A/N: It has been a long time since I wrote a TT fic, probably no one who follows me even knows I write them. So here's one 'cause I felt the need to change fandoms. It's my first serious BB/Ray because I've only recently started to ship them. But I'm catching on quick! There will be at least one more chapter, maybe two, depends how it goes, and future lemons are a promise.
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, pity really.
Raven was startled at the knock on her door. She opened one eye, reached her mind out slightly … it was Beast Boy. And he wanted something, something serious.
Raven uncrossed her legs, lowering herself slowly to the ground, shaking her mind out of her meditation and steeling it firmly back in reality. She took a moment to collect herself, then on soft feet padded quietly to the door and slid it open.
Beast Boy did indeed look serious. He had his most serious expression on, the one that instantly made Raven realise that she respected him. He was looking her directly in the eye already, arms loose by his sides, back straight, chin up, no trace of mischief in his usually laughing eyes. This was the Beast Boy that was strong and fierce, a leader in his own right. Raven could see the strength in him, the determination.
"Raven, I wanted to talk to you about something."
"I gathered as much," she replied flatly, not giving him ground. Serious Beast Boy might start yelling at her for her apparent rudeness, though Raven thought it unlikely. He hadn't raised his voice to her in years, no matter how much his temper got the better of him. Looking at him now, she suddenly wished she could say the same. Her heart ached a little when she remembered how hard she had been on him, from time to time.
Beast Boy ran his tongue over his lips; his fang glistened. "Can I come in?" he asked quietly.
Raven felt her eyebrows slide up. He had never asked this before. Stunned, though careful not to show it, she stepped aside and lifted an acquiescent hand. Beast Boy walked past her and into the room.
Raven slid the door shut behind him, checking first to see if any of their teammates were in the corridor, watching. If Raven didn't know Beast Boy as well as she did, she would have thought it was some sort of a prank he was playing at.
He was standing in the middle of her room, squinting slightly in the darkness. "Have a seat," Raven said and perched herself on the end of her bed, gesturing for Beast Boy to do the same. Gingerly, he sat.
He looked at his feet. He tapped his fingertips together. Raven expected him to give a wheezing, high pitched laugh like he often did when he was under pressure, or even crack a lame joke. But he did neither. Raven sat still, silent, waiting.
Beast Boy looked up after only a few moments. He sucked in a deep breath and looked at her squarely. Raven felt something stir in the pit of her belly, something she couldn't quite recognise; her mind was too clouded from meditation yet.
"Something's changed between us," Beast Boy finally said. Raven merely arched an eyebrow. Beast Boy drew another deep breath. "Since Tokyo… and even before then, I think. Things aren't the way they used to be."
Raven felt that he wanted her to say something, that he wanted a reply. "What?" she asked blankly.
Beast Boy's brow collapsed in a furrow of confusion and concentration. Clearly, there was something he meant to say, whatever it cost him.
"I don't know what you're thinking," Beast Boy said, and his tone was more serious now than Raven had ever heard it before. She suddenly felt on guard, and sat up straighter despite herself. "But I've noticed the difference. Before … I don't know when it started, but it's been getting clearer to me every day. Before the Brotherhood of Evil, before your father, maybe even before Brother Blood…"
Raven wondered idly why the biggest villains they'd ever faced were important to the story.
"… before all of that, you and I were friends, I think. Not close, but friends. We didn't understand each other and we got under each other's skin. Right?"
Raven nodded. She couldn't argue with him for it was true, no matter how much it grieved her now to think of, no matter how unflattering it looked on her friendship CV.
"I don't know when exactly, but things got … easier. Between us. You know?" He didn't pause. "And I think it's fair to say we became closer, but were still wary of each other. I can't say when we stopped being wary. I can't say at all, but since then…"
Raven could say. For her, it started the day he had come to her after her hideous mistake with Malchior. For him, she thought it had started on the day that he was covered in the chemical while fighting Adonis, when he became able to access his most primordial aspects. Something about this conversation worried her slightly. "Will you get to the point?" she didn't worry that her bluntness would bother him – they did indeed understand each other's ways now.
His eyebrow twitched in annoyance. Another deep breath. "There used to be a time," Beast Boy said, and his voice was lower now, almost conspiratorial, "when you hated to let me touch you – hugs, high fives, anything. It used to bug the hell out of you."
"Right," Raven said. The feeling in her belly turned into a hot stone and she could feel her insides twisting tight around it.
"But now, recently, if we hug … you feel different. Like I'm not bugging you, which is great, 'cause Raven … I – I've always wanted to touch you. And now you touch me, too – and you never used to."
"I hit you, you mean," Raven said, eyes narrowing slightly.
"It's still touching, and it's always in fun, and you never used to do it."
Raven blinked at him and a silence drew between them. Raven found suddenly that her mind was sharp and screaming so loudly she didn't know what her own thoughts were. Her heart was racing, pounding an erratic rhythm against her ribs. Beast Boy didn't look much better composed himself. They stared at each other, straight into each others' eyes. There was emotion in Beast Boy's, an emotion Raven wasn't sure she wanted to see. She tried to keep her own eyes blank, to keep her emotions hidden, but Beast Boy was searching them – for what, she knew not.
