When Skies Are Gray
Disclaimer: I do not own any of those things, characters, situations, or ideas trademarked by other respective parties. This is fan fiction written by me using ideas from other media. Should you recognize a pop culture reference that is because it is a pop culture reference. No copyright infringement or plagiarism is intended. The song, You Are My Sunshine is also not owned by me, and I did not make the YouTube video whose link can be found below.
AN: As you know, one song can be sung so many different ways and thus the same lyrics can convey very different meanings. Therefore, I provide you with the version I listened to when writing this fic: at "youtube" "dot com" "/watch?v=zSbkDGayzhw" You'll need edit the YouTube address because this site won't let you link anything (and good lord was it friggin' annoying trying to get the stupid address to show up!). Also, reading Crazy for You is not necessary to understand this fic but it is referenced.
"Fine! You don't want to talk to me, don't! Excuse me for caring about you!" Garfield snarled, his hurt radiating from him in waves. He stomped his way to her door and slammed it behind him. Raven listened to his retreating steps, guilt welling within her. They were fighting, again. It was because of her, again. And he'd left because he'd found her unreasonable, again. Raven sunk down to sit on her bed, head hanging so she was staring at her blue elfin boots. Tears welled up in her eyes but she fought them down. Sobs built in her chest but she choked them back. Memories of past fights, angry words, flung accusations, and tearful apologies swam through her mind but she smothered them in the darkness of Nevermore.
Raven sat there on her bed and tried to clear her mind. She and Gar had been fighting more and more, to the point that they were apologizing more than they were enjoying themselves. She knew it was only a further sign that she ought to end it with him but she couldn't help but hate herself for the thought. She wasn't an optimist like Gar, she was a realist. He'd say she was a pessimist, but facts were facts, being with her was hurting him. Staying with her would destroy him. If she cared about him at all, if she truly loved him, she'd free him; she'd release him from her clawing grasp.
But she was so damn selfish. He was everything she wanted, everything she needed, everything she could never be even though she did love him. But she also knew that she wasn't everything he wanted, wasn't everything he needed, and wasn't anything he should ever be, and yet he loved her anyway. He loved her despite the fact that she was the worst person in the world for him to be with. He loved her despite how much and how often it—she—hurt him. He wasn't wrong after all, she was being unreasonable; just not for the reason he thought.
Raven's thoughts were interrupted by a soft knocking on her door. She ignored it, it wasn't Gar so she didn't care who it was. The knock came again, this time accompanied by a voice, "Raven, I wish to see if you are alright." Starfire's voice came through the door. Raven continued to ignore her, she didn't deserve Starfire's concern. She heard the alien sigh, "Raven, open the door." she commanded. Raven turned surprised eyes in Star's direction. It wasn't often that Star used a tone of authority, let alone giving orders. Raven raised her hand, encased in her obsidian colored magics, and moved the door open enough to signal her friend could enter.
Starfire opened the door, turning her concerned eyes to her empathic friend before closing the door behind her. Star walked up to Raven's bed and stood with her arms crossed. "I believe that you are being an idiot." Starfire told her calmly. Raven arched a brow in surprise. "Friend Beast Boy brings you joy, and you, in return, make him most happy. Why do you persist in fighting with him?" she demanded. Raven looked away but didn't answer. Starfire sighed, "I believe the time for the 'tough love' has come." Starfire's eyes darkened, her normally smiling lips pulled down in a frown, "I love you my friend, but you need to understand that what you are doing is not okay."
"And what am I doing Starfire?" Raven asked, her voice more gravely than usual.
Star's expression hardened even further, "Friend Beast Boy does not normally storm past the common room cursing on his way to the roof, not unless that is where he is going to do the cooling of his head after a fight with you. None of our friends, nor I, understand why, but you are deliberately pushing Beast Boy away. I can only assume your reasons are, in some way, meant to be in his best interests because I know how very much you love him. But you are hurting him far more than you are helping him."
Raven felt her nose tingling, threatening tears but held them at bay as she always did, "If I'm hurting him, I ought to take steps to prevent that from happening in the future."
Starfire actually glared at her, "No." she growled. Surprised, Raven looked up. "I may be relatively new to this planet and ignorant to Earth's ways, but I am not stupid. You are deliberately using words to placate my anger while meaning something completely different than what your words are meant to imply. You are thinking of doing the breaking up with Friend Beast Boy." she accused angrily.
"You said it yourself Starfire, I'm hurting him." she argued, though her voice was deadened of any emotion.
"And such an action would only hurt him more." Starfire argued, her voice was passionate with righteousness.
