bb past

5

Blond Skywalker genes, the secret’s out thanks to the little Matt the Radar Technician incident…

Being a fan of Big Brother like..
  • Me: I'm so done with this rigged show. Morgan still should have been allowed to go on the block. Shelby's DR was unfairly played for everyone to hear. What now Jason and Shelby have to replay the comp? This is rigged and this is ridiculous. I'm done with it. Subscription cancelled.
  • Also Me: *watching BBOTT live feeds 24/7 while reading articles from past BB players, posting on tumblr about it, and planning what I would pack if I got on the show right now and what strategies would I use?*
6

jungkook during danger era for @babyhyuna / ©

3

“He’s carrying emotional baggage… plus he’s hauling a gigantic chip on his shoulder and daring anyone and everyone to knock it off. He’s a mixed up kid, Batman.
—Batman: Gotham Knights #43

{tales} Welcome Home

When Airn had rescued the creature now named Jeska, the fuzzy stubby clumsy thing had been the length of his arm and the weight of a Fomoiri toddler and seemed to grow by the day. The voyage back to Mag Mell had been a joyous one. Airn kept the wobbly cub confined to his cabin and Jeska seemed pleased with this domain. Having been snatched from a vast and lonely place, he warmed instantly to this cozy space and the strange tall un-fuzzy thing who’d picked him up and carried him away. He ate twice as much as the largest sailor, and bounded around the captain’s cabin and across his bed, snuggling up at night, playing ambush with the captain’s boots at all hours.

Though the voyage was a long one, the step between a secluded but noisy place and an open, larger space seemed too big to jump for the cub. Jeska’s mischievous antics withdrew into flat ears and low body posture. Even his fur seemed duller, no more shimmering in the light. He dodged hands reaching out for pets and at any opportunity—meaning when Airn hadn’t picked him up—he’d bolt and hide under beds and other furniture, making strange trilling noises that escalated in pitch when anyone bent down to peek at him.

It took many weeks but eventually, after long hours of tempting with food and soft noises, and then even longer hours of sitting very still and letting the oversized kitten creep out of hiding to investigate on his own, Airn found a sort of balance with his newest pet and the household followed suit. It wasn’t long before the oversized housecat was back to playing ambush, this time with people’s feet as they walked past tables or around piles of cushions.

And by Balor did he grow. Yet even when his shoulders were at level with Airn’s knee, he still moved like a newborn: waddling around, wavering unsteadily, falling, occasionally picking up too much speed on the manor’s marble floors and skidding, sliding, yelping into a wall.

Airn bought and scattered a lot of rugs after bringing Jeska home.

Though they’d made leaps and bounds in progress, the little thing hadn’t quite worked out yet when Airn would like alone time with whomever was moaning in his bed. More than once he’d had the lust startled right out of him when a sixty-pound kitten landed on his back or his feet.

But he loved the little orphan creature. Immediately, on sight, and then with increasing intensity as Jeska slowly but surely made himself a fixture in the household. The worried soft trilling noises turned to pleased chuffing and headbutts, along with a fair few rumbling purrs when stroking hands hit the right rhythm. He gnawed on those hands as well, but never to draw blood. Still, his jaws were strong and even Airn had bruises.

When his coat began to shine again, Airn brought the cub to the beach.

Thankfully only children were brave enough to approach as they seemed to not startle Jeska as much as adults. Probably something to do with being closer to him in size, though the little ones could definitely still ride him if he’d allow it. Or maybe Jeska simply recognized other cubs. Either way, he stayed still for the awed coos and only yowled a little when his tail was pulled. He even gave second chances to ear-yanking hands eager to touch the shining soft coat and the little fuzz-covered horns and the strange feathered plumage under his chin. Gone was the skittish kitten, no longer withdrawn and small but preening and pouncing, headbutting small backs for more attention, rolling around on the sand, batting large paws at his new friends with claws retracted.

The water, he seemed less excited for.

They played tag and retreat with the surf for nearly an hour, Airn jogging alongside him and laughing every time the cub startled and bounded back away from the froth. Every single time. The children thought it a hysterical game at first, but eventually grew bored and wandered off.

Jeska was too fascinated, too far into play-ambush to follow them. He tried a more cautious approach, lowering onto his belly, wiggling forward as though he could sneak up on the sea. As though he stalked through vegetation instead of dragging a trench over sand. Airn laughed at this as well, though he laid down right beside him, pulling his own weight forward on his elbows and knees. This strategy, too, ended in a yelp and panicked fleeing.

“Come on!”

Laughing the words, Airn pushed to his knees and remained there, unaffected by the next wave that crashed up against his back and frothed around him. Jeska blinked, suspicious, bounced on his back paws, and made that anxious agitated trilling noise as he hadn’t for weeks. Airn beckoned at him, whistled and cajoled. Jeska lowered his head to his front paws, haunches raised in the air and wiggling with every lash of his tail. He made a sound like whining, pounced forward, and then scattered back again.

Airn chuckled, and on the next wave splashed some of the sea up at the stubborn cat. Jeska yowled and hissed, bolting back further. Fur and feathers puffed to make him larger, and he made a new kind of clicking sound. A brief spark of cyan blue sparkled along the swirling stripes on his coat. Airn laughed harder, but shook his head.

“It’s just water, baby. There’s nothing to fear, I swear it.”

He stood from the sea, trekking up toward his cowering pet and dropped to a squat a good dozen feet away, respectful of the wariness in every shivering line of the cub’s body.

“Just like the baths, only bigger. Saltier. You like the bath, aye? C'mere.”