"Do you have a point?" Raven asked eventually, her voice thin and tight, and the tension broke. Snapped, more like, like a wire coiled tight, springing back and lashing them both.
"I'm worried you'll hit me. My point is … something's changed between us," Beast Boy said, his voice even quieter, softer, he was almost whispering. His eyes were still raking hers. Raven felt, irrationally, panicked. She wished suddenly that she hadn't let him into her room.
And then Beast Boy grabbed her face with both hands and kissed her, and all thought and feeling disappeared, except for the feeling of his lips on hers, his fang nipping against her tongue, the warmth and the smell of him, comfortable and close.
Beast Boy wrapped his hands in her hair and moved her tight against him, sliding his lips against hers softly, wonderingly. Raven pressed hers back without thinking, her hands went about his waist and she relaxed against his thin chest. There was no thought, no panic now, just the touch of Beast Boy's mouth on hers, drawing her bottom lip into his mouth, his tongue sliding against her lip, reaching for her tongue and touching it. He tasted like peppermints. He was soft, so gentle, and somehow still firm, forceful. Raven was guided by his touch, her mouth moving against his, his fangs scraping against her, his lips… her senses were taken up with Beast Boy, his feel, his press, his scent, his kiss.
He didn't let her go for a long time, just kissed her and kissed her, sweetly, again and again, then as suddenly as he'd grasped her, Beast Boy drew away again. His hands slipped away from her head and moved to where hers lay at his waist. He drew her hands away, but kept one, held tight in his own hand.
Raven blinked and tried to collect herself. She wasn't sure what to do at all. Straightening up and out of the embrace, she bit her bottom lip between her teeth, as if she could pretend Beast Boy's mouth was still against hers.
"You haven't hit me yet," Beast Boy said, his voice a whisper. His eyes were searching hers again, even more desperately than before.
"No," Raven agreed.
"Do you understand what I was trying to say, now?"
Beast Boy blinked at her. Raven could sense fear from him, along with that other emotion, the one she hadn't wanted to acknowledge. "And?" he said.
Raven blinked back, her mind suddenly screaming again, so loud she could not hear her thoughts. And – and what? What did he mean? She wasn't at all sure. She felt confused and shaken, emotions beating her heart into madness and anything at all clear or coherent from entering her mind.
"I think you wouldn't have kissed me like that if I wasn't right, Raven," Beast Boy said, so serious.
She felt lost. Raven wanted to reach out and wrap her arms around him again, have Beast Boy hold her safe, safe in that place where time and thought stopped and … and she didn't know what else. She certainly didn't know what he wanted her to say. "I don't know," she murmured.
The look in his eyes was enough to break her heart. He looked away and stood up abruptly. There was a long pause as Beast Boy huffed several deep breaths. "When you do," he said without looking at her, "will you tell me?"
Astonished and dazed, Raven nodded. Beast Boy nodded back, and then stretched a grin across his face. Raven gazed at his lips. "I tried," he said, but like his smile, his heart wasn't in it.
Then, without another word, Beast Boy turned and left the room.
Raven touched her fingers to her lips. The screaming voices kept on screaming. They hurt. "Be quiet," she demanded sharply of herself, and then levitated above the bed, sliding her legs into a full lotus and returning to her meditation. She had something else to think about now.
The meditation did indeed sooth her frazzled emotions, but left her mind no clearer. She was terribly confused. While she agreed that the relationship she and Beast Boy shared was different to what it one had been, definitely closer and becoming closer all the time, she wasn't sure what that actually meant. A kiss might mean many things, as Starfire would tell her. Beast Boy might only be playing a joke on her, as Robin, cynical bastard, might suggest. There was only one person who knew both her and Beast Boy well enough to give her appropriate advice.
Raven found Cyborg in the garage, polishing and waxing the T-Car.
"Hiya, Rave," he said smilingly. "Come to help me do the tyre rotation?"
"Sure," Raven replied, watching him carefully from under her cowl. Cyborg seemed his usual self – so then Beast Boy clearly had not spoken to him about … whatever it was that he had been trying to tell her. Raven reached for a wheel brace and crouched on the floor. She often helped Cyborg with the T-Car's maintenance, and it was a good opportunity for them to get quality time. Raven looked upon Cyborg as she supposed she might look upon a loving older brother, had she one to compare him to.
They worked in comfortable silence. "Something bothering you?" Cyborg asked suddenly, and Raven looked around, surprised, to see Cyborg was studying her just as closely as she had been earlier with him. She slowly lowered her cowl, but said nothing, unsure where to start, what to say. Cyborg frowned at her, gently removing the wheel brace from her pale hands and sitting beside her on the cool concrete floor. "Right. Tell me everything," he said in a no-nonsense voice.
Raven paused, thinking. "It's Beast Boy," she said eventually.
Cyborg sighed. "What's the little animal done this time? I've told him he shouldn't go sniffing your shoes, you know."
"He does what?" Raven snapped, momentarily distracted.
"Yeah, when he's playing sniffer-dog games. I tell him, Raven won't like it if you drool on her boots. The kid won't listen."
Raven frowned, mouth tight. That was disturbing news indeed. "That's not it," she said. "It's something … very serious."
"What?" Cyborg asked, sounding concerned.
