It was worse having her pastimes, that she certainly wasn't ecstatic about, exposed. It was worse enough having those same pastimes exposed by Beast Boy. Thankfully enough, he had never brought it up the following weeks. She wasn't certain if it had to do with his short attention span or if he was simply being modest. It was an event she wanted completely erased from memory and never to be arisen again.
Pulling the kettle away from the stovetop, Raven used her free hand to encase a mug in black energy. It levitated toward her, and she gently tilted the spout of her kettle to pour water into it. She watched as the water turned from clear to a honey-colored amber. Gently cupping the mug into the palm of her hands, she felt a small smile tug at the corner of her lips as billowing steam spread a warm heat across her face. Raven inhaled, taking in its scent and pressed her lips against the brim of her mug. Before she even had a chance to take a sip, the loud hollers and screams from her teammates caused her eyes to squeeze shut.
"Aww, yeah! High score, Cy," Beast Boy cheered, pumping his fist in the air.
"Gimme some, B!"
Beast Boy and Cyborg rose from their seats, giving each other a chest bump. Cyborg chuckled loudly, ruffling the changeling's hair, and found his way back to his seat. Beast Boy feigned a large grin, rubbing the sore spot on his chest, from which he collided with Cyborg.
"Heh, ouch. Watch the pecs," Beast Boy mumbled under his breath.
"Man, what pecs?! That's all bone!"
He weakly sunk back into his seat. The two were quickly engaged in the game, which consisted of loud jeers and jumping. Raven sighed, walking toward the window. She took a sip of her tea, gazing out at the bay.
"So.. Still goin' out tonight?" She looked over her shoulder, toward her teammates smashing buttons on their controllers. Raven rolled her eyes, turning her attention back to the window. Beast Boy gave Cyborg a quick glance before focusing on the television screen. "Dude, come on.."
"Nuh uh, man," Cyborg mumbled. "I'm not spillin' anymore beans this time."
"I swear it was an accident!"
"So, let me get this straight," Cyborg paused the game, and faced Beast Boy. "You just happened to be in the bushes right across the street while I was out on a date?"
Cyborg glowered at the green shapeshifter. "With binoculars? Come on, B."
"Duh." Beast Boy tapped his chin. "I'm always bird watching..at night."
"Bird watching at night, huh? That's a good one, gotta use that sometime," Cyborg laughed, restarting the game. He moved his character's cursor and selected a racetrack. "And if you really wanna know? Nah, I'm staying in tonight."
"Yeah?" Beast Boy quirked an eyebrow. "Too crazy or totally boring?"
"Neither. Just—" Cyborg rubbed the back of his neck. "I don't know. No spark, man."
"Spark?" Beast Boy snorted. "Dude, that myth's so old-school." The cybernetic Titan shrugged.
She had heard of it before: the infamous spark. In Starfire's romantic-comedy movies, it was portrayed as this shift in scene where time seemed to freeze over. As two infatuated individuals had performed the action out of spontaneity, uniting their lips together as one, they would stare lovingly into another's eyes as the background behind them exploded into an array of colorful patterns. Its vibrant showcase mimicked somewhat of a fireworks display. She had read it before in a majority of her spellbooks, true love's first kiss, and even in some of her darker novels with minor romantic subplots. It all led to one result: a spark.
Azarath's customs differed greatly when compared to earthly concepts of physical affection. Affection was considered a sacred and rare form of emotion that led to physical contact. A mental connection, a thought up idea of what affection consisted of, but never truly performed. Earth was odd. She knew of hugs and the warmth of sincerity with arms tightly wrapped around her. She knew of a kiss, but had never truly seen one outside of the imaginary realm that took place in her novels. To see one in flesh her first time, was intriguing and confusing. The emanation of pleasure and pure happiness that radiated from people began to magnify the girl's curiosity. People were pleased with this action, it must have been well received. More well received on Earth than Azarath. She enjoyed learning eccentric traditions and ideology of different cultures. But one had confused her: this spark.
Granted, her high intellectual level, she was aware that it was a metaphorical term that a selected few had referred to. Not literal. After being dragged against her will to Starfire's quarters for a mandatory "talk of girls", she wasn't sure the coined term was very metaphorical at all. Raven sat cross-legged on the Tamaranean's ruffled, pink bed as her friend dug through a large mound of clothes for the evening. She normally tuned her talking out, concentrating on a small meditation session while Starfire confided in her. But for once, a smidgen of curiosity tugged at her upon hearing Starfire's overly smitten remarks about a spark. From what Raven could recall, she described it as a surge of electricity tingling through her veins. The alien girl performed a variety of air pirouettes as Raven let her words sink in, engraving them in her mind. If Starfire, who hadn't enough reason to fib, could confirm the theory of a spark from a kiss; then perhaps it was true.
