Chapter 17 : All In
Continued from Part 1 --->
Mumbo slowly looked back, having turned his head at the last second. Despite being a villain he never did care much for the sight of the more unsavory acts that came with his choice of criminal career. He much preferred the role of performer than executioner.
“Not my style, I know,” he sighed with a tinge of pity before rekindling his smile. “But every so often ya just have to take things to a whole new… huh?”
Much to his surprise as he looked down BeastBoy was nowhere to be found. Gone from beneath the giant glove that was still unchanged from its spot firmly planted on the ground.
“Where did…? How…?” Mumbo dropped to his hands and knees, squinting to see if he’d changed form and crawled underneath. Getting back to his feet he gave a wave of his hand and in an instant the enormous glove shrank to its regular size.
No longer barring view of the street it was now clear to see that BeastBoy was indeed gone. No tracks, no trail, no clue as to where he might’ve gone.
Mumbo scratched his chin, looking back to find Raven still face down where she’d been. Also unchanged.
He walked over to her, standing over Raven’s motionless figure as he made one last visual sweep of the surrounding area. Whether the changeling had fled to regroup or was lying in wait to attack, he still remained baffled as to how he’d done it. “Kids these days are finding better tricks all the time. Another trade secret, I’m sure.” He looked down at her, lightly nudging her side with his foot.
Yielding no response, Mumbo shrugged. He had no loot for his efforts but he was still unscathed save for his pride. And he still had his freedom. It was time to cut his losses and exit the stage while he was still able.
“Well then,” he gave a small bow and tip of the hat as show of respect, “Until the next stage is set.” Mumbo turned walking away.
Just then he faintly heard a low murmur.
“Hmm?” he turned.
Mumbo walked back, kneeling down beside Raven with a hand beside his ear. Again he could vaguely make out a few grumblings posing as words.
“What was that?” He pushed her partially onto her side.
Raven lay still with her ear against the ground, eyes shut, her mouth trembling to open.
Mumbo leaned in closer. “Didn’t quite catch that, kid.”
Raven’s eyes opened wide as her hand rose to her shoulder. “AlaKazam!”
A black vortex opened point blank in front of Mumbo. A green spider monkey sprung from the mystic opening latching onto Mumbo’s face. The small monkey tugged on Mumbo’s mustache, poked him in the eyes, slapping and beating against his face like a drum as he screeched in primal manner.
Mumbo yelled in both pain and annoyance as he backpedaled several feet, shaking his head as he swung his torso while using both arms to attempt to throw the little beast from his shoulders.
Finally Mumbo was able to separate the green monkey’s grip, seizing him by the wrist and flinging him into the air. Though the chimp landed squarely on his feet as he turned to flail his arms and razz the magician with his tongue.
Mumbo huffed as he tried to catch his breath, running his hand along the side of his head to straighten his hair. That’s when the realization struck him as his hand felt around the alarming vacancy atop his head. His top hat was gone.
It was then he looked up to see his hat ensnared in the monkey’s tail.
He turned, running up alongside Raven who was now on her feet. The little monkey climbed up her leg, around her back onto her shoulder where he placed the hat on her head with a playful smile clapping his hands. Raven too shared a small smile of her own.
Mumbo narrowed his eyes with a flare of his nostrils. He too curled a smile beneath his pointy nose.
Throwing out his arm, his wand sprung forth from his sleeve, catching it in his hand. He gave a quick twirl and then thrust it forward. “Mumbo Jumbo!”
In an instant the top hat expanded around them, transforming, seizing the both of them in what appeared to be a magic cabinet.
“Sharp as ever. Misdirection is a magician’s best friend,” he knocked on the side of the cabinet before reaching around to the side, retrieving the top hat from thin air. “Too bad it works both ways.”
He placed both hands on the side of the cabinet. “But one good turn deserves another.” He spun the cabinet around and around at dizzying speed. It twirled for a few seconds before eventually grinding to a stop beside Mumbo’s hand.
He threw open the cabinet. “And behind door number one?”
BeastBoy and Raven steadied themselves against the inside of the cabinet; still woozy from the centrifugal force they’d endured inside. They swayed momentarily as their pupils briefly kept spinning just after they had.