"He … he came to my room today, while I was meditating." Raven really had no idea what time of the day it was now. Her meditations sometimes lasted hours and she lost track of time. She was certain the one after Beast Boy's visit had. "And … he told me he thought things were … different. Between him and me. And then … he kissed me."
Cyborg's eyebrow slid up. "Say what?"
"He kissed me. Uh … and not in a friendly fashion. In a…" she couldn't say intimate, "…a close fashion."
Cyborg let out a low whistle, long and toneless. "Well. About time."
"Pardon?" Raven asked with a growl, suddenly suspicious.
"Well, I dunno what dimension you've been in lately, girl, but BB's got it for you something terrible. I'm surprised it's taken him this long to do something about it – and that he's been so forward. Who knew the little guy had that much guts?"
"That's all well and good," Raven said sharply, "but what do I do about it?"
This seemed to surprise Cyborg most of all. "Well … what do you wanna do about it?"
"I don't know," Raven said, confusion washing over her again as she tried to consider her options.
"Well how do you feel?"
Raven paused, then said quietly, "I don't know. I spend most of my time trying to control my emotions. It makes it hard sometimes to recognise feelings when they stir in me. I can't decipher what I'm feeling right now."
"Did it make you angry?" Cyborg asked, tipping his head to one side.
"Were you grossed out?"
"No." Raven was surprised that Cyborg had asked that. The thought that she should or could be disgusted had not occurred to her.
"Was there any negative feelings that you did recognise?"
Raven paused, thinking carefully. "No," she admitted.
"Well that narrows it down." He smiled at her, and it was kind and supportive. Azar bless Cyborg, she thought, he may be a trickster and a joker, but when you need him to be serious, he damn well is. "Let's try something different. When he kissed you, what did you do? Did you push him away, refuse to kiss him back…?"
Raven was hesitant. The alarm bells were clanging in her head again. She didn't want to say it aloud, but she did anyway, knowing that she could trust Cyborg. "No, I returned his kiss … and I drew him closer."
Cyborg reached out and placed his hand over hers, where it rested on her bent knee. "I think that's gotta tell you something. I know why you shy away from your emotions, Rave. But feelings are good. They're what makes us human. And yours are trying to talk to you."
Raven looked at him squarely. "I'm only half human," she reminded Cyborg.
"And that's the half that keeps the rest in check. Maybe try exploring this, Raven. See what it leads to. See if it's love. Don't deny yourself love if it's there, Raven. It won't hurt you, and you don't wanna miss out on it."
"How? How do I explore it? I've spent my whole life trying to keep my emotions hidden. I don't know how to bring them out. I … I'm afraid of them, of having them control me."
"Sometimes they will, Rave. But you've experienced that before, and you know when to take control back – I've seen you do it. Try it now, it's worth it. If you need help, ask Starfire. She's pretty good at expressing her emotions."
"I'll do that," Raven said, thoughtful.
"Do it now," Cyborg encouraged. "While it's in your mind, while you've got the courage for it. Dwell on it too long you might lose your nerve, and miss your shot. Off you go. I can handle this tyre rotation." He gave her a bracing smile, squeezed her hand and sent her off.
Raven couldn't find Starfire though, and when she reached out psychically found that she could not locate her in the Tower. Her friendship with Starfire was a strange and complex one. Originally believing that Starfire's exuberance was a threat to her quiet, she had avoided her. However, Starfire's good heart and surprising intelligence won her over, not least of all because Starfire was willing to meet her halfway. Raven had done the same and they had become fast friends.
She didn't really think she would ever have needed her like she did at that moment. But Cyborg was right, Starfire knew more about feeling than anyone else Raven had ever met; it was the nature of Tamaraneans, apparently. But more than that, she had had to deal with feelings for Robin – surely no easy task, what with his stubborn nature and one-tracked mind. Surely Starfire would have the best advice.
While she waited for Starfire's return, Raven made herself some tea and settled into the couch with a book. She couldn't concentrate on it, though, and ended up sipping her tea, knees drawn up, arms wrapped around her legs, gazing mildly out the window, surprised to see the sun was already setting.
When the door to the common room opened, she didn't need to look around to know it wasn't Starfire. It was Beast Boy. Every person let off a different vibe and Raven knew her friends so well she could always pick them out. He came and sat on the couch, close but not too close, and smiled when she looked at him. It wasn't a forced smile, or a smile with any agenda. Just a plain, friendly smile.
Beast Boy picked up the remote and flicked the TV on. He flipped through a few channels before stopping on a British comedy programme. Raven finished her tea as Beast Boy laughed beside her. It didn't feel as awkward to be near him now as she might have expected, but still she felt unsettled.
"Want some popcorn?" Beast Boy asked suddenly, turning to her with a grin, laughter twinkling in his eyes.
"Sure," Raven replied, trying not to look startled. She watched him as he got up and crossed to the kitchen, tossing a packet of microwave popcorn in the machine and pressing buttons. He'd grown quickly in the last year and was finally taller than her, though was skinnier than ever because of it, all gaunt bones and lanky, muscled limbs. His hair needed cutting; it was curling about his pointed ears. She knew his look so well, she realised. Had she always been looking at him?
He looked at her now, and met her eyes. He smiled gently, but his own eyes were shadowed with concern, worry, potential guilt. "Are you okay Raven?"
She nodded. "Fine."
