A/N: Hey there everyone! Frostbreaker here with another story for ya. Been wanting to do a Teen Titans story for awhile now, so I thought I'd start simple. Anyhow, please R&R and let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything having to do with the Teen Titans franchise or DC Comics. I also do not own anything having to do with the motion picture The Avengers or Marvel Comics. All rights go to their respective owners.
Chapter 1: Shadows of the Past
What a great way to wake up. Roll out of bed, shower…and immediately smell bacon cooking.
It used to bother me a hell of a lot and Cyborg and I would always get into arguments about tofu versus meat, but thankfully for us all, a few years had grown us up a bit mentally. I still didn't like the fact that three out of five of us ate meat, but I didn't let it get to me anymore. I mean it's not like they all looked at me like a plate of food.
Okay…that happened once…but Cy wasn't himself.
It wouldn't have bothered me as much if my sense of smell wasn't so strong that I could smell it in my room with my door closed and the windows open, but I chalk that up to the animal DNA within me. Still…it wasn't worth fighting over, at least not anymore. I'd come to terms with the fact that no matter what I said, Cyborg was always going to eat meat…just like I was always going to be vegetarian.
Thankfully for me, I wasn't the only non-carnivore in the tower.
It still confused me when I thought about her diet. I mean, we rarely saw her eat much of anything. Most of the time she was fine with her herbal teas, eating little to nothing else. I knew I had to be missing some parts of her day in this case. Even though she's a half-demon, her body is still human for the most part…which means she needs to eat, just like the rest of us. Maybe I could…
'No…you remember what happened the last time you asked her out.'
I sighed as I walked towards the kitchen. The little voice in my head was right…things didn't go so well the last time I asked her out for some food. I didn't see it as anything more than just having lunch with a friend, at least not at the time…but she saw ulterior motives behind it. Whether they were true or not – which they hadn't been – Raven and I didn't talk too much anymore, more than likely because of that incident.
I mean, it wasn't my fault, was it? No…it couldn't be. Ever since the whole Trigon incident with Raven had been cleared up, she'd been opening up more with her emotions. When I first heard about it, I was happy.
Now however, I'm not sure it was such a good idea.
She was emotionally retarded, her emotional growth basically stopped at age four, and so she was playing catch-up with the last thirteen years of her life. Because of this, she was really unpredictable now, at least with me. I mean, I don't get it. With everyone else, she seems just fine…even Starfire. But whenever it comes to me, she's always tense.
"Why does she hate me?"
"Who hates you, BB?" said Cyborg's voice.
I looked up at him in embarrassment. "Ah God, I said that out loud, didn't I?"
He nodded. "Keeping thoughts in your head was never one of your strengths. So what's goin' on?"
I slapped together a tomato and lettuce sandwich with some tofu and sat down, shrugging. "I don't know, Cy. It's just…" I took a bite and swallowed. "Why does Raven hate me? I mean, did I do something in particular to make her mad at me all the time?"
The tech-man just shrugged and sat down across from me, chewing on a piece of toast with bacon on it. "I don't know, man. Maybe it's just…you."
I looked up at him and rolled my eyes. "Thanks Cy…you're awesome at this."
He took another bite of toast and drank some orange juice. "Hey, I'm just tellin' you what I see. I mean, you and Raven have never been all that close before, so why all the interest all of the sudden?"
I didn't really have an answer for that. Why was I interested in what she thought about me? I shouldn't be, right? It was pretty clear to almost everyone that she didn't like me…at least that's the way it looked.
"I…I don't know, Cy. It just…bothers me for some reason. It shouldn't, but it does." I responded.
He took another swig of orange juice and popped the last bit of food in his mouth. "Well, why don't ya just ask her?"
I looked up at him and raised an eyebrow. "You do remember we're talking about Raven, right?"