She removed her left hand from around her mug and gently outlined her lips with her fingertips. Raven's nose wrinkled. Could it possible for an invisible force of electrical discharge, serving to produce ignition, exist when in contact with pressed mouths? She certainly wasn't an expert. The countless stories and makeshift scenarios in movies didn't seem to dismiss this notion either. Her thoughts were clawed away when Cyborg let out a booming laugh. "Yeah right. Says the green bean who hasn't even kissed a girl yet! Let alone, a living object!"
Beast Boy pursed his lips, gripping the controller in his hand tighter. "Ha, ha. Very funny. Yeah I have!" Raven too, alongside Cyborg, lifted an eyebrow. Odd. Considering his heart rate had rapidly increased, his mood fluctuating from calm to panicked. Cyborg smirked, causing Beast Boy to break out into a full blown scowl. "Dude, whatever! I'm just saving it, you know? For the right time, s'all!"
"Uh, huh. Sure," Cyborg teased, jabbing Beast Boy's side with an elbow. "Betcha you're the only one too."
The changeling's eyebrows furrowed. "Hey! Who says I'm the only one on the team never been kiss—"
A black zigzag line formed on the television screen. With a loud crack, the game's picture fizzled out causing circuitry inside to pop and spark. Exchanging slack-jawed and bewildered expressions, the two males slowly set their controllers down and glanced over their shoulders at the empath posted by the window. Her face remained unmoved and she took a sip of her tea, staring back at them. "What?"
"Did you..did you..did you," Cyborg babbled, his human eye beginning to twitch. "Did you just—"
He wasn't given another second to finish his statement as a streak of red flashed across the room. All eyes immediately settled on the alarm on the ceiling as it blared.
"Titans!" Robin shouted, panting heavily once the common room doors swished open. Starfire floated behind him, Silkie in tow. He pulled out his communicator, quickly glancing at the screen then back at his teammates. "Plasmus is on the loose. He's targeting Main Street this time."
"Again?" Starfire asked.
"Ew, Rob, he's so sticky though!" Beast Boy whined, flopping his body over the couch.
Robin shrugged his shoulders. "We've gotta handle business. You all know the drill, let's move out."
The Titans stuck together in a group, tracking a trail of mud-colored sludge until they found their target guzzling a large tank of neon green waste. The unsuspecting monster swallowed the few drops left before the tank was deemed empty. It let out a deafening shrill and tossed the tank to the side of the street. Each Titan quickly moved out of the way as a metal tank collided with the ground, its hard impact causing concrete to form a crater.
The monster grumbled, creating a sloshing sound as it moved to the next tank. Before it had the chance to wrap its hand around the object, a yellow boomerang sliced it in half. The slop-like hand fell to the ground with a thud, oozing green liquid from its detached heap. It shrieked, swiftly turning around to face the male, whose hand was lifted in the air. In an instant, he wrapped his fingers around the boomerang as it rotated back. Stabbing a finger toward him, Robin shouted, "Fun's over, Plasmus. Drop the waste now!" Opening it's mouth wider to produce a growl, buildings began to rattle due to it's intensified sound wave. A smirk crept along Robin's lips as his eyebrows pulled together. "Thought so. Titans, GO!"
Starfire shot through the sky at record speed and was the first to circle around Plasmus; looking his body up and down. She pulled her fist back, conjuring a ball of green light. Her face was scrunched up in an angered expression as the bolt grew bigger. She slowly withdrew a raspy battle cry, flinging the bolt at the monster with all her might. It made a sizzling noise as it sunk into his gooey skin. Starfire tossed starbolt after another, refusing to cease fire. She was beginning to tire, finding all her attacks useless against his withstanding flesh. All the while, Plasmus was firmly standing tall, holding her gaze.