Raven growled, her vision blearing from the tears she refused to let fall, "What else am I supposed to do!?" she demanded, irritation spiking because it was a safe emotion.
Starfire's face softened, her compassion shimmering in her eyes, "That is very simple Raven. Tell him the truth." Raven turned away, glaring at the shadows in the corner, one of the few places in her room that still had shadows.
Her room wasn't really that dark anymore. After she and Garfield had started dating, he'd very subtly started making changes to her room. He'd started opening her curtains. He'd begun moving things around; nothing large like moving furniture, but he'd pull a statuette on her bookshelf a little further out of the cubby of books so that light actually landed on it, rather than merely lessening the shadows it was previously hidden in. Little items of color, a stuffed animal or a shiny shell from the bay, started appearing in random places. He'd learned how to fold paper cranes and had taken to using the most flamboyantly colorful paper he could get his hands on and he'd scatter them about her room. He'd even hung some from her ceiling using twine so that it would look like cranes were in flight in the moonlight that would flood her room at night. The sight of them now made her eyes burn.
"I don't know what you're talking about. I don't lie to Garfield." she argued mulishly.
Starfire saddened even further, "There are different ways to hide the truth Raven. You might not lie to him, but you most certainly do not tell him the truth." Starfire, rubbed her hands up and down her arms as if she were cold, as if the absence of her usual good temper robbed her of physical warmth. "Raven, does not Beast Boy deserve to know why you have been acting the way you have been acting? Does he not have that much of your love and respect?"
Raven turned her glare to her best friend, "Of course I love and respect him!"
"Then it is yourself you do not love nor respect," Starfire rebutted, "for if you did, you would not hurt yourself so by hurting him." Raven was taken aback, unsure how to retort to that. "Raven, be honest, not just with me, but with yourself. Why are you really pushing him away?" Raven remained silent. "You do not have to tell me, but you should tell him." Again, Raven said nothing.
Starfire sighed and sat down next to the hurting empath. She looked around Raven's room and a small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, "I like what you have done with your room." she confided.
"I didn't. Gar did." Raven answered, her voice a hoarse whisper.
"I see." Star looked around again, "Of all the things that Beast Boy has given you, his gifts have been the best for you."
Raven smiled slightly despite herself, "Yeah, he's always leaving some little thing in my room. I always have to be on the lookout for a new one so I can make sure I thank him, even if he's completely thrown off my noir theme."
"He leaves you items yes, but those were not the gifts I was referring to. There is more color, more light, more happiness in here. He has given you these things, but it is why he has given you these things. He gives you color so that you are surrounded by something other than shadows. He gives you light so that you may see that you are not alone. He gives you happiness because he loves you and you deserve it." Starfire paused as she heard Raven's breathing hitch slightly. "Do you really think Beast Boy would do this, would love you, if you did not deserve it Raven?"
Raven buried her face in her hands, unable to keep her tears at bay and still futilely trying to hide them from Star. She felt Starfire wrap her arms around her and hold her close, Raven tensed but didn't push her away. "I do not know why you think it is so terrible that Friend Beast Boy loves you and wants to be with you, but you should trust him. Trust him to know what he is doing. Trust him that he is smart enough to know his own mind and make his own choices. Trust him not to hurt you."
"N-not me." Raven stuttered, quickly dashing away her tears as she pulled away from Starfire.
"Not you?" Starfire asked, puzzled.
Raven fought for breath as she fiercely as she fought down the urge to sob, such emotion was undignified, "It's not me that I'm worried about getting hurt."
"Then tell him that."
Raven shook her head, "He won't listen."
"Yes, my friend; if you tell him why you are pushing him away, he will listen for it is something he yearns to understand very much."
"I don't think I can." Raven argued.
"And he did not think he could ever tell you his feelings for you, yet he did anyway." Raven froze, remembering that fateful day when Garfield had shocked her beyond comprehension. It had been just any other day in the Tower until he'd entered the common room with Starfire and a guitar, and everything had changed. He'd been doing it for Starfire, but he'd been doing it for himself as well. She'd balked at first, but when Cyborg had shown her how thoroughly she'd crushed him by her callous reaction, she couldn't let it go. She couldn't leave him hurting like that. She couldn't let such an injustice stand. There were very few people with such sunny dispositions as Starfire and Garfield and it wasn't…it wasn't fair when they were hurting. It wasn't right, it wasn't what they deserved. Garfield did bring her color, and light, and warmth, and love, and happiness. He didn't even need to do or say anything, just being there was enough to chase away the shadows, and yet he did even more just because he could. She didn't deserve him.