He nodded. "Yeah, I remember. She's not gonna hurt you or anything, BB. She might yell at you for bothering her, but at least you'll know what's going on." He stood up and put his dishes in the sink, rinsing them off before slapping me gently on the shoulder. "Just be assertive with her. Raven's used to people always being afraid of her, and it pisses her off. So…don't be afraid of her. Knock on her door, go in there, and demand an answer. Whether she actually hates you or not, at least you'll know what's going on…and even though it probably doesn't make sense to you, she'll actually respect you more for being a man about this." He then released my shoulder and smiled. "She just had her morning tea and finished her meditation, so if there's ever a good time to do it, it's now."
I nodded and stood up. "You're right. Thanks Cy."
He nodded as well and nudged me out of the kitchen. "Good luck, man."
I left the kitchen and walked down the main hallway that led to our different dorms, stopping in front of Raven's door. It was unassuming, looking just like the rest of our doors…but I knew what waited behind it. I took a deep breath and knocked loudly.
There was some noises coming from behind the door before it opened, revealing an annoyed Raven. "What do you want, Beast Boy?"
Doing what Cyborg told me, I braced my hand on the open door and pushed it open all the way. "We need to talk, Raven."
She sighed and shook her head. "I don't have time for this, Beast Boy. Go away."
I kept my hand braced on the door, keeping her from closing it. "No…we need to talk…now. Whatever you're doing, you need to make time for this…it's important to me."
She rolled her eyes but otherwise kept an unreadable expression. "A new high score on a videogame is not my idea of import-"
I interrupted her with a growl. "For God or Azarath's sake, Rae, just let me in so we can talk!" I quickly calmed myself and sighed. "Please."
For the first time since I've known her, she was actually surprised by me. She quickly regained her composure though and opened the door. "Fine…come in." I did as she said and she closed the door behind me.
Not knowing how she'd react to me sitting on her bed, I instead opted to sit in the chair next to her study desk, turning it around to face her as she sat on her bed. She eyed me with curiosity for the longest time before she finally spoke.
"So…what's so important that you had to come barging in here?" she asked, a hint of annoyance in her voice.
I decided to go for a direct approach and looked right into her violet eyes. "Why do you hate me, Rae?" She actually looked taken by surprise again, so I continued. "I mean, is it because of something I did? Something I said maybe? Or…is it just me?" Now that I'd started, my thoughts started to gain a momentum of their own, and the words just poured out. "Is it the way I do my hair? Is it my clothes? Is it the way I laugh? Do I smile too much? What is it?"
Another first since I'd met her, Raven didn't seem to know what to say. Her mouth just hung open a tiny bit and her pupils shrunk to pinpricks, but she was otherwise completely silent. I was disappointed that she didn't say anything. I wanted an answer. Good or bad, I wanted to know just what the hell her problem with me was…but there was nothing. No yelling, no random bolts of dark energy…nothing.
I sat there waiting for twenty minutes or so…but she didn't say one single thing. And so…I just got up and stepped over to the door. "No answer, hm? I figured you'd at least yell at me for bugging you or something." I sighed as I opened the door. "I don't know what I did to make you dislike me so much, Rae…but I'm sorry. Whatever I did, whatever I said…I'm sorry. I'll stay out of your way from now on." And with that, I left. As I walked down the hallway, I could have sworn I heard crying…but I knew for a fact that couldn't possibly be Raven…least of all about me.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, at least by Titan standards. There was a bank heist we had to clear up as well as some kind of public appearance to be made for the city, but no super villains or alien invasion or anything.
When we got back to the tower and Raven went to her room, Robin and Starfire both stopped me, forcing me to sit down on the couch.
Robin glared at me through his mask, setting his jaw in anger. "What did you do to Raven?"
Sick of this finger pointing towards me, I glared right back. "What did I do? I didn't do anything. I wanted to know why she hates me so much, so I asked her…that's it. Why do you care?"
Starfire was now glaring at me as well, and her glare was quite a bit scarier than Robin's. "Friend Raven has confined herself to her room and had been doing the crying for the entire day, friend Beast Boy."