“Wha-ah-uh-ugh-oh,” BeastBoy stabilized himself. He brought both hands to his head as if trying to make the world around him finally stop spinning. “Anybody get the license plate number on that washing machine?”
Suddenly he perked his head up, wrapping his arms around his waist as a brief shiver rattled against his teeth. “Ooh-wuh-wuh-wuh! Is there a draft in here?”
“No,” Raven replied also regaining her bearings, steadying a hand against her forehead. “But I do feel rather… constricted.”
They both looked down to discover the cause of their newfound discomfort.
“Whah!” the two heroes yelped in shock as they were now finding themselves aware of BeastBoy in Raven’s outfit and Raven in BeastBoy’s uniform.
BeastBoy was quick to throw the long cloak around his exposed legs, clearly taken by surprise at the sudden exposure of his bare skinned legs so suddenly and in a combat situation. The fact that Raven’s leotard did little to conceal his lower anatomy was probably an after thought as well.
Raven followed a similar reaction throwing her arms around herself, one across her chest, the other below her waist, trying to cover as much as possible. While not unaccustomed to tight clothing, BeastBoy’s ensemble felt a little more formfitting than she was used to. Like it contoured across every inch of her, highlighting every inch of her body’s shape. It felt as if she were wearing almost nothing at all.
“Is this what they call an out of body experience?” BeastBoy queried.
Raven merely gave an impatient stare. Not daring to pull either hand away long enough to smack him.
“Hmm…” Mumbo scratched his chin. “Shoe’s on the other foot. But doesn’t look to be a good fit.”
Mumbo slammed the cabinet door, taking firm hold to the side once more, twirling the cabinet like a top. After a few seconds of high-speed rotations the cabinet came to a stop. And once more Mumbo threw open the cabinet door.
BeastBoy wore a matching red suit and hat with white fur lining around the sleeves and a big black leather belt across his waist with matching black boots. A clearly fake, thick white beard, which BeastBoy was quick to tear from his face as it muffled his voice. BeastBoy was dressed in the splitting image of Santa Clause. Minus the holly jolly waistline.
He looked to his side to find Raven hunched in sour expression as she was donned in a hefty light pink rabbit suit with a basket of colored eggs hung from her arm. Chalk up one more unpleasant experience with rabbits on Mumbo’s behalf.
She shifted her eyes to the side at the young changeling. “You’re out of season.” Seemingly all she could muster from spite of having the theme of floppy ears once again forced upon her person.
BeastBoy crossed his arms as if sore about being overlooked as to how good a Santa he looked. “You put on weight,” he teasingly remarked at the bulky fluff padding the inside of Raven’s suit.
Raven shot up straight, planting the Easter basket onto his head with a SPLAT as yolks dribbled down his face.
Mumbo slammed the door closed. “Not bad. But I don’t care much for holiday specials.”
Again he gave the cabinet an intense spin. And once more the cabinet came to a halt. The door flung open.
“Perhaps imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery,” Mumbo boasted at the latest transformation.
BeastBoy was dressed in a dark green tuxedo with a dark purple collar and bow tie, white gloves, and a top hat. The ensemble was a similar magician’s attire to that of his captor. He looked from shoulder to shoulder at his new look with a shudder. “Please tell me this isn’t a hand-me-down,” he said with a nauseous sense of concern.
He looked beside him to find Raven in a deep blue sequins gown that cut off just above the knee. No doubt intended to be taking up the role of the ‘lovely assistant’, to which she could not help but feel slightly belittled.
However not missing the irony of this role reversal, she gave a casual role of the eyes. “Now this makes two people in tuxes who can’t do proper magic.” She mused at Mumbo’s expense with just a snippet aimed at BeastBoy for misusing her spell books a while back.
“Hey, no way I’m sportin’ that look,” he waved off the prospect of trading outfits. “Besides I don’t got the legs for it.” He tugged at his pant legs to contrast her short outfit causing a flock of pigeons to fly out from inside.
Raven gave a small smirk as the swarm of birds scattered up past him, flapping him in the face with stray feathers left hanging on his outfit.
Mumbo narrowed his gaze as the door snapped shut. “On second thought, too many performers spoil the show,” he scowled.