He held out his arms and waited until his legs began to ache, calling on the patience that had him sleeping on marble floors not so long ago on the off chance a sleek junglecat kitten would creep out of hiding to investigate. Strange. He never waited for anything in life but the affection of those he loved.

Jeska eventually crawled toward him, sniffed and licked at the saltwater on his fingers, then butted his head against his knee with a short vibrating purr. Airn scooped the cub up carefully, crooning and shushing as he turned back for the water.

The cub made the same trilling noise in his chest cavity that Airn was fairly sure now was meant to be some sort of threat gesture. Maybe when he got bigger, it’d be scarier, but now it just made him sound pitiful and scared. Airn stroked over the gleaming coat and kissed his nose.

“You know this whole place is surrounded by water. You can’t get away from it.”

Jeska looked back into his eyes with a strange intelligence that made Airn pause with just his feet in the surf. For a moment they studied each other, baby and adult, divided by species but joined as orphans. Abandoned by the world until someone thought it worth their time to pick them up. Then Jeska craned his neck to look at the water below him and yowled pitifully.

Airn laughed. “I’ll not take no for an answer. Come on. We’ll go slow. I’ll be right with you.”

And they did, Airn walking into the waves with an easy, lazy stride. Jeska climbing him for higher and higher ground with a similar easiness and the occasional warning snap at higher waves. But when the water lapped at Airn’s shoulders and Jeska’s paws and the grip of tiny claws on his head proved problematic, the pirate lord carefully pried his pet off and slipped him into the water.

Jeska whined like he had at the beginning, paddling frantically, trying in vain to climb back atop Airn’s head where the sea couldn’t get him. Airn easily maneuvered just out of range, but did not leave him alone.

“There, see? It’s not so bad.”

He could’ve sworn the cub actually absorbed his words and considered them. Jeska’s ears pricked up, outmatching his baby horns in terms of height, and he paddled around in a curious circle. Briefly startled by his half-submerged tail, he nearly chomped on it to Airn’s delight. The attempt still got him a nose- and mouthful of saltwater and he sneezed mightily.

“Here, Jeska. Look at me.”

The kitten did, after a moment and a few more whistles and circles in the water, still in the process of learning his name. Airn took a deep obvious breath and ducked under the water. Above him, he saw deftly paddling paws the size of his palm and a swishing tail and then—a snout and eyes peering down at him. Bubbles erupted from the kitten’s mouth and the face disappeared above again. Airn came up laughing, grabbing his pet and heading for shore as the poor thing coughed and sneezed.

When they reached shallows again where Jeska could touch land, Airn expected another bolting retreat inland. But the cub only bounded away a bit, shook himself violently, blinked at his rescuer, sneezed again, and ran back toward the surf. The charge was sloppy and he stumbled and faceplanted into the water and Airn almost choked on a snort, falling back onto wet sand to laugh from his gut. He could hear Jeska splashing and sneezing and making that clicking noise at the water. Sitting up a bit he watched the big kitten bat his big clumsy paw at the seafoam like it were a bad playmate.

They spent the rest of the day there, at the edge of the beautiful ocean, darting in for longer and longer stretches of time before bolting back out. The children returned at some point, overjoyed when Jeska chased them along the tideline, splashing through pools and kicking up sand. The day passed quick and eventually happy exhaustion and hunger drove Airn from the beach. He called for Jeska, but the kitten hesitated, blinking at him.

“Come on.” Airn jerked his head with a click of his tongue. “What? Now you don’t want to leave?”

Jeska looked between him and the gentle sea, the lapping waves, the light of sunset bathing the water bronze. Most of the children had gone. Jeska tried a few more playful bounds, looking back at Airn hopefully. The pirate laughed.

“We’ll come back tomorrow, how’s that?”

Again, that strange flicker of understanding and consideration in purple eyes. The cub performed one more back-and-forth glance, then seemed to decide his friend was more important than the fun of the water and trotted to follow. Airn bent to scritch behind his horns, smiling at the rumbling low trill that edged his fingers like a purr.

“I knew you’d like it.”

I'm So Glad We Made Us A Thing - Prologue

Past midnight, stars unobscured by clouds cast ghostly light on the purple hair of a restless girl, pacing her bedroom floor. What had awaken her…she wasn’t positive; a wisp of a nightmare and a tingling sense of foreboding were all that remained and yet she couldn’t seem to find sleep. Clearing her weary mind seemed impossible, by any means. She rubbed her eyes drowsily, arranged her legs in a sloppy half-lotus, and pulled up her hood. Still, she couldn’t meditate. Couldn’t calm herself. Something was in the warm night air that made her feel uneasy.

-

Needless to say, the next morning Raven’s attitude was even colder and more waspish than usual, contrasting the sticky July morning. As she swept into the common room, the chatter of the Titans slowly halted. After living together for years, they could usually sense when it was not a good day for her. Raven slammed her mug of tea down on the table and a hairline fracture split the lip on the top. She growled. The pot on the stove boiled over. *Deep breath.*

Though she was staring at the delicate fracture in the sturdy mug, she was aware of the silent conversation just out of her line of sight. The eye movement and shoulder jerks lead to: “Umm, Rae, you okay?”

