I apologize for the delay, but I wanted this chapter to be as good as it is long.
Raven faded back into consciousness to find herself lying on the ground, stomach down and head supported by something soft. The gentle ache that came with healing faded from her chest as the girl blinked several times, her surroundings coming into focus. In the background, several familiar voices were speaking all at once in a blending of words, some tones similar to that of her teammates and others of her own. Her emotions. But below the noise and words and deafening questions asking what happened and if she was alright, a consistent, calming pulse underlined it all. It was as gentle as a heartbeat, and the only thing Raven wanted to do was fall asleep to it. Honestly she had endured enough that exhausting day.
Finally, out of all her teammates' and emotions' voices, the empath was able to sort out a particularly loud one that had a hint of teasing in it. Focusing for a moment, Raven realized it was Cyborg.
"I can't wait to see her face when she wakes up," her robotic teammate chuckled out loud. Furrowing her brow, Raven opened her eyes all the way as she tried to see what Cyborg was talking about, pushing her body into an upright position, and then stiffened. The dark girl remained immobilized as she looked down at the unconscious form of Beast Boy, one slim hand on his chest and the other hovered unmoving just below her mouth. Obviously Raven had moved from the time when she started healing him to when she had finished without knowing it. As she stared down at him, Beast Boy stirred, blinking a little as he eventually focused on the girl on his chest. His eyes doubled in size, a prominent red color spreading over his nose and cheeks as Raven found that the shock of the situation had reached even her brain since nothing seemed to respond to her commands for movement.
Finally, Cyborg's laughter pulled her out of her stunned state, and, entirely scarlet, Raven stood with care, moving away from the blushing shape-shifter. Robin had stopped asking questions to scowl at Cyborg, but Starfire was still voicing her inquiries, though the alien princess finally did quit in order to give Raven an enormous hug, continuing onto Beast Boy afterward. Her bone-crushing strength that could even open pickle jars was barely enough to knock some sense back into the green teenager.
Sitting up, the shape-shifter shook his head, rubbing his cheeks. "Dude," he groaned, quieting the room, "what happened?" Raven, acting as if she'd already recovered from her earlier embarrassment whereas in reality it would take several hours of meditation to really get over it, watched her friend anxiously. His conscious state of mind was no doubt an improved condition from when she had entered his mind before, but that didn't mean much. Raven's main fear was that her friend would not have any memory of her or the Titans, although his earlier reaction to finding Raven on his chest seemed to indicate that he knew exactly who she was. Sure enough, Beast Boy paused, scanning the other teenagers in the room. "Uh, guys? Why are you all so quiet? What happened to Rage?"
A broad smile spread over Starfire's face, and she gave him another hug as the rest of the team breathed a collective sigh of relief. Beast Boy got to his feet, the others quickly proceeding to tell him what had happened while he was unconscious. It took but a few minutes, Robin finally ending the story with, "—so about five minutes after Raven went into your mind, she suddenly went limp, and, uh, fell onto you." Robin rubbed the back of his head, coughing. "We were going to move her, but Cyborg insisted we not do anything in case it 'disrupted the healing process.'" Cyborg's grin widened as Raven and Beast Boy simultaneously glared at him.
However, before either could chew him out, the robotic teenager suddenly swept them into a giant hug. "I'm just glad you guys are back to normal!" he exclaimed. Raven cleared her throat, obviously uncomfortable with the lack of personal space. She'd been hugged twice in the last five minutes, and the most she was ever alright with was maybe once a month, or year, depending on how she was feeling. Cyborg realized this, and though he released her and Beast Boy, the grin remained on his face. "This has been such a long day; I don't think I've ever been so happy for it to be over! But man, what took you guys so long?!" he complained abruptly. "Do you know what we had to deal with while you two were playin' around in Raven's mind?!" Once again he swept Raven up into a hug, Beast Boy ducking before his larger friend could grab him too. "Please, never show emotion ever again!" Raven lifted an eyebrow, rounding the hug number up to three, and Cyborg backtracked. "Well, not really, but please never be as annoying as your emotions were!"
Raven blinked as he let go of her. "Um… Okay?"
Robin interrupted, walking into the conversation. "Why exactly did this happen, Raven?" he questioned, breaking the "tender" moment. "Your emotions gave us really no in-depth information about it."
Raven sighed, knowing that this explanation was going to have come up soon one way or another. She walked over to the ruined couch and sat down on one of the less-destroyed cushions, her team slowly following. They each took up a position around her, Starfire crossing her legs and sitting on the ground with Robin standing above her. Cyborg and Beast Boy took a seat on either side of Raven.
