'm staying right here."
Soon the tears were gone, but they didn't want to break apart. She liked having her face buried in his shoulder, and he liked holding her in his arms. So they stayed like that.
"I'm sorry," she soon said. "I'm sorry about everything."
A pause, and then, "Me too."
(A/N) How was that? I'm still not sure if I'm going to continue this, but I really want to. The thing is, school just started, so I'm not going to be able to write a lot. I may stop everything, or I may only update once every couple weeks or so, so I don't know if I'll actually have time to continue this. Let's hope for the best!
Oh, and sorry if I confused anyone. I just changed my pen name from Wolf of IndigoRiver to 7SheWolfShaman7, and I don't know, but that might have confused people. I wanted the usernames to be the same on all the websites I'm on.
I got the idea for the theme, "I hate you, don't leave me," from the song by Demi Lovato, which is also called that. I think the song fit's the couple perfectly.
One more thing. I finally got myself a Tumblr account! My blog there is the same as my pen name here, so if you're curious as to any progress on my writing, or just want to see random Teen Titans and Avatar: the Last Airbender stuff, you can go there. The url to it is in the bio on my profile here.