A snarky reply fought its way to the tip of her tongue but she bit it back, sparing the only person who had the nerve to call her “Rae”. Considering the nightmares, and her sheer tiredness, it just wasn’t worth the effort. “Yes,” She paused and kneaded her eyes . “Though if for just once you could say my whole name, that’d,-”

She froze and her mug crashed to the floor, shattering in a startling beautiful way. Standing in front of the couch, positioned so only Raven would be able to see her, was a woman. Her long dark hair was ragged and her eyes wild and scared. Raven had seen that look before: it was the look of a cornered animal. The woman motioned in a frantic and secretive way. Her eyes locked with Raven’s but periodically darted from side to side. Raven’s mouth fell open before she could stop it. “Mom?” she whispered.

“Umm, Rae? I’m not your mom.” Raven snapped back to Beast Boy. “What? I know.”

She scowled and pushed up from the table, deftly avoiding the chipped ceramic.

“I told you she didn’t want to talk to me!” Beast Boy shouted as soon the other Titans thought she was out of hearing range.

-

Her thoughts, usually so collected, were now scattered and unclear. Mediating only aided in plunging her into a world of confusion. She was too easily distracted. *What’s wrong with Mom?* *More importantly, what’s wrong with /me/* she thought, but guilt washed over her at her self-preserving thoughts. Her relationship with her mother had never been the greatest. Most times it had been a selfish, symbiotic, relationship, depending on each other to stay alive, to keep the evils at bay.

But good memories /did/ surface. Her mother brushing and plaiting her hair and singing. Reading fairy tails- not the dark azarathian ones, real ones. Ones with happy endings and princes and happily-ever-afters.

And those were the ones that kept her mind on the relentless thoughts that begged her to figure out what seemed to be tormenting her mother.

A logical thought rose to the front of her now conflicted mind. It chided her, telling her that this was a hallucination, a figment of her imagination. A creation of a poisoned mind. She groaned in frustration and rubbed her temples. She threw herself on her bed and the lightbulb above cracked. Forcing herself upright, she crossed her legs and regulated her breathing. /azarath metrion zinthos/.

Someone knocked on the door and her eyes flew open.

“Raven?” Starfire’s tentative voice made its way through the door. Raven relaxed at the familiar, if over-enthusiastic voice, though she hadn’t realized she tensed in the first place. It wasn’t surprising with the appearance of her mom. She glanced around her room warily, and shivered. Raven slowly uncrossed her legs and moved to open the door. Starfire stood a polite distance from the door but Raven still hung a foot or two back in the shadows of her room.

“Raven,” began Starfire. “At breakfast, it seems, you were not your usual self,”

Starfire’s eyebrows were furrowed. Raven felt her hands clench around the fabric of his cloak. Her fingernails cut crescents into her palms through the fabric.

“Sorry not to be my usual perky self. I’m tired,” she stated shortly and reached up to slide the door heavy shut.

“Wait!”

Raven raised one eyebrow irritatedly. Her head was beginning to ache and her vision was going fuzzy around the edges. Another vision or outburst around the others would not bode well for her reputation as the sane one. The headache began to pulse its way to the front of her head.

“What?” Raven winced.

“Please, I am sorry Raven, are you quite sure you’re okay? You seem to be in pain and- Raven?” Standing behind Starfire was the same ragged hallucination of her mother. Raven began to tremble and her knees buckled, the last thing she felt was Starfire’s arms holding her up and the sound of worried shouting.

-

All around Raven were familiar faces. Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Robin. They all wore looks of immense worry. It was highly unusual that Raven, of all the Titans, collapsed in the hallway.

“You okay, Rae?” Beast Boy asked, his voice sounding as if he were speaking through water.

Raven tried to give an irritated response, but her mouth felt as if it were stuffed with cotton balls. She shot him a glare instead.

“Raven, what’s been going on? You seem out of it.” Robin’s forehead wrinkled into a concerned crease.

Raven shook her throbbing head. *I’m fine* She tried to sit up on the hard, cold, surface she was laid upon, but Starfire gently pushed her back down. “Rest, friend.”

Raven struggled against her friend’s grasp. *I’m fine!* she tried to say, but no sound came out her dry mouth.

She thrashed on the table, but Starfire’s strong yet frail arms held her firmly in place.

“Now, now, Raven. There’s no need to struggle.” Cyborg’s usually kind face was twisted into a sneer as he assisted Starfire in pinning her down. “You’re safe with us.”

A cold feeling seeped its way to Raven’s toes. She was NOT safe, and these weren’t her friends. She struggled against the iron grip holding her down, but it only strengthened. Robin joined in pinning her down on the cold surface, and Raven felt hot tears streak her marble cheeks as she opened her cracked lips into a silent scream. “There’s no need for that.” The voices unified, as her “friends” faces twisted into grotesque smiles.

“Don’t you get it?” Beast Boy seemed to say. “There’s no escape. I am everywhere.” The voice seemed coldly familiar to Raven, but before she could place it, Beast Boy’s tiny fingers closed around her throat, crushing all remaining life from her flickering soul. With one final tear, all went black.

-

Raven awoke for real this time, screaming. She didn’t care who heard her, or what happened. She needed to let loose a sound painful and pure: cold and true terror.

She was in the infirmary, a place that usually held comfort in its formality, but now made her toes curl with fear.

Someone was sitting next to her bed, watching over her. Before she could get a look at her guardian, Raven felt hands on her again. The fear immediately set in again and she thrashed and shrieked, trying to get them off.

“Rae. Rae!” Beast Boy shouted her name, trying to be heard over the deafening screams. “Rae!”

Raven struggled against his strong hands, despite the small size. He had yet to transform, not wanting to harm or further upset her, but logical thoughts like those were lost to her. She kicked and struggled and screamed.

“Rae!” Beast Boy shook her slightly, trying to clear the fog in her violet eyes. “Raven!”