"From what I was told, it was Rage's fault," the empath began, resting her hands in her lap. "I was meditating this morning in my mirror, and my emotions kept interrupting and distracting me. The next thing I knew, Beast Boy had freed me from Rage." Beast Boy gave a small smile at her admittance of his help, but stayed quiet. "Later my emotions told me what they believed had happened," Raven continued. "Rage had somehow gotten ahold of a spell that forced me to stay in my mind, incapacitating me at the same time. The only way that I can assume she found the incantation is through my books when I was reading." The dark girl exhaled tiredly. "So really, this whole thing was my fault. All of you could have been hurt because of me. One of you was." She lowered her head, silence filling the room.
Robin spoke first. "It's not your fault, Raven. Don't worry about it."
Raven looked up, surprised as Starfire agreed with the young leader. "Yes friend! We do not hold the angry emotion's actions accountable to you!"
Even Cyborg agreed. "We'd never do that to you girl. Weird things happen because of us to you all the time. It's almost becomin' the makin' of a tradition." Beast Boy did nothing but place a comforting hand on Raven's shoulder.
She graced them all with a small smile. "Thank you."
Starfire piped up. "It is glorious you are back to normal and no longer doing the swinging of the moods, friend Raven," she said, and then added thoughtfully, "Although some of the emotions were quite entertaining."
"Well, you probably won't have to worry about them for a while," Raven replied to the taller girl, "especially Rage, since she used up most of her strength while out here. I'll work on finding a spell to counter the first one that originally trapped me in the mirror too so it doesn't happen again." She didn't mention that her emotions were currently quiet and subdued for reasons unknown, but Raven couldn't have been more grateful for the reprieve from their arguing.
Turning his head, Robin glanced around the trashed room. "Well, now that this is all over, we should start to clean up this mess," he declared. Helping Starfire to her feet, the young leader looked pointedly at the rest of the Titans. Cyborg grumbled something about 'Raven being the one responsible for it so she should pick it up' but snapped his mouth shut when Robin shot him a look. Beast Boy hopped to his feet, scampering off to find the dust pan, and Starfire went to assist Cyborg, the robotic teenager currently looking into ways to fix the sofa. Robin was about to join them when he paused, glancing back at Raven. "Oh, I just remembered; one of your emotions agreed to eat some of Starfire's food. All of it, actually. You might want to be near a bathroom if your stomach starts feeling weird."
A nervous look crossed Raven's face before she covered it with her usual impassive expression. "Thanks. I'll keep that in mind."
"I was wonderin' if you'd have enough guts to come back 'ere," Rude stated, picking at her teeth. Brave grimaced at her, smacking the lookalike hard over the back of the head. "Ow!" the orange emotion protested, rubbing the fresh sore spot. "I was just sayin'!"
Raven scanned over her emotions, searching for a particular girl she had in mind. Two, actually. She barely registered Rude's comment, long since used to shutting the impolite emotion out. "Yes, I came back," Raven replied. "It's my mind; it's not as if I can run away from it." Rude snorted, earning another whack from Brave. The orange girl childishly stuck her tongue out.
Curious piped up. "What are you doing back, Raven? I figured that it would at least be a week since you came to visit us again, but it's only been two days! Did you miss us that much?!"
"Of course not," Raven rolled her eyes. "If I had the choice, I would never visit here, but this is the only place I can get some quiet meditation at times."
Knowledge placed a hand on Curious's shoulder, the question in the nosy emotion's mouth dying at her touch. "That is not why you are here though, Raven, is it?"
"You can read me like a book," Raven exhaled sarcastically, still skimming over the group of emotions with her eyes. She shook her head. "No, I'm looking for Affection and Rage. I need to talk with them." Curious and Knowledge exchanged glances, the latter speaking first.
"I do not think that Rage would be very willing to speak with you now," the yellow-clad emotion advised.
"Or ever!" Curious added cheerfully.
"Too bad." Raven levitated, gliding past the group. "She'll have to deal with it." Most of her emotions were in sight, but the couple that she was searching for happened to be absent. In fact, they appeared to be the only ones not there. Even Calm and Brave were present, both long since healed from the fight they'd endured during Beast Boy's visit. Muttering her enchantment beneath her breath, the empath teleported to the edge of Rage's domain. Her use of magic was sure to draw the hateful emotion's attention to her. Raven pressed her lips together. That was exactly what she wanted. The soft swish of a cloak came from behind the dark girl, and Raven whirled around, hands clenched in preparation for an attack, only to see that it was just Affection standing there.
