A/N: This is an idea I have been toying with for a while. It has been on my mind, but I didn't want to try to attempt it as I finished 'Collateral Damage,' so I put it on the backburner. It is something a bit different for me. I will let you decide whether or not it is any good!
Credit for the title goes to the incomparable RabulaTasa!
I do not own the Teen Titans. One of my dreams would be to play Beast Boy in the live action movie, but I am too large. Instead, I just write stories about him.
It's just past two in the morning. The Tower is dark and quiet and everyone is asleep… Everyone but me. I'm lying on my back in my bed with my arms across my chest, staring at the ceiling. My eyes are dry and bloodshot. My muscles ache, sore from another hard-fought battle. My breaths are long, deep, and rhythmic. I am exhausted, but no matter how I try, I cannot sleep. My mind is working overtime. I toss and turn. Catch a chill, pull up the covers, begin to sweat, and toss them aside. Just as I get comfortable, there is an itch on my shoulder, then my leg, then my back until I am wide awake again. I take a deep breath and sigh knowing that tonight—like many nights before—will be endless…restless…
Slowly, I turn my head to the other side of the bed. There, she lies, sleeping softly. Traces of moonlight filter through the window and caress her fair skin; it looks soft and smooth—like velvet—inviting me in for a touch. Her eyes are closed. She wears no expression, but I can tell by her breathing that she is at ease. For the first time tonight, I smile. She is a beauty beyond compare—without equal—and she is lying beside me. I want nothing more than to kiss her… to hold her in my arms until I, too, drift off. But, I don't want to wake her. Instead, I gently lift myself to a seated position and kick my feet over the side of the bed. I prop myself up with my arms and slowly transfer my weight to my feet, hoping she won't notice my absence. As I stand tall, I look down at her uneasily; she rolls from her side to her back, but does not wake. A warm wave of relief washes over me as I tip-toe to the door and step into the unlit hallway beyond.
As I venture into the blackness, my memory my only guide, my thoughts resurface, begging to be recognized. Though I know I am playing with fire, I have no choice. Some things can only be ignored for so long… can only be put from memory for a time before they can be reasoned with no longer.
I turn a corner and then another before finding myself at the base of a staircase. As I climb—stair by stair, step by step—I see her in my mind's eye. Her long, blonde hair. Her eyes of ocean blue. Her faint yet unfailing smile, which brightened and softened her. My heart begins to pound. It is not affection that grips me, but shame. It is like my skin has been peeled back and I am forced to come to terms with the ugliness lying underneath. I reach the door at the top of the stairs and push it open. My eyes are flooded by the starlight burning overhead. I step onto the roof, journey to the edge, and take a seat, dangling my feet over the side of the Tower. I look out onto the glistening water—flashes of light reflecting upon it. It is hidden by the night, yet even now it is not consumed by darkness. Every flicker and flutter of light brings hope…untold possibilities that would seem unthinkable under different circumstances. That—if given the chance—could change everything...
As I stare at the fleeting light, I am reminded of her. Of that night. Of the mistakes I made…and I wonder what might have been…
When she returned to us…to me…I was overjoyed. Life seemed empty without her. I missed her terribly and felt overwhelming guilt; she believed I betrayed her trust when she ran off. Being around her again reminded me just how special she was. Immediately, she recaptured my heart.
I'll never forget the night I asked her out. I was an awkward, gangly kid. Green skin, fangs, and pointy ears aside, I was…unspectacular. My biceps were small and ropey. My chest was far from barrel-shaped. I was not as handsome as Robin or as smooth as Cyborg. I was just…me. Though I figured she would say no, I knew I had to try…
I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach as I walked to her room. I couldn't tell if I was just really nervous or if I was on the verge of throwing up. I swallowed hard and knocked. Sure enough, she opened the door. Though I had practiced my pick-up lines over and over, my mind went blank and words escaped me. We stood in awkward silence for what seemed like forever before she announced that she was going to bed and began to close the door. As if on cue, I snapped out of my daze, handed her the heart-shaped jewelry box I had made, and asked her out. My heart fell. The look on her face spoke volumes before she said a word. When she did finally say something, I was too upset to make sense of it. The door slid shut and she disappeared behind it. It was all the answer I needed.
I walked back to my room, feeling lower than ever before. The girl I loved was so close, yet so far from reach. The realization was hardly consolation. I was angry with myself. I was simply too nervous—too forward. I blew it. I had one shot and I blew it by making her uncomfortable.