"You need to apologize to her, Beast Boy. Whatever you said must have really bothered her, because she's never cried before, at least as far as I know." Robin explained, his expression softening.
I sighed and shrugged my shoulders. "That's just it…I already did apologize. I asked her why she had such a problem with me. When she didn't answer, I just apologized for whatever I said or did that caused her to hate me so much, and left. That's it…that's all that happened." I then stood up and frowned. "Whatever I'm doing, it's just making her angry at me all the time…so from now on, I'm just gonna stay out of her way. Problem solved." With that, I jumped out the window and morphed into a hawk, flying away.
I flew around the city for the longest time, just enjoying the peace that flying brought. It was a feeling of freedom that made me pity normal people. They'd never know what it's like to be able to just soar through the air currents, feeling the wind blowing against your feathers. That and it was a great way to calm your mind when you needed to stop thinking so much. I'm not stupid, but let's just say I usually leave the thinking to Robin and Cyborg.
I landed on a hilltop that overlooked the bay that housed Titan Tower and watched as the sun began to set, casting the whole of Jump City into a soft orange glow. I always loved this time of day, as it reminded me of the first day I met Raven…
'What the…why am I thinking about her again?'
"Ugh…why can't I just stop thinking?" I yelled out, seemingly to no one.
"Now you know how I feel…" responded a soft voice from behind me.
I turned around to see… "Raven? What are you doing here? How did you find me?"
She rolled her eyes and looked towards the city in the distance. "There aren't any green hawks in Jump City, Beast Boy…or anywhere for that matter. Finding you wasn't hard."
I looked at her with a stoic expression. "Okay, but you didn't answer my first question. What are you doing here? Why did you bother to come find me? Staying out of your way doesn't really work if you make it a point to be around me when I leave."
She looked visibly nervous and downright ashamed now…another new thing about her I'd never seen. "I…" she swallowed hard, "I'm sorry, Beast Boy…"
I raised an eyebrow in confusion as I looked at her. "Sorry for what? Did your powers break all my windows again? Please tell me that's not what it is. I was stepping on glass all day after that."
She shook her head softly. "No, it's not that. I…I'm sorry for how I've been acting…towards you."
Now, I was even more confused. "Why are you apologizing to me? You didn't do anything wrong. I did or said something stupid – like I always do – that made you mad at me, like always. I apologized and you're talking to me again, so everything's fine now. You don't need to apol-"
"Will you just shut up and let me talk?" she shouted, a bolt of dark energy slicing through my hair.
I felt my head, now feeling a spot that was noticeably shorter than the rest. "Ah man, I just got a haircut too." I looked back to see Raven glaring at me. "Okay okay, go ahead…I'll shut up."
She relaxed and sighed, closing her eyes. "That's the point, Garfield…you never did anything wrong."
She called me by my birth name…no one ever calls me Garfield anymore. "Wh-what do you mean I never did anything wrong? That's got to be a lie. I mean, I can't even count on both hands and both feet how many times I've frustrated you, or annoyed you, or downright pissed you off. So please…explain to me after all that how I never did anything wrong."
She sat down on the grass in front of me, crossing her legs and covering herself in her cloak. "The problem wasn't you…it was never you. The problem was me." She lowered her hood, allowing me to look upon her beautiful face.
'Beautiful? What the hell is wrong with me? Alright man, focus, she's still talking.'
She sighed and looked up at me again. "Because of Trigon and my powers, I was forced for the longest time to keep all my emotions under lock and key. I still do that to an extent…but I'm trying to learn. My point is that while the rest of you grew up learning how to interact with other people and making friends, I was busy being completely emotionless…trying to keep from killing everyone around me. This is all new to me, Beast Boy…and I'm sorry if you thought I hated you." She then…blushed? Was she blushing? "I definitely don't hate you, Beast Boy."