At the sound of her actual name, Raven slowed. “Raven.” He said again. “Please snap out of it!”

Tears were starting to form in his eyes at the sight of Raven, the most controlled person he knew, tortured like this.

Seeing the tears in his green eyes, Raven stopped. “Beast Boy?” She hoarsely whispered.

“Yeah Raven?”

They locked eyes. He didn’t dare say a word. All of a sudden, Raven collapsed into tears, grasping him tightly. Surprised at her sudden affection, he cautiously wrapped her in his arms. “I-it’s okay. It’ll be okay.”

She sobbed as he stayed there, gently murmuring words of comfort.

As her sobs slowly turned into awkward hiccups, the sun was lazily setting, casting orange shadows in the room.

“Beast Boy?” Raven quietly asked, into his tear-stained shirt.

“Yeah Rae?”

“If you tell anyone about this I will kill you.”

He didn’t even bat an eyelash at the threat. “Okay, Raven. Okay.”

-

Raven wiped hot tears away as she awoke from a vivid nightmare. A knock sounded at her door and cut through the thick and unnerving silence.

“Are you sure you’re-”

Raven cracked her door open and silenced the repeating offender with a glare. He had been periodically checking up on her every since her freak-out that afternoon.

Beast Boy smiled cheekily. “The other Titans are eating breakfast if you’re up to it.”

“Of course I am,” she snapped, not liking that the conversation was spotlighted on her , “It’s not as if I’ve been wounded I just-” she cut herself off, taking a deep breathe. “I’m fine.”

He raised a single eyebrow, “Alright, just making sure.”

Raven swung her door open in a clean arc, nearly taking Best Boy’s nose off. As they walked closer to the main room, it occurred to her that he had been the only one there. She swallowed. Why had that been? Her mind quickly wandered back to the warped visions of her mother and the nightmares that had plagued her. She nearly tripped, snapping out of her thoughts as Beast Boy came to a sudden halt at the doors to the living room, but he steadied her and she looked down. The doors in front of them slid open smoothly.

Sitting, eating breakfast, as Beast Boy had said they’d be, were the rest of the Titans. They all looked up and she was greeted by a chorus of “Raven!“s.

She made her way to the table and sat down in her usual spot next to Starfire.

"Friend Raven, I am very happy that you are feeling okay!” Starfire smiled and looked as though she wanted to hug Raven- though she refrained from doing so.

“Yeah, Raven, you gave us a bit of a scare,” said Robin from his place at the stove cooking pancakes.

“Mm. I’m fine, I’ve just not been sleeping well. I apologize for the inconvenience,” she said, accepting a plate.

“There’s no need to apologize, we’re just all glad you’re alright,” said Cyborg, giving her shoulder a small squeeze.

Beast Boy made a noise of agreement from his spot at the end of the table and gave her a small smile. The conversation strayed and Raven found her self lost in her troubled thoughts again. She stayed quiet, though no one seemed to notice. This was normal behavior for her. It would have been unusual for her to make conversation or force a smile (she recalled a previous experience). But sitting quietly, none of them would notice the turmoil running through her head.

She felt a prickle on the back of her neck, the kind that seem to show up when someone is watching you. Oh Azar, she thought, not another appearance now, not when they’re all sure I’m back to normal. When she looked up, however there was no specter, just Beast Boy, staring quietly at her. He wasn’t participating in the conversation as usual, making a stupid joke or yelling some obnoxious comment. When he noticed her looking he whipped his head around and joined the conversation. /He’s acting weird today, she thought. /You’re one to talk, a voice in her head japed. She ignored it and stood up.

“I’m going to meditate,” she unexpectedly announced and swept back to her room. The rest of the Titans watched, taken aback.

-

Raven shut the door to her room and sank into her bed. Collecting her thoughts, she crossed her legs and began to think. She hadn’t seen her mother in years, since before she had come to Earth and joined the titans. It was shocking and unsettling- to say the least- to see the woman after so long and in such a state. Ravenfs memory of her mother had begun to fade months ago, but the little memory she did have left was of a regal and confident and erratic young woman. Not exactly the model mother figure, not someone who had been there in trying times, but someone who might have understood her pain nonetheless. Outcasts in Azar together. The bedraggled vision of her that Raven had seen was not that memory, but unmistakingly her. There was only one reason for her to be like that- to look like that. Shefd known that Raven was leaving, had helped her make her escape. In the end, as Raven had been about to leave, she’d clutched desperately on to Raven’s wrist and threatened that she would never forgive Raven for leaving her. Raven had sadly brushed her off and stepped away, her mother’s moods changed rapidly and frequently. This was an unsurprising development. Despite her snap changes, Raven’s mother always kept her word. If she was trying to contact Raven, it was because she feared for her own well being and no other reason. There was only one being Raven could imagine that could threaten the life of her mother: Trigon.

The name sent shivers down Ravenfs spine, that she tried her best to suppress. The logical part of her mind argued that he was gone. She herself had defeated him; she remembered the battle all too well. So how, how, could he be back? Raven let out a deep and resonant sigh and heard a cracking noise from her windowsill. A cue to meditate. She took a breath and began to levitate, floating an half foot or so above her bed. Closing her eyes, she chanted the three words that had been pounded into her brain as soon as she was old enough to talk. Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos.

Raven’s soulself touched down gently in the barren landscape of her mind. Immediately she knew something was wrong. Whirling around she saw Trigon, standing taller than mountains and redder than the pits of hell. She slid her right leg back and tensed, assuming a fighting position.