That drew a sarcastic smile onto his lips, though why Raven wasn't sure. She wasn't sure she wanted to know why. But the heavy stone settled again in her belly and she bit her lip, worried she'd upset him. They had once been experts at upsetting each other, and it wasn't a skill easily lost. Sometimes, Raven thought, they couldn't help themselves. Like that time Beast Boy had stuck his finger up her nose while she slept. Of course that would upset her, but he had to do it anyway.
She had retaliated, of course. But when she remembered it now, she knew for true that she hadn't been that upset by it. Beast Boy was her teammate and friend. She trusted him and cared about him and knew he did for her. Getting under each other's skin was natural, teasing was natural, but they neither ever stayed mad for long.
When the popcorn was ready Beast Boy returned to the couch and placed the bowl between them. Raven took some, turning to watch the TV as well. As Beast Boy laughed at the jokes and antics in the show and Raven found herself wishing that she could be so carefree as well. Even without her father's influence, since his defeat, she found that the demonic aspect of her still had to be controlled. That control wasn't easy to give up, even for her own benefit.
She could still enjoy the programme though, and did, and she and Beast Boy sat companionably, barely noticing when their fingers touched as they both reached for popcorn at the same time.
They were both so comfortable and absorbed that they almost leapt out of their respective skins when the door opened and the three other Titans entered.
"Oh, awesome!" Cyborg exclaimed and rushed across the room, hurling himself over the back of the couch and landing with a thump. His eyes were immediately glued to the screen – clearly, he liked the British programme. The bowl of popcorn was a casualty of his exuberance, flipping off the couch, kernels flying everywhere, when Cyborg landed and bumped Raven into it.
"We've been to the movies." Robin explained his and Starfire's long absence as they walked over too. "Brought back pizza."
"Yeah, pizza!" Beast Boy said, grabbing the boxes from Robin once he was within reach and spreading them across the table. "You got a vegetarian one, right?"
Starfire was at Raven's shoulder. "Cyborg tells me you have been seeking my assistance," she said quietly, and there was a question in her eyes.
"Uh, right," Raven replied, sparing one last glance for Beast Boy. He was absorbed in the pizza, but she thought she sensed an emotion from him. She gestured for Starfire to follow her out of the room, and Starfire took up one of the pizza boxes and followed her.
"May I ask the nature of your need?" Starfire asked eventually as Raven led her aimlessly down a corridor.
"It's … personal," Raven said, feeling embarrassed. Emotion wasn't her usual thing.
"Then may I suggest that we discuss it on the roof? I find being under the gaze of the universe and in the fresh air is always useful for settling an uneasy mind."
"Sounds good," Raven said without special enthusiasm, and the two girls walked up the stairs to the roof in renewed silence.
They sat side by side at the edge of the roof, Starfire hanging her legs over the edge. The pizza lay between them and Starfire took a piece, eating it happily as Raven watched her. It was so easy for Starfire to express her happiness and her love.
"Please, begin sharing," Starfire said pleasantly after a few moments. There was much Starfire already knew about her, had had to know over the years. This shouldn't be so hard. And yet it was. Somehow, this felt more personal than many of the other things Raven had ever held secret. She began, haltingly.
"Today … earlier … Beast Boy … he came to my room, and … and he kissed me."
Starfire shrieked with delight. "But this is glorious news! I have long known of the feelings between the two of you and am gladdened that this day has arrived!"
"Wait," Raven said, alarmed. "I don't know how good this is. And what do you mean you already knew?"
"As a Tamaranean I am easily able to recognise the romantic feelings between other people. It is in our nature to notice these things, even though Tamaraneans often do not make attachments based on them. I have long known of the feelings Beast Boy has for you, and of yours for him."
"What do you mean?" Raven asked again, confused and frustrated. "I don't even know what I feel."
Starfire became more sober at once, putting aside her jubilance for Raven's sake. "I see. You suppress your emotions and so have not recognised the feelings. Now you are uncertain as to how you feel, correct? And you believe I can assist you with this?"
Raven bowed her head. "I thought if anyone could help me understand those sorts of feelings, it would be you."
"Very wise," Starfire said, pushing the pizza box towards Raven, encouragingly. Raven took a slice, though she had no real appetite. "Please tell me what transpired."
Raven did, including all the details of what she had recognised feeling and doing. Starfire nodded, looking serious and thoughtful, but her eyes were alight with happiness and hope.
"The feelings Beast Boy has for you I believe to be intense and long-lasting," the alien said at the end of the tale. "If companionship with him is something you desire, then I am certain he will be a loyal partner. So what remains is to understand your own feelings."
"H-how? How do I do that? I have always shied away from my emotions. I don't know how to get in touch with them now."
"Ask yourself the following questions," Starfire said kindly, "What does your mind tell you?"
Raven thought for a moment. "That this was unexpected. That it would be dangerous. That I can't be certain what Beast Boy feels… or what he wants."
Starfire nodded. "Now look into your heart, and be honest. What does it tell you?"
This was hard for Raven. "I'm not sure I can do that."
"If I were to tell you that I were to leave the Teen Titans, would you be able to recognise the feelings such news would arouse?"
Raven thought about it. "I believe so," she said slowly.
"This is because you are more focused on the negative than the positive, because you deal more often with them. You must try to recognise and to embrace your positive emotions. Focus on a cheering thought, and accept how this makes you feel."