With a wave of his wand he materialized a pull start on the side of the cabinet. He grabbed hold of the handle with a renewed smile, putting one foot squarely against the side of the cabinet, giving a mighty heave. After two or three sharp pulls the cabinet started to sputter like an outboard motor, whirling and twirling quicker than it had before. It spun faster and faster, rocking back and forth, almost starting to lift off the ground.
Mumbo leaned forward, one hand pressing his top hat against his head, having to fight the amount of wind resistance being put off just to stand upright.
The cabinet came to a screeching halt.
“Ya know something? It takes talent to spot talent. Memorable acts come and go. But you two?” he straightened his collar. “You both have such good chemistry together on stage…”
The cabinet door swung open.
“What say we take it to the next level?” he grinned.
BeastBoy shook off yet another dizzying spin. “Dude, seriously. This is getting’ way old.”
“Old is all he does,” Raven pointed out, rubbing the wobbly blur from her eyes. “Old tricks, old hat, old age.”
“Yeah, well that still doesn’t change the fact that we’re totally gonna’ kick his-” BeastBoy stopped abruptly catching sight of his new attire.
Mumbo’s current cabinet transformation was just starting to come into focus. BeastBoy was dressed in a formal black suit with silver cufflinks. White dress shirt underneath accented by a black tie. A white handkerchief tucked into his breast pocket. Polished black dress shoes.
“Okay, didn’t we already do the ‘wanna’ be magician’ act? Cause I don’t do reruhhhh…” BeastBoy looked beside him finding a shortness of both words and thought.
Raven was dressed in a stunning backless white wedding gown. Silk and lace delicately woven over her figure, a radiant contrast to her undressed bare arms holding a small bouquet of pale yellow roses and ivory white orchids. Her hair slightly pulled back. A transparent white veil draped down over her face.
Raven at last looked to have shaken the last of the dizziness from her only to find her vision somewhat obscured by the new accessory donned atop her head, quick to tear back the veil from her face. “What the…” all she could muster looking herself over. She spread her arms, looking from shoulder to shoulder as she angrily noted every last insufferable detail to this magical mockery.
BeastBoy just stared, unsure of what else to do.
Raven caught sight of BeastBoy’s somewhat vacant gawk. “What?” she quietly said in uncertainty, inching away. She pulled her arms around her instinctually unable to shake the embarrassment of once again being used as a living dress up doll.
“Uh…” BeastBoy stammered. He’d never seen Raven dressed like this. Like this? He’d never seen Raven ‘dressed’ at all. And while she certainly never cared for outward remarks on how she dressed before, what was there to say? What would get him pummeled more? How good she looked or how bad a fit it was for her persona?
Though truth be told there was a certain radiance about her. Maybe it was a side effect of Mumbo’s cabinet; maybe it was the constant dizziness he’d endured that was making him lightheaded, but it felt like his vision was being slightly distorted. Like the effect in Japanese cartoons where everything around you gets all bright and glittery and you’re surrounded by bubbles for some reason.
Raven stared impatiently, narrowing her eyes at the green boy beside her. The look of aggravation all she could do to mask her own silent observation of his like-wise change in appearance.
It was certainly different. She’d never even contemplated the idea of BeastBoy in a suit. And certainly not how much it seemed to radically overshadow so much of his personality in such a drastic way. He had a look of maturity to him. Distinction. Class. No impression whatsoever that this was the same person who on occasion would build a fort at the foot of his bed with dirty laundry and play the harmonica with his nose.
“I-I…uh…” BeastBoy fumbled, shyly rubbing the back of his head.
Raven looked down staring at the ground. Or at least what little ground that visible and not hidden by her gown. “Yeah. Um…”
“This is kinda’… I mean n-not that you…”
“Don’t… Just… Maybe…”
Awkward silence, save for occasional forced syllable brought on by the quickest of glances back and forth between each other.
Mumbo could not help but delight in this development as he concealed a snicker. He’d all but completely immobilized them and seemingly neutralized their very train of thought. “Mmm… Needs something,” he deviously scratched his chin.
Always a perfectionist when it came to the details he needed that one final feature. The proverbial icing on the cake.
“That’s it!” he said with a snap of his fingers. Mumbo drew his wand in hand once more giving a wave and an upward thrust high into the air.