“What do you want with me?” she yelled. “I defeated you! What have you done with my mother?”

A rumbling, emotionless laugh escaped the vast demon. “Where is your mother? Ifm quite sure I do not know, daughter."The term was affectionless. "Is a visit from your father not good enough?”

Raven nearly screamed in anger. A small part of her cautioned her that emotions, even here, would have effects on the real world too. She ignored it.

“Answer me!” she screamed. “I know you have her!”

Raven felt dark energy consume her fists, encase her body, and clutch her heart. She continued to ignore the persistent part of her that advised her against showing any emotion. Suddenly all that mattered was this.

“I haven’t seen Arella in years, child.” Cold laughter filled his voice, as if her petty anger amused him.

Raven screamed, rising up to attack him in a battle cry. She saw in his monstrous hands, a weeping wraith of her mother. As she swooped to grab the woman, she was dragged back to reality, unsure if by a flying object or her own tortured wail.

-

Raven sat up and looked around her room. Books were strewn about her room, furniture overturned, glass and lights cracked. Nowadays it was rare that she lost control, but when she did she was glad for her soundproofed room. She slowly stood from her bed. Her mind ached the way joints do after battle, and her cheeks were wet with tears. She fiercely wiped the drops away, shocked and angry with herself for crying for the second time within twentyfour hours. She slowly began to piece her room back together, beginning with righting the furniture. She did it by hand, not trusting her powers so soon after such an incident and was holding a rather heavy stack eof books when a knock at the door startled her and the tower of books toppled. She heaved a sigh and composed her face to its usual neutral mask.

She slid the door open, and before she could get a word in-

“Yo, so Raven, I’m trying to play my new game but its two player and everyone else- hey did you know that your room is, like, really, really messy?”

“Is it, Beast Boy, is it? I hadn’t noticed,” she uttered wearily, and began to shut the door, not at all in the mood.

“Woah, woah, woah,” Beast Boy shoved his foot in the door. “Hey, I’m sorry. Do you need some help?”

He knew that Raven wasn’t the type to have a messy room and he had a sneaking suspicion of what had happened.

Raven opened the door a little and he pulled his foot back. It had hurt a bit more than he was willing to admit.

“Really?”

“Duh.”

She shouldnft have been surprised. Meddling was Beast Boys personal specialty, but she was still secretly a bit flattered that cleaning her room won out over video games. She opened the door and he stepped in, closing it behind him. In the eerie lighting of her room, his face was distorted, like the Nightmare Beast Boy. She sucked in a quiet breath and flicked on the light that was rarely used, brushing a cobweb off the light switch.

“Dude, I didn’t even know your room had a light,” Beast Boy commented, picking up a book off the floor.

“Ha ha, very funny,” Raven snapped, but a tiny smile tugged at the corner of her lips as she tried to push a armoire back into place, considering if using her powers was worth it. Beast Boy dropped a stack of books on her desk and dusted off his hands. He walked over and helped her to try to push it upright. Beast Boy let out a frustrated huff after minute of struggling with the heavy antique and shifted into a gorilla, which had no trouble putting the heavy furniture back into place.

“You know, Robin complains a lot about having no powers, but they really kinda suck,” Beast Boy said suddenly, across the room from her.

Raven looked at him sidelong, furrowing her eyebrows. Where had that come from? “Eloquent, Beast Boy.”

“I try.”

-

By the next week, Ravenfs incident was mostly forgotten. Some sort of stronger bond had formed between her and Beast Boy after they had reset her room together. He was more respectful of her and she wouldnft snap at him for every little thing. It was odd, unexpected, and completely bewildering that anything could change with only those couple of hours. Here they were though, Raven absorbed in her book, Beast Boy making jokes and neither really all that on each otherfs nerves.

The rest of the Titans had seemingly come to the consensus that the best way to deal with the sudden truce was to make sly comments. Raven ignored them: it wasnft hard. Beast Boy would blush a little but dismiss it.

As happy as Raven was not to be bickering, her mind was now constantly focused on finding her mother. She spent copious hours in her room, nose buried in books, meditating, and even- in her darkest hour- looking to the magic Malchior had taught her, all in order to find her mother.

In another week, she was becoming more and more frantic. A layer of books covered her floor, hastily chalked pentagrams plastered her floor and walls, and her eyes and brain were completely exhausted.

The few hours she did spend with the other Titans were even more horrible than those spent in her room and she knew it was her fault. She snapped at them and small objects near her frequently imploded. Whatever small pocket of peace with Beast Boy she had found had been thinning over that week and finally ripped to shreds when she had made a particularly nasty comment to Starfire about her consuming of mustard and butchered vocabulary. Beast Boy had unnaturally calmly told Raven to stop, at which point she had rounded on him.

“You think you can tell me what to do?” She let out a mirthless laugh and her mug shattered. “That is hilarious. As if! Try as you might Beast Boy, but you will never be anything more than a small, annoying, pathetic little… ” She couldn’t seem to find a fitting word, an astounding feat for her. Seeing shocked looks all around, she stormed out of the room.

The Titans glanced at each other. Something was up. And one of them had to figure out what it was.

Raven sat at her desk. She buried her nose in a thick Latin volume printed in a minuscule type. After a moment of trying to concentrate, she gave up. The horrible, relentless feeling of guilt welled up in her stomach. Her insulting remarks to sweet Starfire and savage attack on Beast Boy ate away at get stomach. Just apologize, her mind reasoned, but she knew her pride would never allow it.