I was surprised and ecstatic when she appeared outside my window, standing on a large boulder. She offered me her hand and asked me out. I was confused, but thrilled. I took her hand.
We roamed outside the city. She took me to her favorite places: a small diner and an amusement park. We talked. We laughed. We were young and had each other. Nothing else mattered.
As we rode the Ferris Wheel, surrounded by twinkling lights, she asked me if I would be her friend, no matter what…even if she did something terrible. I promised her I would, that she could trust me. In turn, she smiled at me. Though her hands were casually folded across her lap, her eyes sparkled, begging for more. I swallowed hard and leaned in for a kiss…
I never expected him to be there. He took me by surprise and threw me from the car. I dangled in the air for a moment before coming to my senses. I swung back inside and stood my ground, staring at his cold, inhuman face—his mask. We fought, exchanging blows. First he had the upper-hand, then I, then he, then I… back and forth until she stepped in and brought the entire ride crashing down. With precious little time to spare and a psychopath breathing down our necks, we hid in the nearest building: The House of Mirrors.
Once safely inside, I began to think things through; trying to figure a way out of our current predicament. My communicator was missing. When I asked her for hers, she told me that she wasn't coming back…that she couldn't. I was confused. I didn't understand her reluctance.
That was when he found us and began to speak. His low, gravelly voice filled the room and raised the hairs on the back of my neck. He spoke of friendship…of appearances…of deception and destruction. Though his words crawled into my ears, I refused to believe them…until she admitted her guilt.
Instantly, my mind turned to my friends. Cyborg…Raven…Robin...Starfire… Every alarming, disturbing thought-every worst-case scenario-flashed before my eyes. Rage grabbed hold of me. My blood boiled, burning like acid in my veins.
"You said you'd be my friend no matter what…" She whimpered with a shred of regret.
In my anger, I searched for the most hurtful words I could, as though wounding her would somehow change what she had done…
"Slade was right," I fumed, turning away. "You don't have any friends."
After that, things got worse before they got better. With her help, Slade nearly succeeded in destroying the Titans and the city. He knew our flaws and weaknesses. With that knowledge—that power—he knew just how to attack us. Nonetheless, we fought back. While the others were busy fighting Slade's drones and minions, I went looking for her. I was going to stop her at any cost.
When I found her, she was in tears. She begged me to end her life. He was controlling her…using her…manipulating her to his advantage. Unwillingly, she threw everything she had at me. Uneasily, I tried to talk her down; to help her see she was the gifted one, the powerful one. In the end, I wound up pinned with a dagger-like mass of stone hovering above me. I looked to her. Her eyes were red and filled with tears, she was bruised and battered, and she looked lost and afraid. I knew I was to blame. When she needed me most, I turned my back on her.
"It's your life, Terra. Your choice." I said, "It is never too late to change…"
She took control, and—as the other Titans and I looked on—defeated Slade. Her powers, however, triggered a volcano. With her last breath, she sacrificed herself to save us all…
What is the measure of a friend? Is it someone who cheers you up? Someone who listens and offers advice? Or is it something more than that… Is a true friend someone who helps you do right or is it someone who will stand by you even though you've done wrong?
What keeps me up most nights is knowing that I failed her. She needed understanding. She needed someone to stand by her, even though what she did was wrong. I did not. I let my anger get the better of me and she paid the ultimate price. I betrayed her and I regret it to this day.
I often wonder how things might be different had I been stronger… had I done the right thing. Would she still be our friend? Would she have returned to us after she escaped her prison of stone? I wish I knew… Uncertainty is unsettling because it is as boundless as the imagination.
I shake myself from my thoughts and get to my feet. The moon shines upon me and dances on the water, lending light to the darkness. A cool breeze nips at me as I turn to the door. Even now, years later, thoughts of her chase me from my bed and deny me sleep. Memories of what I did haunt me, making it difficult to look at my reflection. Though time goes on and wounds heal, scars remain a constant, unpleasant reminder…
Though we constantly move forward, it is more difficult to move on. In order to turn the page on one chapter and begin the next, we need closure…forgiveness…
And sometimes, the hardest person to forgive… is yourself.
If you enjoyed this, check out works by these authors, who are more eloquent, cerebral, and probably better looking than I…
Still too old for this
Thanks again for reading!