"Like the time you taught me the joy of flight?"
"Exactly!" Starfire said, clapping her hands excitedly.
Raven thought. She tried to recognise something that made her happy … her books. Her books made her very happy, she thought. She considered her favourite book and tried to acknowledge why she liked it and how it made her feel. It was hard, and slow but Starfire was patient. Accepting the feeling scared her. She said as much.
Starfire nodded again. "Any strong emotion can be frightening, as we all react to emotions and the strong ones make us act most rashly. But you are expert at not being led by your emotion. You should have no fear of being controlled by something good.
"Now that you have accepted the positive," Starfire continued, "think about Beast Boy. Think on how he makes you feel, and why you reacted to his touch the way that you did."
Raven thought again. Images of him flashed through her mind, and she opened her heart and mind to the emotion that accompanied them. It was hard to do, and overwhelming, but she breathed deep and concentrated, her face screwed into a frown. She thought about every time she and Beast Boy had touched, of all the times he had hugged her, grasping her around the middle from behind and joking at her. It made her feel warm and safe.
She thought about the time she had hugged him and he had pushed her away, and felt the stirrings of anger and confusion, but they were soon overcome when she pictured his face again. She smiled despite herself. She thought of his kiss, and her heart skipped a beat. A deep yearning ache took hold of her, gripping her heart. She allowed herself, with difficulty, to succumb to the feelings. And it was not long until she realised what she had been trying, successfully, to deny.
"You have the love for him?" Starfire asked, clearly reading the signs of emotion on Raven's face.
Raven didn't answer immediately, but considered instead the time she had fallen in love with Malchior the Dragon, and how the feeling she had now compared. It was different, yes, but clear all the same. Raven nodded, slowly, in reply to Starfire's question. "Yes," she said simply, and an unbidden smile crept suddenly onto her face.
Starfire clapped her hands in delight. "Glorious!" she announced. "Shall you inform him of your desire to become companions?"
"No," Raven said, "not yet. I need time to wrap my head around this, and decide … just how to go about things. I also need to know that … that Terra is no longer in his heart."
"I understand," Starfire said, and they continued to sit and talk, discussing the situation and eating pizza, until Raven was exhausted from the emotions and her mind became smuffled with confusion. Then they went to bed, and Raven, who had expected to lie awake for hours in turmoil, closed her eyes and fell into a restful sleep, filled only with green eyes and soft lips.
The next day Raven meditated again and tried to get used to the idea of opening her heart and mind not only to emotion, but to another person. The problem was, now that she had considered the possibility of being in love, she couldn't stop considering it. Beast Boy crept into her mind at any time she wasn't occupied, and small smiles tugged at her lips when she thought of him. She noticed both Cyborg and Starfire watching her carefully, oftentimes with smiles of triumph and decided to stay away from them. Their smugness irritated her.
At least, Raven thought, she wasn't the last person to realise her feelings for Beast Boy. Robin was blissfully oblivious. And Beast Boy himself, while not avoiding her, was certainly not looking for any clues from her. The fact that his behaviour was simply out of respect for her, waiting for her decision, only made her appreciate him more.
She spent the entire morning in meditation, and got nowhere clearer. The afternoon she spent in the Titan's gym, exercising. They all spent time in the gym most days, particularly if there was no combat practice scheduled. Raven completed the weight regime Cyborg had designed for her, the Tai Chi that Robin had taught her, and then hopped onto the cross-trainer. Generally she spent an hour or more on it every day. Today, she spent closer to two hours, significantly longer than usual, and was tired and sweaty when she finished. The exercise had distracted her well, though and she was glad of it, however she was also desperate for a shower.
Raven went to the bathroom, locking the door behind her. She started the shower, running the water warm, not wanting it too hot while she felt heated from training. Faint steam wisped gently about her as she undressed, and suddenly she found herself before the mirror, inspecting her curves with a critical eye.
Raven had never really been one to worry about her appearance. Her physical shape didn't matter to her because she was fit and healthy and her body did what she needed it to. But now … if someone loved her it was conceivable they would find her attractive. At least, attractive enough to want to take to bed, at some stage.
Trying to be objective, she looked closely at her body. Curvy but slim … thin even, if the jut of her hips and the number of visible ribs was anything to go by. Small, small boned and fine featured. Narrow feet and bony hands. Little mouth and large eyes. Serious and unsmiling, and so, so pale.
It could be worse, she supposed. Certainly, she wasn't hideous.
She wasn't uncomfortable with herself either, like she knew some girls could be. Starfire wasn't either - indeed, Starfire was quite comfortable being naked when it suited her. Usually, as a mark of respect for human customs, she wore some clothing, but on occasion she would take to the roof to sunbathe naked.
Raven climbed into the shower, and let the warm water rinse the salts from her skin, washing her hair while she was there. She relished the caress of the steam and the rush of the shower, easing the ache that the gym had left in her muscles. As she ran the soap across her body Beast Boy sprang once again into her mind – the feel of his mouth on hers, the touch of his fang pressing into her tongue, his firm, thin body…
Raven dropped the soap.
"What is wrong with me?" she grizzled as she bent to retrieve it. "One kiss and I've turned into a melodramatic child." Irritated, she hurriedly finished washing and rushed out of the shower, wrapping her towel around her frame as she threw the bathroom door open.