*It would be a waste of time,* she defended herself to her empty room. She stared shamefaced at her book and pages of endless notes and diagrams, trying to get up the courage to apologize. Fighting monsters and villains? Sure, no problem. Apologizing? Well, it wasn’t one of her strong suits. They’re your friends, Raven. They would understand if you apologized and explained why you’re being like this. They would want you to tell them… right? They did last time. No, she stopped herself. This time is different.

She gathered enough courage to stand up and wade to her door through the sea of books, at least to apologize, if nothing else. As she was about to open her door, a knock sounded and she tripped backwards over a book in surprise. Struggling to her feet, she opened the door.

“Woah, your room is really, really, REALLY messy.” Beast Boy smiled, holding out a hand to steady her. “Didn’t I help you clean this up already?” he joked, stepping in around some books.

“I-” Raven stuttered. Who’s eloquent now? she thought, not believing she had stuttered a reply. Her shoulders sagged. “I’m sorry.”

Beast Boy sighed in response. ‘I know. Honestly, I’m kinda surprised you’re apologizing.“

Raven glared, "What are you trying to say?”

“I was joking,” he said hastily and leaned against her bed. “I know you’re sorry- something’s up with you lately- but maybe you should apologize to Star.”

“I was about to,” Raven said, defensive and jumpy and ready for the conversation to end.

“Okay here’s the plan-”

“The plan?”

“The plan,” said Beast Boy. “You go apologize and then we are going to leave and you are going to tell me what’s happening with you.”

“There’s nothing-” began Raven firmly.

“Seriously, Rave” he rolled his eyes. “I’m not that stupid. You freaked out and passed out a couple of weeks ago, you were nice to me for like a week, and then you got more …” He made a weird, vague hand motion. “than usual, and your room is worse than mine lately.”

“Fine,” she relented. “Where, exactly, are the two of us going?”

He shrugged, “Pizza’s always a good default.”

“Wow. Be still my heart,” Raven deadpanned, rolling her eyes and turning towards the door to find Starfire.

“Raven,” Beast Boy mock gasped. “What are you suggesting?”

“I won’t dignify that with a response,” she called over her shoulder as she retreated down the corridor.

‘You just did,“ he shouted after her, trying to zigzag his way out of her room to follow her.

-

Raven found Starfire still sitting at kitchen table. With only a small amount of difficulty, she apologized, though she had very little to worry about. Starfire had listened very seriously and nodded thoughtfully as Raven explained that she’d been stressed and tired. Raven apologized as profusely as she could allow herself to. Starfire hugged Raven tightly and smiled as she walked out the door, trying her best not to to grin too widely as Beast Boy fell into step beside her, bumping her shoulder slightly. Raven slapped him in response.

-

Raven and Beast Boy walked side by side to the pizza restaurant, as Cyborg never let either of them near the T-Car. They walked down the street and rounded the corner to the regular joint, neither saying much. Raven was still a bit nervous after apologizing. It was not something she did well and was reprimanding herself for the nervousness.

They arrived and sat at a booth in a corner, each ordering their own pizzas. A cheesy ballad playing in the background and Raven’s muttered complaints about the quality of the restaurant’s powdered ice tea was music to Beast Boy’s ears.

As they began to eat, Beast Boy finally cut through the comfortable silence. "What is happening to you? I’m serious.”

Raven looked up. He was. And when he was serious he was a completely different person.

“Well?” he prompted.

Raven opened her mouth, but no sound came out. Should she lie? Her mouth felt like it was full of cotton. Could she even lie?

As much as she wanted to open up, as much she wanted to tell someone…to tell him…she just couldn’t. “It’s none of your business.” She stated coldly.

He stopped chewing. The song ended. The mood was broken.

“You may not think it is, Raven, but you’re part of the team, and you owe it to the rest of us,” he stated sharply.

She opened her mouth to say something but then something occurred to her.

“Us?” her eyebrows narrowed. “Ahh, I see. The rest of you are trying to figure out why Raven’s gone off the deep end, huh?”

“Of course! We’re worried about you. Like it or not, Raven, you’re part of a team with friends that will back you up no matter what. But friends don’t keep secrets.”

Her eyes narrowed and she leaned up on her elbows. “Sometimes you have to. Sometimes it’s to keep others safe.”

“Maybe they can take of themselves. Maybe they can help keep you safe.” He brought himself up to her level and glared at her.

“I don’t need help! I can take care of myself!” She slapped her palms on the table, bringing herself up to full height and raising her voice.

“But you don’t have to!” he cried, standing up. Although she was taller than him, his ferocity made up for the extra inches. “We can protect you Raven! I can protect you!”

She faltered at his words. Although the other Titans constantly put their lives on line the whenever they fought together, it was never as personal as it is now.

“Alright,” she said softly, breathing in and out. Azarath Mentrion Zinthos. “I’ll tell you. But can we please go somewhere else? We’re causing a scene…”

He agreed, and hastily paid the tab. He didn’t say a word as she silently lead him to a park. It was dark now, and lightning bugs flashed occasionally. Trees were silhouetted in silver moonlight. It was a beautiful night. Both sat on opposite sides of a great oak tree.

“It’s my mom.” Raven’s serious voice cut through the sound of cicadas.

Beast Boy said nothing. He shouldn’t have to push Raven to trust him.

Sensing this she added: “She’s in trouble and I have to go save her.” She swallowed thickly. The task seemed much more formidable when spoken aloud.

“I know if I say the Titans can help, you’ll just push us away.” Beast Boy said slowly. “So instead I’ll offer my help instead. I’d be doing this because I want to, not because you asked me to. If something happens to me you will not be responsible.”