"He is very tolerant! I am unsure if the damage is done," she panted to her teammates from above. Starfire finally halted, clutching her chest to catch a quick breath. Plasmus took the paused moment to bend down and stretch his back. He turned his head from left to right and popped it with a series of clicks in rapid succession. She tilted her head, slightly confused, as he proceeded to do the same with the rest of his body. A large ball of skin pulled itself away, forming a miniature clone of himself. It growled at the alien princess, and before she could react, latched onto her. Starfire screamed as her body flung across the sky and descended toward the ground. She stared intently at the monster, eyes glowing brighter. A streak of fluorescent green light beamed at the clone, causing it to explode and splatter across the ground. Her eyes widened, as she realized how close she was reaching the concrete. Starfire broke her fall against the back of a green stallion. She smiled, wrapping her arms around the horse's neck in a tight hold before placing her feet on the ground. "Thank you, friend!"
Beast Boy neighed and trotted away. His hooves made clanking sounds as he ran in a circle. The green horse's form instantly shifted into a tiger. The feline roared at Plasmus, crouched on its front paws, ready to pounce. Plasmus smiled, green goo dripping from his mouth. Beast Boy snarled as Plasmus slowly protruded a leg from his body brought one foot behind his back. He put his weight on his leg and brought an open palm up, motioning for Beast Boy to come forward. Not one to wait, the green tiger sprinted, baring its fangs.
He dipped and weaved right to left as the sludge monster reached downwards to swat at him. Beast Boy countered each attack by pouncing near Plasmus's blind spots and slashing his claws across the goo-like flesh. Plasmus let out an agonized shriek, repairing his wounds by allowing sludge to regenerate.
Plasmus sidestepped to the right, just enough to get the changeling out in the open. Before Beast Boy could respond, Plasmus swiftly punched the tiger in its side, knocking the wind out of him. The feline flew backwards, slamming against the wall. With a grunt, Beast Boy morphed back and clutched his head. He was stunned for a brief moment as everything around him became blurry. If, even for a second, Beast Boy began to see stars above his head.
"You good, B?" Cyborg called.
"Yeah—no. Just," He patted the ground, wiping away debris. Beast Boy laid on his side. "Just give me a moment."
Cyborg shook his head. "Uh, no can do, grass stain. Duck!"
Beast Boy's eyes widened as a neon green creature charged toward him. "Oh, come on!"
Before he could move, the excess waste from Plasmus's insides consumed Beast Boy's entire body. The changeling remained stuck in the gelatin-like soluble. He frowned. "Did I mention how much I hate this dude?"
Raven had her back against the wall as her slimy foe approached her. He grumbled lowly, spitting out multiple acid like blobs. Raven dodged each attack, eyes widening as the one blob missile that came close to her head melted into the wall behind her. Plasmus was still open for more attacks, and he'd waste no time taking them down.
"My turn," she hissed. A flick of her hand, and a black swordlike object slashed at the monster. Pieces of his body sliced in half, and she used a second wave of dark energy to disperse each chunk of waste. A simple shield slammed into his stomach, causing Plasmus to tumble over. Raven followed up her defense by conjuring small, black discs. They pounded into his body, as Plasmus's form grew smaller. The monster took her slow rush of attacks as an opening to his advantage. She lifted her hands in the air, eyes glowing white. "Azarath Metrion Zin—"
A slab of muddy goo covered her mouth and Raven stumbled backwards. Plasmus let out an amused, squeaky chuckle as she attempted to rip the object from her mouth.
"He isn't showing any signs of slowing down," Robin groaned, pulling out his bo-staff from behind his back pocket. "I don't know how much longer we can hold him down."
"Well, you know what I always say," Cyborg suggested, teasingly nudging his leader's arms. Robin looked over at his friend, giving him a bewildered expression. "I've still got the Sonic, if you've still got the Boom."
A small grin spread across the Boy Wonder's face. "Let's do it."
The maneuver caught Plasmus off guard, as he was still recovering from injuries courtesy of Raven. Robin shot his grappling hook, attaching it Plasmus's side, and used his momentum to sprint in a circle as his rope secured around the monster. Instead of stopping, he jerked to the right and swung around to knock Plasmus over with his feet. The monster smirked as Robin's boot sunk into his stomach. The Titans' leader retrieved a yellow disc from his utility belt, allowing it to fizzle and eventually explode. Chunks of goo splattered as Robin freed his leg and motioned for Cyborg to attack.
Cyborg powered up his canon, watching his foe grow wide eyed as he lay in front of the vibrant blue light. "Say goodnight, Plasmus."
"You sure you've got him, Star?" The two looked down at the sleeping man, comfortably shifting in her arms. Starfire nodded.
"He shall be returned to his tubular environment where he is to not be awakened again," she replied, flinging his body over her shoulder. "I will return in approximately ten of the minutes."