From below to the two teens feet sprung an enormous three-tiered wedding cake, lifting them high into the air. The cake surged and grew to forty feet high, thick coatings of vanilla icing covering every square inch.
Raven and BeastBoy remained glued to the spot, shaken but unmoving. Their feet deeply entrenched in thick white frosting as if nothing more than decoration.
Mumbo gazed atop the mountainous desert and the two decorative toppers above. “And now that we’ve all had our just desserts,” he rolled up his sleeves, “It’s time to bring this show to a close.”
With a swish of his wand in the air the magic cabinet sprung up from beneath the cake right behind the two heroes. Its doors ominously opened wide giving way to a void of utter blackness inside. The magician’s intent was made clear. He was preparing to send them on a honeymoon. Into oblivion.
“And now, for my final act,” he held his hands high as if catering to the ever present crowd in his mind. “I will now make this happy couple… DISAPPEAR.” He smiled malevolently.
He tilted his top hat back, reeling back with both arms. One hand flexing his fingertips, the other waving his wand in preparation. He was ready. His magic in control. The final curtain set to lower.
Something was amiss. The stage was set for the performance of a lifetime, but Mumbo couldn’t help but feel… out of sync. Restless over something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
He looked to the top of the cake at his two captives. Still anchored in place. Still unchanged. Only sharing occasional fleeting glances at one another.
“Ahem!” he pretended to clear his throat as he lowered his posture briefly before holding himself high in preparation once more. “I will NOW make this HAPPY COUPLE… DISAPPEAR!”
No witty banter.
No idle threats.
Just two well dressed teens bashfully sharing the same awkward space. Their eyes cast up at the sky or down at the ground in between the occasional timid looks as if trying to think of what to say to one another.
Mumbo’s teeth began to quiver. A cold sweat dripped from his brow. He had them right where he wanted them. Alone, helpless, and no escape. Just a flick of the wrist and he could beat a hasty exit to perform another day. The reviews would be in his favor, the performance of a lifetime, and two less interlopers to upstage him at future venues.
But it was all for not if he didn’t have the spotlight. The captive audience’s attention was elsewhere. It was unprofessional.
“ERRRRGGGHH!” Mumbo fumed, “HEY!”
He threw his hands to his sides, defiantly marching towards the base of the towering cake. He did have his pride. And he was still a performer above all else.
He stared daggers at the both of them but it was if he wasn’t even there. He smacked his hand onto his face dragging his fingers down across his features in sheer frustration.
Mumbo stomped heavily up the side of the cake sinking his once polished shoes and stainless black dress pants deep into the spongy mass of cake and its thick gobs of sugary glaze.
“There… are certain levels… of common courtesy,” he huffed in between wide steps, continuing to ascend higher up the first tier of the cake. “When a performer… takes… the stage!”
Mumbo finally made the last messy trudge onto the top layer of the cake, several pounds of frosting clinging all around his legs. After a moment to catch his breath from the exhausting upward hike the magician stared down his two oblivious spectators.
“So without further adieu, can we wrap this show up!” he crossed in arms in bitter intolerance.
BeastBoy glanced at Raven.
Raven glanced at BeastBoy.
The two finally meeting eyes for more than a fleeting glance.
“Now?” he asked politely.
“Now,” Raven gave a nod with a small smile.
The two teens reeled back their arms. BeastBoy’s arm morphing to that of a gorilla’s brutish fist, a bulging orb of building telekinetic energy amassing outside Raven’s knuckles, bawling up their fists in harmony before shooting them straight out in front of them parallel to both side of Mumbo’s face.
The impact erupted like a crack of thunder as the magician was sent airborne, arcing over the side of the towering cake. Tumbling down tier after tier, soaking up frosting like a snowball rolling down a steep hill. Bounding and falling over and over again, layer after layer, his entire being now encased in a heavy coating of white frosting as he sluggishly rolled to a stop back onto the pavement with a splat.
On the up side, the outer shell of icing he now wore around him like a hefty white round overcoat had softened the fall. So there wasn’t much additional damage done to his person. However the frosting had all but solidified, thickened and tightly packed around his entire body save for his head.