But, if she was who he wanted, shouldn't she do everything she could to try to be who he deserved? Even if she couldn't believe she'd ever be good enough for him, as long as she never stopped trying, couldn't that be enough? Enough to stop feeling so damn guilty all the time? She loved him so much, wasn't there some way that that could be enough?
Starfire stood, as if she could sense Raven coming to her decision. "Tell him how you feel. Tell him what he means to you. But most importantly, tell him the truth Raven." Raven nodded, wiping her cheeks with the corner of her cloak for good measure, though she knew the tears were gone having been only a temporary irritation. "Then I shall leave you to prepare yourself." Starfire gave her one last hug, "Good luck my friend. I have every confidence that you and Beast Boy will regain your joy with one another."
Raven prayed that would prove true.
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Garfield always started on the roof after they fought, but he never stayed there. He'd pace in frustration, he'd sit on the ledge with his feet dangling, and he'd pace some more before he'd start to feel trapped. The fresh air would help but it was like the sky alone was still too confining. He'd leap off the roof in frustration, morphing halfway down into something that could glide him to one of the large boulders that littered the beach along the bay. He'd settle there, something about the combination of the salty scent and crashing waves of the endless ocean and the caressing wind of the limitless sky stretching on toward the horizon finally helping to calm him. Sometimes he'd skip rocks, sometimes he'd merely stare at his reflection, and sometimes he'd trail his fingers through the water. But he'd be there. That's where he always was until she came looking for him. He'd never not been there waiting for her.
He hadn't noticed her yet and that meant that he was still angry, still hurting; too distracted to hear her steps or heartbeat, too angry to smell her scent, too hurt to sense her presence. His distraction didn't do anything to make her braver, but she took a deep breath anyway. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine." She wanted to wince at her voice, so gravelly and hoarse but there wasn't much she could do about it. It wasn't like she'd practiced for a month to confront him about her stubbornness. She felt embarrassment for what she was bringing herself to do, but desperate times call for equal measure, she needed Gar to realize just how serious she was and such an uncharacteristic response was sure to make her come through loud and clear. That being said, Garfield wasn't unaware of her presence anymore. He'd frozen, ears perked back, other than that he remained motionless, tense but motionless.
"You make me happy, when skies are gray." It hadn't been hard for her to pick something that would tell Gar both how she felt about him and what he meant to her. In fact, she'd already had the song figured out as soon as Starfire had reminded her of how Garfield had confessed his feelings for her. Granted Raven wasn't exactly into pop culture like Garfield was, but she did occasionally listen to music. The first time she heard this song was shortly after arriving on Earth, before she'd even met Garfield, but there was no other way to describe him once she'd met him. He was exactly like the sun, his warmth, his caring, his never ending attempts to make her smile, to make her laugh. He brought so many things to her life and she had no words to tell him how much that meant to her. "You'll never know dear, how much I love you."
It hurt. Azar it hurt so much to love someone. Why would anyone choose to fall in love? Why would anyone willingly give that much power over themselves to someone else? Why did she? How could she? Why hadn't she kept him out, barred him from her heart? Why hadn't she fought it, tooth and nail? But she hadn't, she'd fallen for him…hard. But he'd caught her. He'd caught her and held her so tight. He kept everything warm, and bright, and wonderful, and she couldn't do that on her own. She couldn't have that without him. She wouldn't want it without him. "Please don't take my sunshine away."
By this time Garfield had turned around to look at her. Granted the look of complete shock and disbelief hadn't been what she'd been after, but it wasn't hurt, anger, or hatred so she really couldn't complain. His brows were in danger of disappearing under his unruly bangs; his mouth was gaping open, the one fang sticking out just slightly farther than the others. Had she been told at the very get go of the formation of the team that she'd fall in love with the green changeling, she'd have insisted Cyborg run a full diagnostic on the very delusional individual. But her feelings for him had grown with his level of maturity until she realized that he was more than what he made others believe him to be. Her feelings for him had grown until they became painful to bear. It hurt, even if it hurt so sweet. Raven fought to keep her voice from cracking, and only sort of failed, "The other night dear, when I lay sleeping, I dreamt I held you in my arms."
The idea of something happening to Garfield filled her with dread; panic, fear, anger, sorrow…nothing came close to describing how she felt when she contemplated something happening to him. But it wasn't just their jobs as superheroes. It wasn't just that they risked their lives every day to protect the public. It wasn't just their responsibilities that posed a threat to his well being. It was also her. Just being near her was dangerous for him. Her powers, her heritage, hell, even her temper. Her very existence was only possible because she was meant to be an evil tool of destruction. How could anyone love something that's sole existence was so that the world could end? How could he bare for her to be near him, touch him, love him? How did he manage to not run away screaming? She hoped Gar couldn't hear the tears in her voice, even if he could see them on her face, "When I awoke dear, I was mistaken."
