"C'mon, c'mon...just one inch. Heck, I'll even take a few centimeters. Pleeeease..."
Her amethyst eyes shifted from her latest novel of Earthly dead languages, having found many similarities between the lost languages of humans and dimensions in between, patterns of dialects and the like. She pinched her finger between the pages, clutching the old cover close to her chest as her curiosity got the best of her, arching a slim brow. It was hard to miss that voice.
And he had left the door open.
Drifting to the bathroom edge, she cautiously peered inside, quieter than silence could possibly allow.
He was standing as erect as possible, shoulders pressed against the corner of the wall to the shower door, pulling his neck as high as it could go without tilting up. His sneakers had been discarded to the side, shirt and gloves tossed onto the counter, but his pants (thankfully) had still been retained, slender and tight to his form. In his left hand, a dry erase marker, in his right, a roll of measuring tape. His ears tilted down as he willed his spine to make a difference in his natural stance, but to no avail. The mark had been made. It was still the same. Spinning on his heel, his sharp eyes studied the overlap, jaw protruding as his upturned nose scrunched in further, and for once, the joy that often filled his face was lost to his self disappointment. No progress. But how to control that? It wasn't like he could train himself to stretch. No amount of food was going to add to his skeleton, and shifting himself would only be cheating.
He was a youth, still on his way to manhood, but not quick enough. Everyone was still taller than him. Everyone.
"Shoot." he sighed, falling back into himself as his back relaxed. His ears slanted further as his forehead bumped the wall, taking in a small breath as he closed his eyes. Same as last week. And the week before. If only there was a way he could just...
Bringing a wide palm to his face, he rubbed off the condensation of the remaining shower steam and pushed himself off, using the palm of his other hand to wipe the marks off the glass. Maybe next week. Maybe. Drying his hand off on his towel, the changeling tossed the marker on the counter, taking a small step forward before his ears twitched, staring at his reflection along the sink's wall length mirror in sudden alert. Something wasn't right. His instincts were acting up. Head darting to his right, his brows knit, suddenly swiping to his left as his eyes locked onto the wide crack of the doorway...and finding a pair of eyes staring back.
Beast Boy was many things, but silent was not one of them, and finding the inability to call out his voice was a new and strange setback. His cheeks, however, communicated all that was required, delving into the darkest hues of the reddish kind. If ever there could be a better combination of holiday colors, he could have proudly challenged. Hand clunkily gripping his gut, the teen ducked his neck into his shoulders, arching a nervous brow, "H-How long have you been there? I could've sworn I closed that, 'cause I just showered –"
"Not that long." the empath huffed grittily, thankful her hood was covering the near shame her teammate had nearly suggested. She wasn't the type to spy on her friends, and much less for those kind of reasons. However, she had caught him during a private time. And though his actions were not questionable, they were intriguing to she who had witnessed them.
The air between them remained thick and awkward, and the black hole eating him alive only intensified with time. Her amethysts drilled him stoically, and for a split second, he could have sworn she was doing this on purpose, just to rip his esteem down to shreds. Raven had her own way of humoring herself, and if he couldn't trigger that smile he so desperately tried to earn, she would earn it herself, at his expense. But she only tucked the massive book she owned in the nook of her hip, leaning the same shoulder against the door frame. The tightness spread to his throat, jaw clenched to the point of ear twitches, and he would have allowed the earth to swallow him whole if she hadn't decided to finally break the silence, her voice as placid as it ever was,
His hand dropped to his side, leaning back into his spine as he winced, fully exposed. Hearing himself say it within the confines of his room was one thing. Witnessing his form in a mirror that could not lie, he could handle. Sizing himself up against his friends and foes on the spot, he had accepted. But hearing it out loud from a teammate...an ally...her...
His cheeks flushed even darker, jaw pouting a bit as his shoulders sagged, "You like to get right to the point, don't you?" he muttered, emeralds finding their way to the tiled floor.
"Beating around the bush doesn't do anything but waste time. Pointless."
The disappointment he felt, as well as the embarrassment, pulsed off him in uncontrollable measures. It seemed his inadequacy in stature resulted in a degradation of his esteem, and none was more familiar with the negative effects of self esteem than the half demon herself. Everyone had their own qualms, and it appeared she had just found his.
"It doesn't matter, you know."
His eyes shifted back to her, emotion, for once, void on his mailable face. He observed her for a brief moment, nose twitching before he gathered himself up, "I know." he answered quietly, tucking a thumb along the rim of his pants. Her brows knit ever so slightly, and though he couldn't see them through the thick shadow, the tone in her voice solidified any question of it,
"Then why does it?"