The gentle emotion tilted her head at Raven as she relaxed her battle stance. "I heard you were looking for me?"
Raven sighed, dropping her shoulders. "Yes. When you spoke to me the last time, you said something interesting. Two things, if I'm honest." Affection waited patiently as Raven searched for a way to ask her question. The empath started off with the easier inquiry first. "First of all, are you permanent yet?"
Affection smiled gently, a pure and heartfelt expression. "Yes."
Raven dipped her head; she'd already assumed as much. "And… was it because of… Beast Boy?"
Again, Affection smiled, her eyes twinkling. "Your actions in his mind ensured my stability in yours."
The last question was the hardest to ask. "So it was him you were talking about when you said that I'd been feeling affection for someone a lot? He's the person who I…? The one that… I…?"
Stepping forward, Affection touched Raven's arm. "You already know the answer to that, Raven," she murmured kindly. "You don't have to question it; it will be easier to admit it to yourself than to fight me." Swallowing, Raven nodded.
"What are you doing here?"
Raven and Affection turned in synch toward the voice identical to theirs. Rage scowled at the duo, her normal demonic tone suppressed for once. Her two eyes were violet, and the previous scratches on her face had healed back into a perfect duplicate of Raven's. She seemed tired, but that didn't stop the hateful emotion from glared daggers in their direction. Affection dropped her hand from Raven's shoulder and approached the scarlet-clad girl. She paced past the lookalike, footsteps padding softly on the ground, and smiled. Rage pulled away, growling at her, but neither made any action to move toward one another. Soon Raven and Rage were alone.
"I suppose you're here to warn me 'never to try anything like this again or you'll kill me' and whatever," Rage grumbled to her original, taking on a slightly irritant expression.
Raven suddenly stormed up to the hateful emotion, shoving her face close to Rage's. Rage's eyes widened slightly. "No. I won't bother wasting my breath warning you to stop; you know what you did and you know how it affected me." Raven snarled, her eyes boring into Rage's. "But believe me; if you ever hurt him, or anyone I love ever again, I will make sure you regret it every day of our lives. You and I both know what I'm capable of, and I can guarantee that none of the other emotions will try to stop me if you do anything so idiotic again."
She drew away, her determined expression unwavering, and then turned her back to the wrathful emotion.
"You have no idea how much I already regret it," Rage snapped beneath her breath. Raven had already walked far enough away so the empath couldn't hear the words, and Rage glared at the girl's retreating form. "I don't plan on doing anything like that ever again."
"Take that, tin can! Kiss my green butt goodbye!"
"I don't think so, green bean! Get back here!"
Two days after the whole "mood swing" incident had occurred, everything was reverted back to normal in the Titans tower. Cyborg and Beast Boy were loudly playing their game station, Starfire was trying to make another meal for her friends to try since Raven had enjoyed her first one so much, Robin was hovering over the alien princess's shoulder to make sure she didn't accidentally mistaken poison for food dye, and Raven had just entered the main room from a session of meditation. The couch had been the object most affected by the battle with Rage, and it had taken Cyborg but a day to repair it. Now he and Beast Boy thoroughly enjoyed the new sofa, recently upgraded with seat warmers. Everything else was quickly cleaned and fixed, and thus it was as if the incident never happened. Except to Raven, whereas the whole thing very much so had. In fact, she couldn't get it off her mind.
The empath approached the couch just as Beast Boy's digital car breezed over the finish line. In exasperation, Cyborg threw his hands in the air. "What?! No way, grass stain! You won?!"
Beast Boy blew on his fingers and then brushed them over his shirt. "I am talented, you know. And now, dude, I get to put my name on the high score board!" While the boy pondered what to put in his fourth place slot, Raven peered at the other high scores.
"Who is Wish You Were Me Don'tcha?" she asked, lifting an eyebrow at the names.
Cyborg grumbled something beneath his breath, hunching his shoulders. "No one," he muttered.
Beast Boy suddenly snapped his fingers. "Oh, dude, I got it!" He tapped his controller, entering his title into the fourth place space and eliminating the other. The high scores now read Wish You Were BeastBoy Don'tcha? Raven hid a smirk.
Cyborg, however, was not as amused. "You are just asking for it now, green bean!" He snatched up the controller in his large hands again. "Rematch!"