Beast Boy was standing on the other side, hand poised as if to knock. His mouth fell open, just a little, and his eyes darkened as he looked at her.
Raven froze, the towel clenched tight in her hand, hair dripping onto her shoulders. Her brain went numb, and she stood blankly in the doorway, eyes wide as she and Beast Boy stared at each other. Why was this so awkward? It wasn't as if either of them had never been seen in a towel before - Beast Boy had seen her fresh from the shower several times, and she him, without thinking anything of it. Were things really so very changed between them? Was that the power of a kiss, of an emotion?
And Raven knew that it was. She felt it. Fully felt it, and knew without a doubt that she did indeed love him. Half of her wanted to grasp him with both hands, pull him against her and kiss him again, but she doubted that was a very good idea whilst wearing only a towel.
Beast Boy licked his lips. "Uh, Raven?"
She felt her powers stir before she was fully aware, but took control of them and enclosed herself in a dark sphere, transporting herself directly to her bedroom. As her powers subsided, she sat heavily on the side of her bed, towel dropping heedlessly to the floor. "Damn," she whispered to herself. "What do I do now?" Raven simply had no idea how to go about discussing a relationship, let alone initiating one.
Perhaps Beast Boy would ask her out, but she doubted it. He knew her too well to ask her when they had agreed the next move would be hers, that she would let him know what she wanted. She knew now what she wanted. She just wasn't sure how to ask about it. And she needed more time to adjust to the thought, anyway.
A few non-eventful days later, as romance went, the team was assembled to watch a movie. It had been a good day for them, taking out Cinderblock early that morning and Robin announcing he was proud of the team after their combat practice that afternoon. Cyborg had vanished afterwards to spend some time with his girlfriend, Sarah, Robin and Starfire were alone somewhere and so Raven had taken over the comfortable couch in the common room to do some reading. When Cyborg returned he came with popcorn, pizza and garlic bread, and a selection of rented movies.
Cyborg had called the others, and they had come, gladly, all of them settling onto the couch together as Cyborg selected the first movie. Except Beast Boy hadn't joined them. Robin seemed to notice their green friend's absence suddenly, belatedly, and commented on it, though Raven had, much to her own displeasure, noticed it immediately. It seemed to her that after the shower incident she and Beast Boy could hardly bear to be near one another. During battles and combat practices they got along as they always had, though Raven knew that they both paid more attention to the other, making certain they each were safe. Cyborg and Starfire, being informed as they were, had perhaps noticed the slight changes, the slight tensions, but Robin was as blissfully obtuse as ever.
"Hey," he said now, sounding surprised. "Where's Beast Boy?"
Cyborg shrugged his hulking shoulders. "His loss," was his reply.
"Perhaps he is needing the 'alone time'," Starfire suggested, patting Robin's knee.
Robin frowned, though. "Maybe. Doesn't sound like Beast Boy. Have any of you noticed that Beast Boy's been acting stranger than usual lately? Spending a lot of time on his own, and a lot of time sitting outside at night, morphed as a bird?"
Raven lifted her cowl so that no one would see the sudden flush that rose in her cheeks, but Cyborg was smirking and Starfire was beaming happily.
"Yeah," Cyborg said, cheekily. "You pickin' up anything from him, Rave?"
Raven glared at her metallic friend. "No," she growled through gritted teeth.
"Perhaps, my friend, you should try more firmly," Starfire said, joining in the teasing.
"Starfire…" Raven grumbled, tone warning.
But Robin was looking thoughtful. "That's not a bad idea, Raven. Of course, don't intrude on anything, but if you can sense something from him, maybe talk to him … it might help. We're a team; we need to be open with each other. I don't like seeing him so out of sorts."
Raven ground her teeth. "Robin, sometimes we all keep secrets. It means nothing."
"But it might not. Beast Boy hasn't been this withdrawn since Terra handed us over to Slade. Will you try?"
Raven sat silent, watching as Starfire and Cyborg studied her, both delighted with her discomfort. "I'll see what I can do," she grumbled reluctantly, but Robin seemed pleased enough with that.
"If anyone can do it, you can," he said encouragingly. "Beast Boy opens up to you far more than he does any of the rest of us, even Cyborg." Robin jerked a gloved thumb at the man.
"Well, I dunno 'bout that," Cyborg said, flicking the corner of Robin's mask and scowling, only half in fun. Robin grinned in return, and then hoisted his feet up onto the coffee table, wrapping one arm around Starfire as Cyborg started the movie.
Raven found it hard to concentrate after that, though and had trouble following the movie. She kept picturing Beast Boy, sitting in the cool night air, in bird form … but what bird? She didn't need to ask that question to know the answer. Her heart beat faster when she thought of him, and she kept her hood up until she was able to be calm again. As soon as the movie was finished Raven left the common room and went to her own bed room.
Standing at her window, Raven placed her hand against the cold glass, and reached out her soul self, feeling for Beast Boy's presence outside. She felt him, there he was in raven form, perched high in a tree, the tree nearest to her window. His eyes looked not for her, though, but to the skies. There was no moon that night and the stars were almost invisible in the glow from the city, but he was looking up. That much of him she could feel and she wasn't going to look further. Robin was right, if anyone could reach Beast Boy it was her, but she wouldn't breach his mind. He would tell her anything that he wanted her to know.