How many times had she woken from such a dream? That he'd come to his senses and realize she was nothing like he thought? That she wasn't deserving of his feelings? That he could do so much better? And how many times had she woken wishing that was the nightmare she'd just had? How many nightmares had been of him hurt? Of him…being worse than hurt? How many nightmares like this were due to their job and how many were because of her? How many times did she wake screaming and trying to scrub his blood off her hands? How many times did she wake with bile in her throat? How many times did she wish…she took a hitching breath, "So I hung my head and…cried."
But none of that was his fault. None of it, and yet she was punishing him for it anyway. She picked the fights, she refused to talk it out, she refused to tell him why she woke crying…she pushed him away. All he ever tried to do was help, to understand, to make her feel better but she wouldn't let him. It wasn't his fault and he deserved to know why she was always hurting him. "You are my sunshine, my…only sunshine."
And who knew, maybe Gar could do something about it. Maybe he couldn't change her heritage, and maybe he couldn't do anything to make their jobs less dangerous, but surely she wasn't giving him enough credit? Gar was smart, maybe he hadn't read the equivalent of a library, but he was smart. Gar was persistent, to a fault she happened to know. Gar was loyal, when he cared for someone or something there was never doubt about it. And Gar was loving, when he gave, he gave his all. If she could just tell him what was wrong, there was no doubt in her mind that he would do anything and everything he could to make it better. Even if all he could do was hold her hand and smile, he'd do it, and he'd do it so that she could be convinced that that was all she needed. "You make me happy, when skies are gray."
And really, maybe that was all she needed. It wasn't like she was exactly helpless. She overcame her heritage and became a hero, someone who fought to do good. She'd overcome her destiny and stopped her father and his ascension, including the destruction of the entire world. She managed her emotions and powers so that she controlled them and not the other way around so that she could keep the city, and her friends, safe. And she did all that with her friends at her side. More recently, she'd done all that with Gar at her side. Surely if they had survived all that, they could survive anything? Raven was having trouble getting the volume of her voice high enough to carry the handful of steps between them, "You'll never know dear, how much…I love you."
By this time Raven wasn't even trying to hold back her tears. Her voice was a hoarse whisper, more gravel than words, and it was starting to break halfway through words. Her breathing was half gasping sobs, half catching hitches. She could barely see Garfield through her tears, but what she couldn't see she could sense. All she could feel from him was his overwhelming compassion and love. Such a thing shouldn't have the power to break her, but it did. She buried her face in her hands and choked out the last line. "P-p-please don't take…my sunshine…away."
And then his arms were around her. Her head was tucked under his chin, his hands clasped her tightly to him, and he rocked her back and forth, a growling purr rumbling in his chest as he instinctively tried to soothe her. Raven took in a couple of heaving breaths, fighting to control her unruly emotions enough to gasp out her apology. He deserved to hear how sorry she was. Well, he deserved to have not been hurt in the first place, but that just meant that he doubly deserved to hear her apologize and beg, yes beg, forgiveness. It was her turn, and long overdue anyway.
"Don't cry, Rae. Please don't cry." he murmured into her hair, his voice sending small vibrations through her skin.
"I'm sorry." Even though she said it, she didn't think he could hear her. Her voice didn't seem to be working and even if it was, he couldn't have heard it over the soothing sounds he was producing. "Gar," she tried again, a little louder, "I'm s-sorry, I'm so sorry." Gar growled louder and she wasn't sure he heard. Not that it mattered, she could say she was sorry until she turned blue and she still didn't think it could make up for how she'd repeatedly hurt him. She took a couple of breaths and tried again, "I'm—"
"I know." Gar cut her off. "I know that while you haven't been trying to hurt me, you have been pushing me away. I know that some of it has been because of the nightmares you refuse to share, and I know that some of it has been because of all the craziness of self-doubt and loathing going on in your head. I know why Raven! I know why you've been acting the way you have so I try not to get so angry, I try so hard not to get angry because hell, I knew this was all going to happen eventually, but I can't help but feel frustrated with you!" he growled, this one not the soothing purr-growl but an angry growl.
"I knew from the moment you showed me your room and told me that you left me to protect me that this would happen; that you'd push me away again in an attempt to protect me from yourself. But you need to listen to me." Gar pulled back so he could look in her face, "You need to actually listen to the words that are coming out of my mouth Rae." he told her fiercely.