"Before you two engage in another shouting match," Raven interrupted as they planned the next round, "I'd like to have a word with Beast Boy first." Beast Boy lifted his eyebrows curiously, and, shrugging, hopped over the couch. He grinned, shooting a glance back at Cyborg.
"Sure. Cy could use the practice anyway before he even has a chance to beat me," he challenged arrogantly. His robotic friend snorted with sarcastic amusement, starting a solo round as Raven and Beast Boy exited the room.
"So," Beast Boy chatted leisurely as they strolled through the hallway, "whatcha wanna talk about?"
Raven opened her mouth, pausing for a moment before answering. "Well, I suppose it wasn't really urgent. I just wanted to talk. You can go back to your game with Cyborg if you wish."
To her surprise, Beast Boy shook his head. "Naw, that's okay. You never really talk with me because you want to. I can play with Cy any other time." He and Raven kept walking, neither with much of a destination in mind for where their feet should take them. "Oh, hey," Beast Boy remembered, "did Star's food ever come back to bite you?"
"Luckily, no," Raven replied. "Apparently not all her food has the ability to send us to the emergency room." She and Beast Boy chuckled quietly together. Raven glanced at the shape-shifter as they rounded a corner. "I suppose that I wanted to apologize," she admitted. They exchanged a quick look and Beast Boy scratched his ear. "I never had permission to go inside of your head," Raven explained. "There could have been things you didn't want me to see."
"Aw, it's okay," Beast Boy declared, his hand shifting to his neck. He rubbed it as he spoke. "I'm sorry for going into your mirror without your permission."
"Are we even?"
Silence befell the two for a moment, but then Raven sighed. "There's… another thing." This had been bothering her ever since returning from his mind, and because he hadn't said or done anything about it, Raven just had to ask. "How much do you remember? Do you even have any recollection of my being in your mind?"
Beast Boy bit his lip as he thought, his canine tooth gently poking his upper lip. "…Not really; it's all really fuzzy, kinda like an old dream or something, y'know?" His words comforted her for some reason, though Raven was careful not to show her relief. Yet his next sentence managed to dash the reassured feeling as quickly as it had arrived. "Why?"
"That brings up a whole different set of questions," Raven said, hoping to steer him clear of the subject.
Beast Boy was not deterred. "So like twenty questions or something?"
"I'm not sure about that many."
The green teenager put his hands up innocently. "Hey, I've got questions too," he said, once again catching Raven off guard.
Raven observed Beast Boy for a moment, pausing in her stride. He came to a halt too, uncertain to why she stopped. The empath surprised him with a small smile. "Okay. Do you want to take this on the roof then? I'll answer all of your questions if you answer mine."
Beast Boy stared at her for a moment, and then his open mouth melted into a light grin. "Yeah, that sounds fun."
It was midday, and a cool breeze had taken to the summer air as the two Titans exited the door. They walked to the rim of the roof, the wind brushing over Raven who was organizing her thoughts as to how she would ask her questions and Beast Boy who was just planning on winging it. Sure, he had his questions, but the shape-shifter didn't really think they would be too hard to voice aloud. Well, at least most of them.
"Alrighty, how're we going to do this?" Beast Boy asked the dark girl beside him. "Do you want to take turns, or make a game out of it, like whoever spits further off the roof gets to ask their question?"
Raven grimaced, running a hand over her face. "That statement just explained so very much. Let's just take turns," she suggested.
"Okay!" Beast Boy plopped down on the edge of the roof, Raven joining him more slowly. They didn't say anything at first, not knowing how they should start, or who should. The quiet crashing of the waves against the rocks far below filled the silence, accompanied by the squawking from seagulls and roaring of the ocean. Eventually shifting, Raven adjusted her position to look at Beast Boy.
"Can I ask you about a specific type of bird?" she inquired, brushing a lock of hair behind one ear.
Beast Boy, a little confused by the odd question, nodded. "Uh, yeah, sure. What does it look like?"
Raven elevated her eyes slightly as she tried to recall the details. "It's very small; petite. There were small, speckled, black diamonds on its chest. I believe it had darkened wing tips too."
Beast Boy blinked. "Uh… That's a pretty… good description. How close were you to this bird exactly?"
"Quite close," was the empath's reply.
Thinking hard, Beast Boy narrowed his eyes. Something dawned on him, and his ears twitched. "Rae, what color was it?"
Raven, turned her head to the side slightly. "It was… green."