She turned away from the window and levitated, crossing her legs and assuming the full lotus, beginning a meditation. Robin's words haunted her … Terra. Could she ever replace Terra in Beast Boy's heart? Raven did not want to be a consolation prize. She loved Beast Boy too much, she now knew, to be so poorly used.
It was more than a week later before either Raven or Beast Boy acted again, and Robin hadn't been best happy with her lack of progress. The two of them were alone in the common room, quite by accident, for the first time since the shower incident. Cyborg and Robin were sparring together and Starfire was walking Silkie. Beast Boy was watching the TV when Raven entered the common room, heading for the kitchen to make a cup of tea.
"Hey, Ray," he said, turning to her with a smile.
"Hello," she replied, looking at him and feeling herself flush underneath her cowl. Damn, this emotion business was not only hard but embarrassing as well. Still, Starfire had been right, positive was indeed a marvellous feeling.
"Come and join me? I think a comedy movie about zombies is about to start. We might both enjoy that."
Raven didn't reply, but gladly went and sat beside Beast Boy, pleased he no longer seemed to be avoiding her. She placed her cup of tea on the table beside the packet of crisps and his soft drink. They didn't sit too close, but closely still. Raven crossed her legs and drew her cloak about her, feeling slightly self-conscious as she remembered the day of the shower. Beast Boy just smiled at her and didn't seem to notice her discomfort. Raven was struck by how mature he had become over the last year or two.
The movie was indeed a good one, something they could both enjoy. Though she showed it seldom, Raven had a keen sense of humour, inclined to sarcasm, and the blatant parody of the zombie movie appealed to her.
It contained a romance, as so many movies do, but for Raven, sitting beside Beast Boy, she felt it sharply, the slight angst, the poor communication that led to so much trouble. And she looked at Beast Boy and understood, somehow, that a lack of communication could only lead them to trouble as well. The she had to tell him how she felt, before, as Cyborg had said, she missed her chance.
He felt her gaze and turned to look at her. "What?" he asked, frowning lightly.
Raven didn't speak, but reached out a hand and grabbed his jaw, then leant forward and kissed him before she could rethink and lose her courage. Her bent knee slid into his lap as she moved closer to Beast Boy, her free hand snaking behind his neck. She felt the press of his fangs, the softness of his mouth as he yielded to her kiss, his arms wrapping around her and drawing her close to him. His hair tickled her fingers. His hands slid under her cloak. Raven turned her head ever-so slightly and deepened the kiss. Beast Boy returned her fervour…
The alarm sounded and they sprang apart as if they had just been electrocuted. "Azar!" Raven exclaimed, her heart racing, her eyes still on Beast Boy, on the shine of his damp, parted lips, his hazy eyes.
"Azar indeed," he agreed, rumpling a shaky hand through his hair and resting it on his neck where she had held him.
The door to the common room swished open. Robin and Cyborg stood there. "Trouble!" Robin snapped, not noticing how close Raven and Beast Boy were, not seeing her leg across his lap, though Cyborg did and winked at them, and Raven and Beast Boy shared one last look and moved to join their companions.
Starfire met them in the middle of Hoop Street, where a jewellery store was being robbed. The villain was Cinderblock, again, though who had hired him to break into the store was anyone's guess.
"Cinderblock! You always try your mettle against ours," Robin announced haughtily, "and you always fail!"
Cinderblock ignored him, a rasp deep in his stone throat the only reply Robin got. His giant fist smashed through the last window in the store and Cinderblock proceeded to steal the valuable items, passing them into a sack with clumsy fingers.
It was a heated battle, the Titans doing what they did best. Raven and Starfire attacked from the air, Cinderblock swatting at them angrily. His booty lay abandoned on the ground as he tried to smash his stony fists against the five crime fighters. Cyborg was attacking from below, Beast Boy helping him. Raven kept an eye on all her teammates as she fought, throwing up shields whenever Cinderblock's hands got a little too close.
Starfire was holding Robin's fists in her own, hoisting him high into the sky. "Rragh!" she cried and with a heave, tossed Robin towards Cinderblock. Their leader landed on the stone man's shoulders, an electro disk between his fingers. He wedged it under a rocky clavicle and leapt out of the way, Beast Boy soaring past in eagle form and catching him by the cape, lowering him safely to the ground.
The electro disk blew. With an enormous sound, the disk erupted and Cinderblock's shoulder cracked open, rubble skittering down his massive form, and around Cyborg at his feet.
The manoeuvre made Cinderblock angry, and he bellowed in what could only have been pain. He swung an arm down and caught Cyborg hard, throwing him backwards and off his feet. "All you did was piss him off, Robin!" Cyborg yelled.
"Titans! Take him down!" Robin replied. Raven saw Cyborg's eye roll. Robin wasn't likely to admit any mistake, which his move at first appeared. However, it soon became clear that, angry or not, Cinderblock had been weakened, and he wouldn't be able to keep up a furious fight for long.