"You aren't going to hurt me." he said, giving her a little shake. "You and me being together is a good thing." his grip around her upper arms tightened slightly. "I get that you're independent, and you're strong, you're so strong," his own voice cracked a little as he started into her eyes, "too strong for your own good." He swallowed hard and moved his hands from her arms to her face, "God Rae, I wish I had your gift with words. I wish I could just—I wish I knew the words I needed to make you understand!" Garfield stroked his thumbs across her cheeks, looking almost desperately into her eyes as if he could magically find the right words to make her understand him.
"Let me help you Rae. Let me in." he pleaded with her. "Don't push me out. Don't insist on handling everything on your own. Don't go all stoic and self-sacrificing on me!" he pleaded. "We're a team! Not, you know, like as the Teen Titans, because, yeah, we are, but I mean you and me, we're a team. You're strong, but so am I. Let me help you. I can handle it. I swear to you, I can handle it." Garfield heaved a sigh, his hands dropped from her face, his ears drooped and his eyes fell to his feet, "What I can't handle is you pushing me away Rae. Not now, not anymore."
"What else am I supposed to do Gar? I'm dangerous." she murmured, heart breaking at his sorrow.
"So am I." he said fiercely.
"But you'd never hurt me."
"And neither would you."
"You don't know that!"
Garfield wrapped his arms around her again, "The only thing I'm more sure of than you never hurting me, is that I love you Rae, with everything that I am."
"I love you too." she choked out.
"Rae, I know it's hard for you, but I need you to put a little faith in me. I get that you don't want to hurt me, and I get that you only push me away because you love me, but you need to trust me on this. I can handle myself. I can handle the risks." Garfield fell silent, mulling over an idea. "If we broke up, would you still love me?" he questioned her, tone completely different from the moment before.
"Of course I would!" she growled fiercely, her own arms tightening her hold on him.
"Then what's the point of breaking up?" he asked, fighting a grin.
She scowled, "To keep you safe."
"Okay," he smiled, cocking one brow, "but if your feelings for me are the same whether we're together or not, how would not being together make any bit of difference? I mean, if you're afraid your feelings for me are going to hurt me, how would our breaking up protect me from them? Because, my room is like, a hundred yards from yours. If your emotions are out to get me, is that hundred yards really going to make much of a difference?" he grinned down at her.
Raven opened her mouth to give him her rebuttal but for some reason there wasn't one. Confused, she scowled and turned her attention inward, searching for her well reasoned, thoroughly thought out logical explanations as to why he was better off not being with her. Unfortunately, her mind was only drawing a blank. All her reasoning seemed to have fled from his logic. She knew it was flawed, but her own gift with words seemed to have deserted her. As she struggled to think of something, anything, to refute what he said, he grinned down at her, reveling in his victory.
"You overthrew your father, you stopped the end of the world, you kick super bad guy butt on a daily basis, and we've been dating for months with nothing going wrong except your own fears of all the 'what ifs'. Have a little faith in us Raven. Not just in me, but in yourself. You're happy with me, aren't you?"
"More than I've ever been." she admitted quietly.
"And have any of your emotions pitched a fit over that? Even rage?"
"Well, no but—"
"But nothing! If they haven't freaked out about us yet, why would they?"
"They still could." she argued.
Gar rolled his eyes, "Yeah, and we could get hit by a bus tomorrow."
"That's an illogical comparison. You can fly and my powers would stop it."
Garfield growled, "Okay, now you're just being difficult for the sake of arguing."
"What's your point?" she asked, her smile was almost nonexistent, but it was still there.
"The point is, I love you and I'm willing to fight for you," he smiled down at her, "even if that means fighting with you." Raven leaned forward, resting her head against his heart. "So," he began, rubbing his hands up and down her back, "Miss Doom and Gloom actually admits that she likes the sun?" he asked, smile obvious in his voice.
Raven tightened her hold on him, "I suppose I've become so used to it that its absence leaves me…cold."
"Still cold?" he asked, amusement clear.
Raven closed her eyes and reveled at being in his arms. "Not so much now."
"Is it still gray out?" he queried.
She was silent for a moment, contemplating what he was really asking her. "No, it's actually turning out to be a pretty bright day." she told him as she watched as the sun finished setting over the horizon behind him, the twilight sky chasing after it.
"Looks like the night will be pretty clear too." he mused.
"Want to watch some crane migrations by starlight?" she asked him feeling her cheeks flush at her invitation. He looked down at her confused. She rolled her eyes, "Paper cranes." she clarified.
His confusion cleared and he threw his head back and laughed. "I wouldn't miss it Rae." he chuckled, grin huge. "I like dreaming about you in my arms too, but I have to say, the reality is a heck of a lot more enjoyable." he smiled, his whole aura dancing with his good humor.
"Likewise." she deadpanned, though her eyes smiled back up at him.