Beast Boy breathed out. "Oh." His shoulders shrugged up a little, drawing into himself timidly, and Raven felt guilt nip at her stomach.
"I'm sorry," she apologized. "You don't have to answer; it's not any of my business. I only saw it while in your mind and wondered what kind of bird it was. Forget I asked."
"No, it's okay." Beast Boy swung his feet back and forth absentmindedly. "I don't actually know the name of it, but it was one of the first animals I was able to turn into." Raven watched him carefully, small waves of sadness rolling off of Beast Boy and into her. His voice softened. "It was when my parents and I were in a canoe in Africa; I had just gotten my powers. We got stuck in the rapids, and my mom told me to transform into something, but I was little and didn't know what to do. Luckily, I'd seen that bird you described before and so I changed into it." He sighed. "And I flew away. That was the day my parents died."
Raven touched his shoulder, gently squeezing it. Beast Boy smiled at her, a faint red tingeing his expression. Abruptly he narrowed his eyes, wiggling his suddenly bare toes, and the two teenagers moved their heads over the side of the roof in time to see Beast Boy's shoe sailing down toward the rocks below. The shape-shifter frowned.
"Ah, well, darn."
Inside the tower, Cyborg suddenly froze in his video game playing as a black and purple sneaker flew past the window, headed straight to the ocean. He pointed at the glass, opening his mouth and then closing it again when he found that didn't know what to say. Starfire and Robin noticed his pause, but, seeing nothing out of the ordinary to cause the lack of motion, shrugged at one another and went back to their activities. Moments later the shoe zipped by again, this time in the opposite direction and going up toward the clouds. Cyborg shook his head, feeling very confused, and set down his game controller. He then left the room to go search his system for a virus that could possibly make him hallucinate. It had happened before.
Back on the roof, Raven levitated Beast Boy's shoe back into his hands. He grinned at her. "Thanks, Rae. I really didn't feel like going all the way down there."
"No problem." She waited until he had shoved his boot back on his foot and securely tied the laces to speak again. "Now it's your turn to ask me something," she reminded, taking a seat beside the green teenager once more.
"Right." Beast Boy tapped his chin thoughtfully, leaning back a little on the roof. "I'll start with an easy one I guess. So, what exactly did you see in my head? What was it like there?" Raven paused, deciding on how to describe her visit, and Beast Boy added, "y'know, just because I don't go there much." The empath smirked, rolling her eyes.
"It was very dark at first," she began, recalling the blackness. "It seemed empty, like a large cave except there were no walls or a roof. I guess it was more like someone had turned off all the lights." Beast Boy tilted his head, listening to her words. "I wandered around for a bit," Raven confessed, "until eventually I met someone."
Raven shook her head. "The Beast."
"What?" Beast Boy squinted, not quite processing what he'd heard. "Wait, what?! Raven! It was in there with you alone?! You know what could have happened?!" His expression was so openly worried and anxious that Raven made sure to reassure him of her safety right away. After a few soothing and calming words, Beast Boy had relaxed enough to ask her, "So… What did happen?"
With a faint smile, Raven proceeded in her story. "It was unnerving to say in the least," she narrated, "but… it wasn't violent with me. It hardly touched me actually, and when it did, it was to help lead me to you. The Beast was the reason I found you, otherwise I would have been completely lost."
"Huh," was all Beast Boy could think to respond with. He scratched his head.
"Other animals appeared after a while," Raven said when she had his attention again. "I think they were your emotions; that's why I asked about the small bird," she explained. Beast Boy nodded. "They showed me a large, round, and orange structure in your mind, which for some reason I was able to go through whereas they couldn't. Inside, I found you… though you were… different." Raven briefly described the boy's appearance to Beast Boy.
"Before you got your powers, is that what you looked like?" she inquired, giving him her next question."
"Yeah, as far as I can remember."
"Why do you think you looked like that in your mind?"
Beast Boy shrugged, scrunching his mouth to the side. "I dunno; Maybe it had something to do with the healing? Like I wasn't whole or something? You're the medical expert; I figured you would know."
The cool wind blew over the two Titans, but both stayed warm due to the summer temperature. Raven gave an amused smirk. "I'm not really an expert; I just happen to have healing abilities. Still though, I believe you're on the right track," she mused, rubbing her thumb and finger together as she considered his idea. "After I healed you, your hair and skin turned green again. It must have had to do with remembrance of who you are and when you had your powers."
"Wait, wait, hang on," Beast Boy requested as if she was going to barge ahead. He pointed at her to make sure she was listening. "Let me see if I get what you're saying; I might have had amnesia or something if you hadn't healed me?"