Her personality was completely different now from what I'm used to. She resembled the white-clothed Raven I met during the battle against Trigon, who from what I understood was supposed to be the true Raven. Granted she still looked like the emotionally closed-off Raven we all worked with…but suddenly her personality didn't match.
I liked this new Raven.
Risking oblivion, I scooted over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked down at it, then at me…so I smiled. "Promise me that from now on you're going to be like you are right now. I want to know what you feel, how you feel, and how you feel about what you feel. That's what normal people do. It's called talking things out, or sometimes venting, depending on whether it's good or bad. Trigon's not a threat anymore…so you don't have to be all closed-off to us…to me. It's okay to tell us about how you feel…and it's okay to feel. You have four friends that are more than willing to be there for you and help you through whatever you're having trouble with. We're friends first and Titans second, okay?"
She reached up and held my hand in hers, and even through my glove, I could feel just how soft and delicate it was. She let a genuine smile show and squeezed my hand. "Thanks, Gar. Is it okay if I come and talk to you sometimes?"
I smiled, still holding her hand. "Sure. Unless it's 'girl stuff', of course…you'll need to talk to Star about that. Anything else though, I'm your guy. You can come to me any time and I'll be there for you. I don't care if it's four in the morning and you had a nightmare…come get me. Well…if that happens, you better bring me an orange soda too…but that offer still stands."
She nodded, releasing my hand. "I'll hold you to all that, Gar. Thank you…really. I just feel more comfortable with you. I think it's because you know what it's like for me, to some extent. Robin and Starfire can go out in public as normal people…and even Cyborg can with that hologram thing he built. You and me…we're different…and we always will be."
I nodded and smiled. "But different doesn't mean bad, Rae…or less, for that matter."
She nodded and smiled again. It was at that moment, though, that the atmosphere was broken by my communicator ringing. I picked it off my belt and flipped it open, showing Robin and Cyborg in the little screen.
Cyborg looked a little worried, but otherwise unfazed. "BB? You okay?"
I nodded. "Yeah, I'm alright. Why?"
"Raven was looking for you. Did you see her?" Robin asked.
I nodded and turned the communicator face to her. "Yeah, she's right here."
Raven waved at the two of them and Cyborg smiled. "Alright, just makin' sure nothing happened to you. Anyway, we're having a movie night tonight, as it's been awhile. I'll be ordering Chinese for all of us – stir fry veggies for you of course, BB. I guess I'll get the kettle boiling for Ra-"
Raven butted in, shaking her head. "No, I'll be there too. Get me some of those vegetables as well, Cyborg."
Even through the communicator, I saw his eyebrow rise. "Really? Oh, cool. Alright then, room for five! We'll see you all here later then."
I flipped the communicator closed and looked at the girl beside me curiously. "You're coming to movie night? Wow…I'm surprised."
She shrugged and smiled. "So long as we're not watching Super Ninja Zombies IV, I'd love to."
I shook my head with a smile. "Nah, we're watching something called The Avengers. It's about some fictional superheroes that save the world, yada yada. I've seen the previews though, and it looks pretty cool. We'll save the chick flick for another time between you and Star."
Raven smiled again…and it made me happy to see her smile. Even though it was new, it felt right for some reason…and I liked it. "Both of those ideas sound good, actually. I'll talk to Starfire about it later then."
I nodded and stood up. "Well we should get going. I'd like to get a shower in before we start movie night."
I morphed back into my hawk form and Raven followed behind me as we flew back towards the Tower.
As planned, I took a quick shower and changed into some shorts and a tee-shirt instead of my Doom Patrol suit. I was happy to see that the food had already arrived, so we all set down to eat together…for the first time. I can't even describe how great it felt to have all five of us eating, talking, and laughing – yes, laughing – together. Somehow with Raven there, this place didn't feel like just the Titans Tower anymore…it felt like home…and they all felt like family now. With Starfire I couldn't tell, because she was always really happy, but I could definitely tell that Robin and Cyborg were really happy to see the empath with us all, spending some social time with us.