Raven said nothing for awhile. “I-I couldn’t ask you to do that…”

“You wouldn’t have to. I’m telling you that I am going to help.”

“This isn’t your fight.” She tried desperately to come up with a way to tell him no. She couldn’t take anyone else getting hurt at her expense.

“I don’t care.” His voice was quiet. Controlled. Decisive.

Suddenly a thought struck her and she sat up straight. “Beast Boy, you can’t tell them.”

“What?” he asked, confused at her contrasted moods.

'You can’t tell the rest of them. I should not have even told you.“ Her panic began to rise and she took a few calming breaths. Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos.

"Why? They deserve to know too.”

“No!” she said firmly. “This is about me and my mother. I have to do this. Alone. Please, Beast Boy, you have to lie.”

“… alright.”

“Really?h”

“Yeah. Friends have to respect boundaries.”

Raven’s lips quirked a bit. “And when, pray tell, have you ever respected my boundaries?”

Heavy silence fell again, but this time it held a ring of comfort.

“I do when it counts.” he said finally.

Raven smiled slightly. “Will you really lie for me, though?”

“Yeah, if you want me too. I get it.”

“Thank you, Beast Boy.”

-

As much as she enjoyed reading, (or as close to enjoyment as she could get) Beast Boy thought the amount of time she had been sitting in her room reading was borderline obsessive. He was worried about her, to be perfectly honest.

“Rae?” He asked, knocking on her door. “I think you should take a break from all those books. Do you want to play video games? Or some tea?”

She set down her book, scowling at the door. “Beast Boy, you know I’m busy…but some tea would be nice.”

He smiled at the door, knowing she meant well. “One cup of tea coming right up!”

As the other Titans watched Beast Boy set a kettle on the stove to boil, they cast knowing glances at one another.

“So Beast Boy,” Cyborg casually started, smirking slightly. “How’s your girlfriend doing?”

Beast Boy whirled around. “She’s not my girlfriend!”

The other Titans snickered at his red ears and heightened pitch.

“Whatever you say…”

“Robin, you should know better than to tease Raven like that.”

“You seem to be awfully defensive about her.” Robin retorted.

“J-just shut up!” Beast Boy fixed the Titans with a glare and grabbed the kettle off the stove, pouring it into a mug. Laughter followed him as he stalked down the hall to Raven’s room.

“Raaaae. I got your teaaa.”

Raven’s door popped open. “Thanks.” A half smile graced her lips as she took the mug. Neither moved.

“So how’s it going?” Beast Boy finally asked, breaking the comfortable silence.

Raven’s expression immediately clouded. There was no need to define “it”.

“I’m close to finding her.”

“Can I help?” Beast Boy asked, wanting to do something more productive than just make tea.

Raven considered for a moment. “All right. You can read and tell me if you find anything about taking prisoners in a dark realm.”

He didn’t ask her to elaborate, and stepped into her room.

Book were strewn about. He gave up on making another “you’re room is so messy” type remark. The joke was stale.

Raven walked over to her bed ad arranged herself in the lotus position.

Azarath. Metrion. Zinthos.

She closed her eyes and gently floated up. Beast Boy watched as her troubled expression slipped into one of serenity. He picked a book up off the floor and dusted off the cover, settling into a comfortable position.

He was halfway through learning about linked dreaming when Raven’s eyes snapped open and she fell to her bed with a soft thud.

“Raven!” Beast Boy cried, tossing the book aside and leaping over piles of books to get to her.

“I found her.” She whispered breathlessly. “I found her.”

“That’s great Rae!” Beast Boy replied. “Where?”

Raven’s expression became guarded. “I-I can’t say.”

“What? C'mon, Rae, we’re in this together.”

She shook her head. “No, we’re not. I made a mistake in letting you help. I have to do this on my own.”

Beast Boy’s expression hardened. “We’ve already been over this: I’m helping whether you like it or not.”

“You are not.” She said, standing up regally. “This is a family matter.”

“The Titans are your family now.” He insisted. “You can trust us. You can trust me.”

“Why do you always think you know everything?! You don’t. This doesn’t concern you!”

“Yes it does!”

“No.” She insisted. “It doesn’t.” Her eyes flashed and she slammed the door in his face.

“Raven…” He whispered, hurt. He turned around to find 3 Titans eavesdropping.

Their intrigued faces melted into guilt. “Beast Boy,” Starfire said. “We are most sor-”

“It’s fine, Star.” Beast Boy said dejectedly as he trudged away. “Just forget about it.”

The other 3 Titans exchanged glances as the sound of heavy objects being thrown across the room rang from Raven’s room. “You wanna take this one Star?” Cyborg asked, backing away from the room.

“Of course.” Starfire replied, and took a deep breath before she knocked on the door.

-

Whatever Starfire had said (he assumed she was the only one sane enough and nice enough to try to console Raven) must’ve been compelling, because two hours, 13 minutes, and 41 seconds later, a knock curt enough to come from only Raven sounded at his door.

“Beast Boy?” She asked quietly. “May I come in?”

He didn’t reply.

“Beast Boy, if you don’t open up, I’m going to break down your door.

Nothing.

A sigh. "I-I’m sorry.” Her cheeks burned, and she was glad his door remained shut. As much apologizing as she had done over the past few weeks, it never got easier. “You were right, you guys are my family, but this really is something I don’t want you guys getting involved in. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

His door slid open. “We can take care of ourselves. It’s you that you should be worried about. You’re so indecisive you question your own judgement 24/7.”