It was Raven's turn to shrug. "It's possible."
Beast Boy lowered his hand. "Wow! Well, thanks for healing me!"
Leaning back and gripping the edge of the roof with her fingers, Raven shook her head, the action a masquerade to hide her regret. "Don't thank me; it was my fault you were hurt. It was more of atonement for what I'd done."
Beast Boy's ears drooped, and he placed his hand over hers, causing Raven to give him her full attention. "It's not your fault, Rae. I'm fine, and so are you. That's all that really matters, right?" Raven stared at him with wide violet eyes, her fingers tingling at their contact, and then slowly nodded. Beast Boy smiled, and the heat rose in Raven's face, making the green teenager stop. "That look!" he exclaimed, grinning even wider. "Right there!"
"What about it?" Raven questioned hesitantly. She wasn't used to people reacting because of her expression; usually it was the lack of one that bothered others.
"It's like the one Affection had!" Beast Boy explained, the light catching his canine tooth. Raven's breath caught in her throat; was she really that easy to see through? Beast Boy tapped his chin with his free hand, somehow distracting himself. "Which reminds me of my next question. So I know you said that it was just Affection being affectionate and whatever, but I feel like all your emotions kept trying to tell me something that I had no idea what they were trying to say." He frowned, wrinkling his nose. "All of your emotions were doing it, especially Affection, and Brave too, now that I think about it! Well, you know, all except Rage. She was kinda busy doing other stuff."
"Then…" Raven shook her head to clear her mind. "What exactly is your question, Beast Boy?"
Beast Boy scratched his head, swinging his feet over the edge of the building again. He obviously hadn't learned from when he lost his shoe several minutes ago. "Uh… Well… I guess… I guess I don't have one really… I just thought there was something…" The green teenager shrugged. "Ah, never mind."
Raven felt the relief drop from her shoulders faster than Beast Boy's sneaker had from the roof. She sensed the shape-shifter looking at her and was quick to smooth out her features. "Alright. Well, it's still your turn," she reminded.
"Oh yeah." Beast Boy suddenly became uncomfortable, shifting several times and rubbing his arm. It was clear that this one was going to be a big question. He was silent for so long that Raven had begun to wonder whether or not he planned on asking. She'd gotten as far as to take in a breath so she could voice her thoughts when Beast Boy suddenly blurted out, "Do you hate me?!"
Raven was so shocked that she could do nothing except stare at him with her mouth slightly open.
Beast Boy pulled the hand that had hovered over hers back to his lap, dropping his chin to his chest and mumbling, "I … thought that since Rage said she did… that you do too. I just want to know."
"Beast Boy," Raven said, clutching his shoulder and forcing him to look her in the eye. "Of course I don't hate you. I could never hate you." The grip on his arm softened. "Rage… I spoke with her, and she didn't seem to have intentionally attacked you. If she had, I'm sure my other emotions would have torn her apart." Beast Boy lifted an eyebrow curiously, but stayed obediently silent until Raven finished. "Remember when we entered my mind for the first time?" she reminded her teammate, and he nodded. "We both thought that we hated one another, but we were wrong. That was when we really became friends."
Smiling, Beast Boy recalled the memory. "Yeah. That was some day."
"As was today," Raven added. She lowered her arm, and a strange heat stirred in her chest as Beast Boy watched her hand leave his shoulder to rest on the roof again. He bit his lip, absentmindedly massaging the side of his neck. Raven glanced at him. "Now I have another question," she admitted, proceeding to her turn. "I know that it is supposed to be dangerous, feral, wild, and deadly, but when I was in your mind, Beast Boy, the Beast was none of those things with me." She set her sights on the horizon, pressing her lips together. "So why was the Beast gentle? It could have easily hurt me, but it didn't. Beast Boy?"
Beast Boy was gone, in his place a small green cat. Mewing, the kitten padded up onto Raven's lap and rubbed the top of his head against her stomach. Raven blinked a few times before relaxing and scratching the fur behind one ear. Purring, the cat hopped up her arm, kneading the cloth there a few times, and then, padding closer to her, licked Raven's cheek with his course tongue. Raven narrowed an eyebrow at him, but she was unable to suppress the bubbly emotion that welled up within as a small ear flicked against her neck. The kitten jumped off her arm, morphing back into a boy who was inches away from Raven.