She watched as he closed his eyes with a small sigh, bringing his right hand over to his left shoulder and hooked it there, lips tightening in thought. So many emotions. So indecisive. And then finally, he looked up, but to his reflection in the wall, trying to search for that time and place among hundreds of memories. Thousands of words. And one feeling, above all others.
"Think bigger..." he uttered, eyes flicking toward the ground for a moment before dropping his arm. His chest held out, sizing himself once more, before his voice whispered.
"Mento used to tell me to think bigger. When I was a kid, I screwed up a lot...Missions were top priority, foul ups were unacceptable. Doom Patrol didn't have room for thinking inside the box. You had to think bigger, all times, all situations. I had to think bigger. If I couldn't reach something, Rita would tell me to think bigger. If I couldn't lift something, Cliff would say think bigger, squirt. And Larry would remind me that bigger thinking would make up for smaller me. And I figured...I'll think bigger for it all...go big or go home, you know?" His eyes winced as if he were replaying the mistakes...reliving the embarrassment...the fear.
"Think bigger. Everyone on this team pulls their own weight, Beast Boy...Why can't you?" he chanted hoarsely, voice capturing the same tone Mento had used on him all those years ago. So long between then and now, and still the shadow of his first leader...his trainer and provider...his father figure, was lashing out in disappointment, eternally reprimanding the teen of his useless placement within their honorable uniform. He had been a fluke, it seemed, a bit of luck on his side as he gazed into his own eyes, unable to find himself in the body he knew so well. "Still screwin' up, I guess." he chuckled emptily, glancing back at the glass door with the remnant smudges of his marker, "Still don't know how to follow that order."
A bit of silence passed between them as he sniffed, suddenly remembering where he was and who he had been talking to. A meek smile curled along the side of his face, though Raven only glanced from the shower door back to him, crossing her other arm into her leaned one.
"It's fairly difficult for someone to think bigger when there's nothing going on up there to begin with."
The smile immediately dropped into a huffed scowl, brows flattened to that of an aggravated gorilla, though he maintained his humanesque shape.
Her eyes blinked gently, "Your height isn't going to make a difference in what you do or who you are. You already have the pride of a peacock and the voice of howler monkey to let the world know. You already know how to "think bigger", but not in the literal sense." she added, rolling her eyes to the fact that he could be that simple minded. Pushing herself off the door frame, the empath lifted a lone cool finger and pressed it against his warm chest, triggering a fresh set of chills off the green skin. Eyes trailing down, he peered at her hand with the eyes of a child, pouting in interest.
"Your head may not always think bigger...but this does."
His emerald eyes gazed up slowly in wonder, locking with those that held such acceptance, it nearly wiped away a new slate for him to work with. Approval had been all he had ever desired. To be bigger, perhaps, was not to think bigger; and, maybe he didn't know who he was all the time, but she did. An earnest smile began to warmly curl his lips, but only made a briefer than brief appearance before she swiped her hand up and flicked his nose, earning an instant whine. She turned on her heel, book in clutch as her cloak flared behind her. "Robin will be needing this room soon. He finishes his spar in fifteen minutes." she noted nonchalantly as she continued her way down the hall, popping the book open as she resumed her studies.
Left hand capping his nose, the changeling's knit brows arched a half, huffing grumpily as he rubbed the offended area, "Sheesh, alright." His eyes made way to the mirror once more, finding his right hand clutched over his chest, as if protecting the aura she had left there. Pressing his palm flat, he rubbed it in firm with a shy smile, ignoring the light tingle that was more than likely mind trickery, and made his way to the sink, ruffling out his cowlicked hair. Glancing toward the door, he stood up straight and observed his reflection, athletic and lean, but just as tall as he was before. His fingers slid along the counter top, finding the marker in its lonely corner and held it up, taking a long hard look.
The clang of the trash bin's echo vibrated for a moment, but was just as soon forgotten. He didn't need it any more, he figured, as he gathered up his shirt and sneakers, shaking out his head one last time. After all, if the oddest of the titans accepted him for who he was, as he was, what did he have to worry about?
Author's Note: Wow, it's been ages since I've written for Teen Titans. Literal ages. The Titans were the whole reason I began writing fanfiction back in 2004, and here I am again. Been back on that Titan jive, watching the old episodes and the new Go! ones. I enjoy them both. It's possible to do. Digressing.
I'll probably start throwing up one shots in this category soon. I'm working on another at the moment, and I also want to write a bit of Beast Boy Doom Patrol moments that I'll just make into a one shot chapter story. I'll probably title that one Patrolling, if anyone's interested in that. Thanks for reading!