When we finished dinner, it was about 7:00, so we all started to congregate towards the TV area. Raven left for a moment to go to her room for something, but when she came back, I saw why. Instead of her usual leotard and cloak, she was instead wearing white fluffy pajama pants with a white fluffy pajama shirt to match and lastly…fluffy bunny slippers?
She must have noticed that we were all staring because she stopped and looked nervous. "What? I don't only wear black and blue…"
I looked back at her and motioned her over to the large couch. "No, it's fine. Just…unexpected is all. It's actually kinda…cute."
Starfire floated over to Raven with a large grin. "Oh yes! You look like a cute little Borglorf pup! I could do the snuggling and the cuddling all of the day with you!" And with that, she embraced the now-fluffy Raven in a hug.
This just made her blush and smile awkwardly. "Um, Starfire? Personal space…" Starfire released the embarrassed violet-haired girl, which made her smile. "I'm trying to get more personable with you all for all our sakes…especially mine…but I'm not quite ready for the random hugs, Starfire. Maybe later."
The Tamaranian princess smiled and nodded. "Very well, friend Raven. I shall remember you have said that. Now, let us all enjoy the night of the movie-watching!"
We all settled back down onto the couch, but I was a little surprised when Raven sat right next to me. She just looked at me, as if daring me to say anything about it. I just shrugged and poured myself a glass of orange soda while the movie started playing.
I enjoyed the movie quite a bit up until about halfway through…when I suddenly stopped focusing on it as much, though I still kept my eyes glued to the screen. The superhero named Thor had just been dropped out of the sky in a giant metal and glass cage, plunging to his demise…but then I felt something that tore my thoughts away from the movie completely. Without my gloves on, I very clearly felt when Raven's soft hand grabbed mine. At first I thought it was an accident…but then she laced her fingers in mine. Luckily for me, the room was dark so that none of the others saw…but that didn't stop the nervousness and questions from rising within me. The largest question being: Why? Why me, why Raven…why now?
As I thought about it though, the answers came to me just as easily.
Raven had already said that she felt a connection with me…because she felt that I understood her better than the others. I found that a little strange, seeing as how Starfire had switched bodies with her…but it did make sense. Both of us were outcasts of sorts in this world. The rest of our group could live pretty normal lives…even Cyborg…but Raven and I would always be on the outside of society – if not for how we looked, then for what we were. I was a changeling that could change into any animal I'd seen before, and Raven was a half-demon sorceress. No matter how many we saved or how heroic we were, people were always going to see us as being different. Even if they loved the heroic things we did, there would always be that distance between us and them.
As far as my feelings about Raven…they were complicated. Most humans thought the whole violet hair and grey skin thing was weird…but I had green hair, green skin, and fangs…even in my human form. Raven's differences from normal humans didn't bother me. We didn't live a normal life…so normal was out of the question in every sense of the word. I couldn't deny that I'd always found the enigmatic sorceress cute or even beautiful…but until recently her aloofness and solitary attitude tended to make me apprehensive to even talk to her, let alone be stupid enough to ask her out. Her apology and change in personality earlier in the day had added an entirely new dimension to her…and I liked it.
As far as why now…that was an easy answer.
I was only a year older than her and Slade was nowhere to be found…so things were about as calm as they were ever going to be. It was no secret that Robin and Starfire had a bit of a thing going, and we all knew that Bee and Cyborg were an item…so that just left Raven and myself. I mean sure, it would be a little strange that the last two members of the Titans of Jump City would find romance in each other…but as a Titan, stranger things have happened in my life. Hell…this could work.
With my mind made up, I looked at Raven out of the corner of my eye and squeezed her hand softly in response, and slowly caressed her thumb with my own while we sat through the rest of the movie (which was awesome, by the way). As I watched her with my peripheral vision, I could see a smile on her face.