"My animal forms just seem to be fond of you, Rae," Beast Boy grinned, unaffected by his actions save for a slight scarlet shading across his nose and cheeks. It went unnoticed by Raven who was trying to control her breathing because of the boy's close proximity to her.
"That… that's fortunate then," she observed, regaining control. Crossing his legs, Beast Boy scooted back a little to give Raven her personal space, something she had demanded in the past repeatedly, and the empath released a breath of relief as her emotions calmed down. Another minute and her powers could have slipped. She envied normal teenagers who didn't have to constantly worry about igniting something with fire every time they were near someone they held feelings for. Raven stopped her thought process right there before it could get any farther into the dangerous territory she was treading.
"It's your turn," she reminded, putting her train of thought back on the right track.
"Oh. Okay, right." Beast Boy tilted his head back and stared at the bright blue sky, searching for another question. His head seemed to be hollow of all inquiries but one, and it was a big one. "Um… Uh…" Raven looked at him curiously.
"What is it?"
"Um," he swallowed, glancing at her, and then shook his head. His throat tightened suddenly and he felt like he couldn't speak. It took all Beast Boy had to force out, "N-never mind. You go."
"Are you sure? It's your turn after all."
He nodded, ears twitching nervously. "Y-yeah, go for it."
Raven pressed a finger to her mouth, thinking. "I don't really have any more questions," she realized. The empath set her sights back on Beast Boy. "Are you sure you don't want to ask yours?"
Knowing he probably wouldn't ever have another chance to voice his question, Beast Boy again hesitated, but then bit his lip. "Yeah… I'm sure."
Raven gave him another strange look, but it disappeared as quickly as it had come. Instead of commenting on his odd reluctance, she stood, turning her head toward the door. "I suppose if that's all, then we might as well head inside before the others wonder where we're at." The dark girl waited until Beast Boy had gotten to his feet beside her, and then the two slowly walked toward the roof's entryway. Raven was actually quite curious to what Beast Boy's final question would have been if he'd voiced it, but the level of embarrassment that wafted off of the boy made it understandable as to why he'd said nothing. If her friend was uncomfortable asking a question, he had no need to speak it aloud. Raven often didn't state her opinion on things, despite what her friend might think.
Absorbed in her own thoughts, Raven didn't notice the steady increase of emotion from the boy behind her until his voice pulled her back to him. "Hey Raven?"
Lifting an eyebrow, she stopped in front of the door and faced him curiously. Her simple interest turned into shock when Beast Boy suddenly leaned over to Raven and kissed her softly on the lips. He hovered there for a few moments, within such a time that Raven turned completely scarlet and an explosion sounded inside the tower. At the kitchen counter, Robin and Starfire stood ridged with surprise, completely covered in pink goop from head to toe, a mixing bowl still cradled in the alien princess's arms. The two exchanged glances, and, with a sigh, started wiping the sticky goo off of their uniforms. There was certain to be much cleaning in the nooks and crannies of the ops room later. Robin grumbled to himself, shaking the pink slush from his hair. "What in the world did Beast Boy do this time?" he muttered.
"W-what did you just-?" Raven stammered as Beast Boy drew back, covering her mouth with her fingers and staring at the boy. The crimson color had not yet faded from her cheeks, and a matching color graced Beast Boy's face as well. Raven's jaw moved up and down, but no sound came from her throat except a small squeak that died immediately after her hearing it.
Beast Boy held his hands out at the girl quickly. To Raven's astonishment, the corner of his lips was curved up in a smile, but the shape-shifter was obviously trying to hide it. "Now before you destroy me, I-I think that makes us even!" Raven's astonished expression formed into one of stunned skepticism. Beast Boy crossed his arms, pressing his lips together nervously. "You did kiss me without my permission," he reminded, pointing two fingers out in the air. "Twice! Even if one was your emotion… but you know. So I think I deserved one of my own!"
Raven narrowed her eyes, tensing her shoulders. "When did I-?" She straightened, an inhale of breath taken upon seeing the knowing grin on Beast Boy's face. "You remember when I was in your head?" the dark sorceress understood in horror as she finally connected the dots.
"Not at first," Beast Boy admitted, scratching at the back of his neck. He shifted, scuffing his feet back and forth over the roof. "But when you started talking about it, it kinda came back to me." Raven stared at him, all thoughts of leaving the roof long gone from her head. "I-I'm sorry," the green teenager mumbled, blushing darkly again. It seemed that his actions finally caught up to his brain. "I'll understand if you're gonna throw me off the building."