"Alright." Robin returned a affirmative nod and took a step to walk away. He stopped, calling over his shoulder, "Be careful, alright? Ten minutes, I'm counting."
A warm smile tugged at the corner of her lips. "Ten of the minutes." She waved him off with her free hand, and turned her head upwards toward the sky before taking flight. He watched her move across the horizon until her frame became distant.
"Aw, you big softie," Cyborg teased, shoving into his lanky leader.
Robin chuckled, pushing past him. "Yeah, yeah. Wait your turn."
"Oh, I know for a fact I won't be a lovesick puppy." Cyborg smirked, making fake smooching noises.
"Shut up, Cyborg," Robin grumbled. Cyborg's cackles grew louder as Robin's face turned a bright shade of red. He followed behind him, shouting loud teases.
"Hey!" Cyborg shouted. "Come on, Rob, we're still on for pizza right? Right?!"
Against the wall, Beast Boy struggled to free his body from the green, translucent hold. Due to the airtight space, it was difficult for him to shift through the gelatin-like substance. "Come on, come on!" he screamed, wiggling his body but no avail. "Guys! Wait, don't leave me here!"
From the corner of his eye, a dark figure moved past him. Beast Boy blew a sigh of relief. "Oh, it's you, Rae! Thank God! A little help? I'm stuck!"
Raven stopped and turned on the ball of her heel to face him. She folded her arms across her chest, looking him up and down. "I can see that. Goodnight, Beast Boy."
His smile faltered as she walked away. "Wait, no! Dude! That's so harsh!" he whined. "You're really gonna leave me here?!"
She shrugged her shoulders. "That's the point."
Beast Boy's eyes began to bulge and panic flooded his face. He attempted to move his hands and burst his way free. The wiggling movement did not help as the changeling remained frozen in place. "Come on, Raven. Please! I'll be quiet for the rest of the night! No, the rest of the week! Hey, I'll even throw in dish duty for a week!"
"Month?" she called, glancing over her shoulder. A small glint of mischief in her eyes. Beast Boy sighed.
"Fine. Month?" he asked. She stood in place, giving a small shrug. "A month, deal! Now please, get me outta here!"
A gentle flick of her wrist and a stream of black color washed over Beast Boy's body. He shuddered, slightly amazed, as the feel of dark energy wrapped around him. With a loud squishy pop, Beast Boy fell forward as he was freed from his spongy prison. "I've never been so glad to see land!" he joked, getting up on his feet. He smiled and walked past her. "Thanks again, Rae."
He was gently tugged backwards by a black claw. It slithered away from him and back into its abyss in Raven's cloak. She glared at him. "Don't thank me yet. It wasn't a favor, it was a deal."
"Right. Gotcha! Deal." He snapped his fingers. "Alright. Deal's a deal."
Raven narrowed her eyes and nodded. "Exactly."
"Not official until you shake on it!" He extended his hand and winced when he seen the grimace on her face. Looking down, Beast Boy gasped. His hand had been covered in a green, slimy filth. Raven looked at his hand then back at him, a firm expression on her face. He balled his fist and put his hand at his side. "Uh, on second thought, forget the handshake. Whatever. It's gotta be official! So.."
He leant down to her eye level, giving her a long stare before cupping her chin and pressing his lips against her cheek.
"There. Official sealed deal!" He released her, an elongated grin present on his face. "See ya later!" Beast Boy called as he sprinted down the alleyway. His body had shrunk as he morphed into a parrot, squawking at her while he took flight.
Raven stared, dumbfounded, at the ground. She pushed her hair away from her face, releasing the deep breath that she didn't realize was being held. Her fingers gently traced the lingering warmth that left an imprint on her cheek. Where his own lips had been. It was soft and chaste, yet the embrace left a sensation of dizzying unsteadiness. Time hadn't stopped, an explosion of fireworks didn't appear behind her. She frowned. Well, that wasn't supposed to happen.
"Comin' Rae? We're heading out for pizza," Cyborg shouted as he approached her. He leant against the wall. "So, everyone's gonna meet us there. Guess it's me and you for a bit. You can even ride shotgun."
She thought for a moment, before shrugging indifferently. "Whatever." Cyborg grinned, backing away from the wall and towards the T-Car.
As Raven took a step forward, she felt herself jerk back at the soft tingling prickle on her cheek and rush of adrenaline surging through her body. A tinge of red flooded her cheeks before she lifted her hood over her head. She felt it.
Perhaps it wasn't so nonexistent after all.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it! Feel free to leave a review!