Ball Games 1: Not So Bad

I don't own the Teen Titans or profit from this story or whatevs.

A little start to a little story that I had a little idea about. I have the broad strokes in my head but am fleshing it out as I go. This is likely to be more light-hearted than my usual fare so let's see how I do. Enjoy!

Raven was not in a good mood. Her day had started much as any other: tea, meditation and reading - her preferred ways of spending her time. Then Robin had made an announcement. Apparently, in gratitude for their selfless acts as heroes in Jump City and indomitable courage blah blah yak yak - long story short, the City was throwing a lavish party for the Titans or at least in their name. As Robin explained more about the upcoming event, it was sounding more and more like a society shindig. The reason for that soon became clear: the party was also a fundraiser, to be attended by Jump City's rich and fabulous residents. A party for them and with charitable donations to boot? Robin would not turn such an invitation down and he clearly expected everyone to attend. They had been given an allowance (on top of their usual maintenance stipend) to prepare and outfit themselves for the occasion. Thus Raven, accompanied by Starfire in Jump City's famously expansive shopping mall, was not in a good mood. They were dress shopping. Though Raven thought the entire endeavour a waste of time, she had bodily dragged Starfire past her usual 'pink and shiny' clothing stores, looking for the more expensive and exclusive clothing stores. As they entered, Starfire eyed some of the price labels worriedly.

"Raven? I am not sure than even our generous allowances can afford these dresses," Starfire muttered.

"Don't worry, Star. I'll pay the difference," Raven declared, flatly. Starfire looked at her friend, surprised.

"You will? How?" she asked. At this, Raven graced her with a tiny smirk as they walked.

"I'm still raking it in from that gum endorsement in Tokyo," Raven revealed, eliciting a giggle from Starfire. Not even pausing to browse, Raven marched to the service desk, manned by three smart women, each looking business-like but exquisite. Raven quickly explained to them about the upcoming party, though they likely already knew about it. Raven finished with a rare show of feeling, a look of mild terror pursing her lips as she admitted her desperation. She looked around at the many dresses and gowns, shrugging at the three women before uttering two words: "Help us."

"Nnggg... Dude, how much longer do I have to stand like this?" Beast Boy wailed. He stood on a stool, holding his arms out by his sides while a tailor buzzed around him, taking measurements. To his left, Robin stood in a similar situation, sighing at Beast Boy's impatience.

"Until they're finished, Beast Boy. You told me you wanted to look good for this and these guys are the best tailors in Jump." Beast Boy pouted a little, then began imagining his suit.

"You think I could get some purple in there? I like purple!" Beast Boy said, picturing his uniform. Robin winced at the image of Beast Boy wearing a two-tone purple and black suit. Fortunately, Beast Boy's tailor nipped it in the bud.

"Perhaps a purple tie, sir. A black suit would be more... appropriate considering the setting." Beast Boy shrugged and nodded, much to Robin's relief. To Beast Boy's right. Cyborg stood while two men took his measurements. He felt a little ridiculous but if anyone could make him look presentable it was these guys. A little later, all measurements taken, the three heroes walked down the street.

"Dudes, this is gonna be sweet! A party in our honour? I'm gonna let loose!" Beast Boy said, raising his clenched fists to the sky to accentuate his words. Robin cleared his throat, causing the changeling to look back at him.

"Beast Boy... it's not really going to be that kind of party. Think less 'prom' and more..." Robin struggled for an example he would understand. "Remember when that serial kidnapper was targeting rich kids for ransom? We had to to stake out that ball?" Robin stared at the changeling, waiting for the penny to drop. Suddenly, Beast Boy's face twisted into a frustrated pout.

"What!? You mean... ballroom dancing and tiny food and bows and nods and manners?" Robin nodded. Beast Boy deflated a little but soon sported a wry grin. "Maybe I'll just get Raven to follow me to make sure I don't get into trouble," he laughed. As they walked, Cyborg nudged Robin and winked.

"Or maybe you just want Raven to follow you around, right BB?" The green changeling sighed and turned to his friend.

"Again with this, Cy? You're like one of those creepy boy band fans who draw pictures of them kissing each other. There's nothing there, dude, stop digging." Undeterred, Cyborg replied.

"Are you saying she isn't pretty, BB?" he asked, eliciting another, more frustrated sigh from his green friend.

"No, I'm not saying that. I'm her friend but I'm not blind: she's real pretty. But there's nothing going on between us. Now give it a rest... please!" Beast Boy pleaded. He wasn't sure where Cyborg had picked up this idea of him and Raven together but he just wouldn't let go of the notion. He let it rest for now, though. The three friends soon forgot about the near-argument and ended up back at the Tower, meeting up with a jubilant Starfire and grumpy Raven on the way. Neither group was in the mood to discuss their trips (though Starfire kept quiet for the sake of surprising Robin rather than reluctance) and the team made small talk over a light lunch.

The following days were fairly normal for the Titans - normal for them at least. Then, on the day of the ball, Robin dropped the proverbial bomb.