Raven was silent. While in her mirror, she had assumed that she'd liked Beast Boy because of her emotions trying to manipulate or confuse her. When she'd left and gone into Beast Boy's mind, the girl was surprised to find that her feelings had not faded, instead grown deeper and stronger. At last Raven had ended up in the real world with reality, and while her affections stayed with her, nothing changed between the subject of these emotions and her. She was all but ready to try to forget the whole thing before this talk. The dark empath lifted her chin, stepping toward Beast Boy.
"You know, I do have one more question for you," she stated, tone like steel. "And your answer will determine whether I throw you off the roof or not." Beast Boy swallowed, and Raven, smirking ever so slightly, drew closer to him so they were almost touching. The dark girl's voice quieted to a low whisper, her words so faint even Beast Boy's sharp ears could barely understand what was said.
"Do I have your permission?" Raven murmured.
Beast Boy's eyes lit up, and, taking that as a yes, Raven tugged him toward her. Her harsh expression softened into one similar to Affection's, and, with a smile, Raven kissed the green shape-shifter in the same way he'd done to her: carefully, shyly, and, most of all, affectionately. Both new to the experience of touching lips, the kiss was only a few seconds, and when they drew apart both had again taken on a scarlet shade. Raven's breath was rapid due to nerves, but adrenaline rushed through her veins in a way she'd never experienced before. Somewhere along the shore of the tower, a flash of black power zapped the water, sending a good chunk of Aqualad's domain up in a geyser. Beast Boy grinned widely, his physical and mental state similar to Raven's.
"See? It's a lot easier when you ask first!" he said, earning the empath's famous eye-roll.
"Sure, Beast Boy," she replied, monotone.
Beast Boy's smile didn't waver. He was long since used to her impassive responses, and it was only very recently that he realized it was probably a way for Raven to hide whatever emotion she was really experiencing. Speaking of which…
"So, what are your emotions doing right now?" he asked with a chuckle, tapping his head. The teenager laughed playfully. "They think I'm a good kisser?"
Raven lifted an eyebrow. "Why don't we go in and ask them what they think? "
Shuddering at the conjured image of Envy, Happy, Brave, and Affection, along with a good sum of others, all coming at him at once, Beast Boy rubbed his neck. "Ehhh how about not? At least not yet. Let's talk to the others first and see how they react?" he suggested.
"Alright." Raven angled her body toward the door, a gust of wind blowing over her and Beast Boy. "But you have to promise me that you will visit them in the mirror sometime. They are already giving me a headache with all their questions as to why you aren't there right this instant."
"Sounds like it'll be a party," Beast Boy replied, walking with her to the entrance to the roof. Raven shook her head, failing to hide a smile. They had pulled back the door and could see the faint light from the hallway below, when Raven looked back at Beast Boy.
"Before I forget," she said, "what was your question? The one you didn't want to say before?" She assumed that it had to do with what had occurred afterwards, and this was the reason she wasn't as hesitant to bring it up again. Plus, if she and Beast Boy were headed where she thought they were, Raven imagined they would be more trusting with one another. They'd already literally been inside each other's heads; what could be hidden that the other didn't already know?
Slipping his fingers around hers, Beast Boy smiled at Raven again. "I'd say you already answered it." With a gentle squeeze that sent jolts of emotion up through both of the teenagers, Raven and Beast Boy descended, hand-in-hand, into the tower together. Inside of Raven's mirror, a gathering of girls dressed with enough colored cloaks to fill a rainbow were dancing, jumping, and expressing their joy in as many ways as possible. Their activity was so much that if it had been anyone but Raven in control, the host would have instantly been thrown into an overpowering, wild rush of uncontrollable emotions. However, Raven was not one to give in so easily, and only once in a great while did something happen that made the dark girl experience what some might know as an intense mood swing.
And thus ends Mood Swing. When I first started this story, I'll admit wasn't sure how much I would enjoy writing it, but soon enough I became attached, and now I'm sad to see it go. I hope everyone enjoyed reading it!
As for the results from my poll, there have been two choices that have alternated the lead position, and so I've decided just to write both. I've already put up a chapter for one of them, so I suggest to those of you who are interested to check out Sleepover on my page. We'll see how good I'm going to be at writing two at a time, since it's been quite a while since I have tried it. I'll do my best.
Thank you to everyone who cared enough to follow Mood Swing, and even more to those who took the time to write a review. I love all of you guys so much; I never imagined this story could be so successful and it's all thanks to you.
Until next time,