Raven ignored the intentional jab. “I didn’t come to ask for your opinion, Beast Boy. I came to tell you that you were correct for once. The rest of the Titans deserve to know what’s been going on.”

He leaned against his doorframe. “When are you going to tell them?”

“Tomorrow at sunset. It’s when I’m leaving to find her. Alone.”

For once, he didn’t argue. He only responded with a twinge of hurt: “why so soon?”

“The sooner the better.” Raven replied cryptically, and left him alone at his door.

-

It was a hot summer night. Robin slept atop his bed with only a pair of Batman printed boxers on: no sheets.

Starfire snoozed soundly in her bed amidst tangled sheets. She was keeping cool by piling her hair in a bun and sporting short shorts and a tank top.

Cyborg, the most technologically inclined, cranked the AC up as high as it could go, and slept in the cool air peacefully.

Raven, however, was not sleeping. It had nothing to do with the heat, but instead her mission. She slipped silently out of her room, her cape billowing behind her despite the temperature.

She had lied when she told Beast Boy she was leaving tomorrow at sunset. She had lied when she said that she would tell the other Titans. They could never know all her secrets.

Cicadas filled the night air, and the heat engulfed her as she slipped onto the roof. She was about to channel a portal to her homeland, when she saw a figure silhouetted in front of her.

“Lovely night, isn’t it, Raven?” The person spoke into the night.

“How’d you know I would be here?”

Beast Boy turned around. “You said 'the sooner the better’. I assumed you really meant it. Plus, good byes are always the hardest.”

“Yes, they are.” She spoke quietly. Why did he have to come? Why couldn’t she go quietly by herself?

“Raven…I won’t try to stop you from going to find your mom, nor will I insist I go with you. But just know that I would’ve helped. We all would have.”

She nodded and swallowed thickly. She despised good byes. “Thank you.”

He reached out for her hand, and she let him take it, squeezing back slightly. “Beast Boy…” She trailed off, not knowing how to properly convey her feelings.

She ended up not needing to, as he leaned in close, face moving towards hers. His lips moved past hers, however, and stopped right next to her ear. “I’m so glad we made us a thing.” He whispered.

“A thing”. Yes, “a thing”, indeed. That was one way to put it. Bickering constantly, random sweet gestures, painful fights, tender makeups…“a thing” was the only way to describe their relationship.

An object was all it was. Something either too simplistic or too complex to be classified as anything more than a thing.

She wanted to tell him that. Tell him how she felt. But she couldn’t bring herself to. Instead, as he leaned back out, they locked eyes. Green against violet. A vivid picturesque display of color in the pale moonlight.

Raven nodded. The gesture was small, curt. But he understood it perfectly. Everything she felt…everything she wanted to say…it was all conveyed in a single nod. She couldn’t bring herself to speak, and no other words were spoken.

Raven willed herself not to cry, but allowed one small, hot tear, to drip down her pale cheeks. He brushed it away. They could’ve stayed like that forever. His hand on her cheek, their hands clasped in the silver night. She leaned into the comfortable, familiar, warmth on his hand. This. This was it. This was what she wanted. This is what she needed.

Raven let go of his hand. Beast Boy looked at her with understanding. She couldn’t do this as much as she wanted to. Her mother needed her.

He watched as she walked away, up to the ledge of Titans’ Tower. She never looked back as she stepped up the ledge…and then off the building.

Down, down, down. She closed her eyes and breathed in the night air. She imagined she was a bird, free to go wherever she wished; to do whatever she wanted. She spread her purple wings out with majesty. She was a Raven. She was free.

Beast Boy watched her as she fell. Watched as her familiar purple cape billowed around her. He watched her right until she opened up a portal, just before she sank beneath the waves of the great big ocean. He watched her leave. And he let her go.

-

The next few weeks were not happy ones for the Titans. Beast Boy had been in an awful mood ever since the night Raven disappeared.

“For the last time, man, where is she?!”

This was the usual breakfast routine. Cyborg angrily demanded Beast Boy tell him where Raven was, and Beast Boy not relenting any information.

“I told you already! I don’t know! And even if I did, it wouldn’t be my business to tell!”

“Yes it would!” Cyborg countered. “Raven’s family, so it is our business!”

“That’s what I thought too,” Beast Boy said quietly. “But I was wrong.”

He dismissed himself from the table, leaving his vegan waffles untouched.

It was on nights like these when he remembered her the most. Sticky, humid nights, with cicadas chirping, and the moon shining. Just like the night she left.

He missed her. A lot. They danced around their feelings for each other for years, and finally, when they both admitted something was there, it got ripped away. The world was cruel.

He sat on the edge of the shoreline, attempting to skip rocks. After his fifth failed attempt, he angrily threw a rock into the water, listening in satisfaction to the heavy PLUNK!

To his left, another rock was skipped beautifully, creating too many ripples to be natural. “Beautiful night, huh?”

He didn’t turn towards the stranger, instead remaining facing the ocean. He managed to find a suitable stone, and threw it into the night, watching as it dipped and skipped along the water.

“Not really.” He replied flatly.

“Of course, it is. The moon is out, the cicadas are chirping…”

He couldn’t seem to place the voice, although it was familiar. The memory of the voice tugged in his mind, but he couldn’t place it.

“I would say there’s nothing better to do tonight than to sit and skip rocks.”

The stranger stepped out of the shadows. Beast Boy immediately recognized the stranger. How could he be so stupid? How could be not of remembered? How could he not have known that the stranger was-

“Terra?”