"Only a few hours left, Titans!" Robin laid his arm across Starfire's shoulders, squeezing her affectionately before facing the others, all sat on the couch. Raven was reading (surprise) and Beast Boy and Cyborg were watching some brainless action movie that even they had forgotten the name of. "So, when do your dates get here?" he asked, nonchalant. Cyborg replied without pause.

"I'm picking Sarah up at her place in-" he checked his internal clock. "An hour and a half. I suppose I better head to the tailors: they're gonna have to sew me in to this damn tuxedo." With that, the cybernetic hero rose with a sulk and shuffled through the door. Beast Boy and Raven, however, were both staring at their leader with wide eyes.

"What?" they said together, though Beast Boy's was decidedly more panicked. Robin smiled at them uncertainly.

"Your dates. You're supposed to bring a date. Didn't either of you read the memo I emailed to everyone?" Beast Boy growled in frustration.

"I'm not allowed a computer of my own, remember? Even though that thing with Cy's computer was, like, years ago now..." the changeling muttered. Robin slapped his hand to his face. How could he have forgotten? Without much hope, he glanced at Raven expectantly. She stared back, blankly before asking:

"We get memos?" Robin groaned. He ran through increasingly desperate ideas in his head - turning up alone would be a serious social faux-pas (at least in his mind. In reality, the organisers had more important things on their mind). Then, it hit him.

"Wait! You don't need dates," he said. The pair breathed sighs of relief. "You can just go together!" Their breathing stopped mid-sigh as they faced each other. They both had the same immediate concern: that everyone would misconstrue their situation as romantic, though Beast Boy's concern was far more specific, a metallic fanboy called Cyborg. The concern gave way quickly as they both realised there was no other option. Beast Boy smirked defeatedly before kneeling on the floor, one hand on his chest, the other reaching out toward Raven.

"Oh Raven, would thou do me the honour of giving me the pleasure of granting me the privilege of accompanying you to tonight's rich dude hoe-down?" he said, dramatically. Robin huffed at the 'hoe-down' crack but Raven only folded her arms and raised an eye brow at the changeling. His eyes wandered for a moment as he thought what he had missed. "... as friends." he said, finally, his grin reappearing. Raven smirked and took his hand in a mock-professional manner.

"I accept your terms, Beast Boy. Assuming Robin's memo doesn't demand we declare our undying love for the sake of our social standing," Raven drawled, returning her critical gaze to Robin. Beast Boy stood and faced him as well.

"Sorry bro. Raven and me-"

"I" Raven interrupted. Beast Boy continued, barely acknowledging her.

"Raven and I just aren't ready to commit like that." Raven nodded solemnly while Robin frowned. They were making fun of him! He stalked out the door with a giggling Starfire followed. As soon as the door closed, Beast Boy burst into raucous laughter and even Raven smirked in amusement. After a momentary but comfortable silence, Beast Boy spoke again. "This isn't so bad. To tell you the truth, I was thinking about hanging out with you tonight anyway." Raven's head whipped around to stare at the changeling, a hint of nervousness in her otherwise placid expression.

"You were?" she asked, a spike of anxiety dropping into her stomach. Beast Boy hadn't looked her way, laying back and still staring at the ceiling.

"Yeah. I figured if anyone could keep me out of trouble tonight, it would be you," he chuckled. Raven's nerves settled and a gentle smile returned to her lips.

"You think so? Robin has the most experience with this sort of thing," Raven supplied. Beast Boy snorted derisively.

"Yeah but he'll be too busy writing poems in his head about how red Starfire's hair is," he said, only half-joking. Raven's smile widened a little.

"Good point. Speaking of points, I should make on of getting ready. I'll see you later, 'Prince Charming'." Beast Boy chuckled as Raven walked to the door.

"I think we're closer to 'Beauty and the Beast' than 'Cinderella', Rae. Catch you later, 'Belle'," he said, cheerily. He snickered over his accidental little joke (Belle of the ball) and told himself he would get ready in a few minutes, staring at the ceiling. Raven's smile remained as she walked to her room. She expected Starfire would join her soon so they could help each other get ready. Raven didn't really need the help but Starfire was adamant. She hadn't particularly been looking forward to tonight's party but, she had to admit, the promise of Beast Boy's company made it easier to bear.

A current of warmth flowed through her when her emotions pointed out he had called her 'Beauty', even if he hadn't meant to. And despite their 'date of convenience', his admission had pleased her: even if it was just as friends, a boy had wanted to accompany her to a dance. A new experience for Raven. She decided that things had worked out for the best after realising that, if she had read Robin's memo, she would have been at a loss. As she opened her door, she turned to look back toward the common room where her friend presumably still sat. Her friend. Even now, she marvelled at how lucky she was to be able to call these remarkable people her friends. Still smiling, she thought out loud as she, astoundingly, agreed with Beast Boy.

"This isn't so bad, after all," she whispered before disappearing behind her door.

And there it is, the first bit. I had originally thought I might make this a one-shot but it expanded as I went and, as my readers know, I like smaller chapters. Probably won't be too many though, I won't be having any superdramatic twists or anything (probably). Let me know what you think!