He kept it up long enough, however. Starfire rained starbolts at him, which cause a momentary blindness with each hit. Cinderblock kicked and flailed, and Raven continued to provide shields for the other Titans, blasting Cinderblock with her energy power in between. Cinderblock kicked out at Beast Boy who was using a stegosaurus form to bash the criminal's legs. One kick landed badly, connecting with Beast Boy's neck. The green teen was thrown across the street, and lay there, morphed back to human, winded. Raven heard him groan and wheeze and without thinking, started hovering towards him. "Beast Boy!" she cried, fear gripping her when he didn't get up.
Suddenly, Cinderblock threw one arm up high as Raven levitated past him. Starfire streamed another volley of starbolts and the stone man was dazzled. The hand that had been reaching for Raven missed and instead came down, agonizingly hard, on the top of her head.
Pain split down the centre of her skull. Sounds were coming from far away, muffled by the rushing of blood in her ears, and she couldn't tell if her eyes were opened or closed, she only knew that she couldn't see.
Through the cloud of silence she heard the shouts and sounds of battle. She must have been falling, because the next thing she felt was the force of the road as she hit it, hard. Something in her side cracked. Pain seared through every inch of her, coursing from the crown of her head, downwards. And then there was nothingness.
When Raven finally felt consciousness return, she was all discomfort. She was lying down, that much she knew, and she stretched and turned, feeling pain all through her body, a throbbing in her ribs and head.
Something was lying beside her. Raven's eyes snapped open.
It was Beast Boy. His eyes slowly opened as she stared at him. He must have been lying behind her while she rested, as if shielding her, though from what Raven didn't know. She didn't know how much time had passed, whether the battle was over, whether they were safe. When their eyes met, she felt safe anyway.
"You're awake," he said quietly. "How do you feel?" one of his arms went around her body, almost as if he was trying to reassure himself that she was there. His hand was soft against her back, but firm. Raven could tell he felt conflicted about holding her. Things between them were clearly still awkward.
"Confused. Sore." Raven said. She thought, safe. She thought, maybe even happy.
"You took a hell of a whack when you hit the street," he said, one hand gawkily, for he was lying partly on it, making its way to her hair and combing through it. Raven felt it snag. "Your head was bleeding so bad. You looked dented."
That explained the aches. She must have split her skull open when Cinderblock hit her, and her ribs must have broken when she fell. Everything felt bruised.
"You've been in a healing trance for over an hour," he continued, not looking at her face but at the place where his hand was in her blood-soaked hair.
"How did I get back here?" she asked, not certain where here exactly was. Not the Tower common room, and not her own room either, she was sure. Beast Boy's room, perhaps? The infirmary?
"Cinderblock gave me a pretty bad whack, but I forced myself up rushed over to you, saw how badly you were hurt, that you'd lost consciousness. I told Robin you needed to be moved and when he saw I was hurt too he told me just to bring you home. Said they could handle Cinderblock."
"You were hurt." Raven said remembering, her heart suddenly racing. "How badly? I can heal you…" and she made as though to sit up and inspect his injuries.
"Save it, I'm fine," he said firmly, pressing her back into the bed. "I will be, anyway. I hope. Raven, I know it's not the ideal time, but there's something I want to ask you."
"Yes?" she said, not fighting him. She did feel weak, and he seemed very serious again.
"Before the fight, in the common room … was that for real? I mean, I understand if you were just returning my kiss but…"
"I kissed you because I wanted to," Raven said quietly, meeting Beast Boy's eyes.
"Does … does that mean you know what you feel now? What … what you want?"
"Yes," Raven said quietly, and she felt the emotions overwhelm her, frightening her, and yet she embraced them and was able to experience and control them at once. "But there's one thing I have to know before I can tell you what I want."
"What is it?" Beast Boy seemed just as overwhelmed and edgy as she felt.
"I have to know … whether you're still in love with Terra." Because Terra was still alive, and if Raven was going to do this, she didn't want to lose him. Not to Terra. Not ever.
"No," Beast Boy said calmly, his fingers stroking her hair, "And not for a long time. I moved on because I had to, and now the feelings are gone. I was confused for a while, which is why I never spoke to you before, but I've had feelings for you since even before Terra. It wasn't love back then, but it was … a connection. And I'm glad of Terra, because I learned what love is, and what it can do, and how to move on, and it all means that I can give my heart completely to you now, if you'll have it."
Raven felt the truth of his words, and answered him with another kiss. He wrapped her safe in his arms, curled her body against his and kissed her back, not so gently as the times before, but more urgent, showing her just how long her had ached for her touch, just how much he truly wanted to be with her, just as he had said to her that first time. Raven pressed into the warmth of him, surrendered to the tight circle of his arms, and felt safe again, and felt, somehow, whole. This was definitely what she wanted. She wanted to be happy, and she wanted Beast Boy. She stretched out sore arms and clung to him, holding him close, so very close that every part of their bodies seemed to be touching.
"Raven," Beast Boy whispered, breaking the kiss. "I love you."
They had been friends for such a long time, there was no need to wait to say the words. There was no way either of them was scared by the feelings, not now, not together.
Raven pressed her face against Beast Boy's chest, feeling how well their bodies fit together as his chin tucked carefully against her crown. "I love you, Gar."
A/N: Dun dun! I hope you enjoyed it and if you did please review, it would make me so happy after so long not writing TT to know there are fellow fans still out there! I'll try not to be long with chapter two, thanks guys! :)