As the movie finished the other three said their goodnights and headed off to their rooms, leaving Raven and I to clean up what little mess there was. As we did so, I noticed that she kept stealing glances at me, and I grinned. My "casual wear" consisted of loose basketball shorts and one of those form-fitting spandex workout shirts. The reason this mattered was because of how things had changed since I'd first come to the Titans. Where once I was skinny and built like a stick-figure, I had filled out with muscle. I'd taken to training my body a lot more, because I found that the stronger my human form got, the stronger all my animal forms became as well. Why did this matter? Because it meant that my body form showed through the shirt very well…and I couldn't help but tease the girl beside me. Deciding to kick it up a notch, I accidentally spilled a half-empty glass of soda on my shirt.
"Ah man…" I said, faking disappointment. I then whipped it off and tossed it aside as I kept cleaning.
Rae gasped. "G-Gar, what are you doing?"
I shrugged. "I spilled some soda on my shirt. I don't want to get all sticky, so I took it off." This in turn caused her to blush like crazy as she turned her head away to continue washing the few dishes in the sink. I'd never had a girlfriend before, so I could only guess that the cockiness I was having right now was the result of all the animal's instincts inside me…but I'd be lying if I said that it wasn't fun.
We quickly finished up and headed to the dorms, both stopping at her door. When we arrived there, my nerves had finally caught up with me. I was nervous as hell, and I knew exactly why. It goes without saying that I'd never kissed a girl before, not on the lips anyway, so I was sweating bullets right now. I was smart enough to know that when a girl waits the way that Raven was, she's waiting for a goodnight kiss.
"Thanks for tonight, Gar…it was really nice. I hope I didn't freak you out or anything when I…" she trailed off.
I shook my head. "No…it was the opposite of a freak out…it was a freak in." I stood there in silence for a moment, awkwardly. "That sounded better in my head."
She snorted a laugh and smiled. "I know what you meant…and thanks." She then reached out and took my hand again. "You know, Gar…I always thought you were kinda cute. Annoying sometimes, but cute."
I chuckled and nodded. "Well then, it doesn't make me feel bad that I always thought you were really pretty…more so than Starfire, even."
For some reason, this caused her to look a little sad. "Gar, you don't have to lie to me. I know I look weird and scary...it's not like it's something new."
I still don't know exactly why, but this made me mad. I grabbed her shoulders forced her to look into my eyes. "Raven, listen to me…I'm a changeling that can change into animals that could kill thousands of people. I can attack from anywhere on earth – land, sea, or air. If I wanted, my victims would never know I'm even there. You think I don't know what weird and scary is? I'm green, Rae. You…you're not weird and scary to me at all. I don't care what anyone else thinks…I think you're beautiful."
'Wow…where did that come from?'
She looked up at me with a single tear on her face. "Thank you, Garfield. You have no idea how much that means to me."
I smirked and wiped away her tear. "I always knew there was more to you than you let on…and I'm glad it's this. I like this new Raven…and I hope I get to see more of her."
Surprising us both, she pulled my head down slightly and kissed me. I froze…not because I didn't like it – because it was the single greatest thing that's ever happened – but because I had no idea what to do. Before things could get awkward though, I reached my arms around to the small of her back and pulled her close against me, closing my eyes and returning the kiss. It was short, but powerful…and when she pulled away, she was smiling.
"You will, Gar…I promise." she said before opening her door and stepping in. "Goodnight…I'll see you tomorrow." The door then closed, leaving me with a goofy grin on my face.
I turned and walked down the hallway to my room, tossing my soiled shirt into the hamper along with my shorts before hopping onto my bed. My head was spinning with just how much had changed in only a day. First, I thought Raven hated me. Then, I find out that she clearly doesn't. Then, I'm holding her hand like a couple would…and lastly I end the night with a kiss from who is now the most beautiful girl in the world to me.
Not a bad day…not a bad day at all for a beast.