Mumbo woozily shook his head. He could feel his face starting to swell as the searing imprint of each of the Titan’s fist prints were now beginning to puff out against the side of his cheeks. The soreness followed close behind as he could feel everything below his eyelids starting to throb and tingle with the burning sensation of defeat. “Newlyweds…” he babbled before blacking out.
Meanwhile back on top of the world, as it were, BeastBoy pulled at his leg trying to pry it free from the icing. “So,” he yanked at his knee with a strain in his voice, “Gonna’ ask me if I’m sick of sugar now?”
Raven rolled her eyes throwing out her hand in Mumbo’s direction.
Mumbo’s wand uprooted itself from the sugary mass that held the magician in place. Encased in black energy it flew to Raven’s hand where she grasped it tightly before snapping it in two.
The magic cabinet vanished in a puff of smoke. The frosting began to dissolve. The massive cake beneath their feet began to deflate in size. All of Mumbo’s magic was slowing coming undone.
Raven discarded the wand fragment over her shoulder with a sigh of relief. “Glad that’s over.”
“Uh, Raven?” BeastBoy asked in a somewhat concerned manner.
BeastBoy shyly pointed down.
Raven looked down.
In the moment of triumph of nullifying Mumbo’s magic she’d forgotten just how high off the ground they were.
The cake began to break apart.
“Oh,” came her deadpan realization.
All three tiers gave way crumbling into nothingness.
“WAAAGHH!” they yelled in a downward plunge towards the ground.
BeastBoy landed in a thick mountain of frosting on the ground, softly but messily breaking his fall. Shakily he sat up knocking a stray bit of frosting from out of his ear.
He quickly looked up to find Raven still falling, coming right down on top of him. BeastBoy held out his arms, catching her in his lap.
Raven remained motionless for a moment, caught bridal style in BeastBoy’s arms. The two meeting eyes just long enough to blink. She was quick to shove herself away. But in doing so only to fall into the same pile of sugary paste that had saved them.
“So… yeah. This was a day to remember.” BeastBoy obliged in a bit of sarcasm befitting Raven as he got to his feet.
“Hardly one I’ll soon forget,” she huffed wiping icing from her face as she walked, stopping short of Mumbo verifying he was indeed still out cold and no longer a threat. “Though I’ll certainly try.”
They watched as the last remnants of the magician’s magic dissipated. Save for a few reverted props and lingering mounds of frosting the street was essentially restored to normal.
“Little property damage and a few chunks missin’ from the main street,” BeastBoy surveyed the most noticeable damage, “But overall, chalk up another one for the good guys.” He gave a thumbs up in approval.
“Now let’s just call the others before…” Raven reached for her communicator. But found only the delicate white wedding gown hanging at her hips. In fact her entire wedding dress was still intact, covering her standard apparel.
She looked up at BeastBoy. He too was still dressed in Mumbo’s magically summoned wedding attire. Where as everything else had reverted back, their outfits remained.
BeastBoy looked curiously at her, keying to the mildly alarmed look in her eyes. “Uh,” he started, “Problem?” The only time Raven had that look was when something was wrong or when he’d done something to light her fuse. Which in many ways was pretty much the same thing.
“Good deduction,” she dryly hissed, “Why are we still dressed like this?”
“Dunno’,” he shrugged. “Hocus pocus and presti-digi-whatzits is your department.”
She grumbled as if she had expected anything less. Raven rested her hand on her chin in deep thought. “Mumbo draws his magic from the hat. But his wand is how he focuses and directs it. We broke the wand so the energies that it focused all should have dispersed. So why did-”
“No problem. We just do it the hard way.” BeastBoy took firm hold of his left sleeve. With a swift pull he tore the sleeve off the tuxedo, ripping at the shoulder. The magic remnants of the outfit torn away, there beneath were BeastBoy’s gloved hand and uniform clothed arm. “See?”
Just seconds after forcibly removing the article of clothing, the torn seam gently glowed. From the shoulder of the tuxedo a new sleeve instantly stitched itself over BeastBoy’s arm, leaving him fully dressed as if nothing had happened.
BeastBoy tore away the sleeve again with more force and a more determined look on his face. And again, the sleeve grew back. He ripped it off again. It grew back. Every tear, rip, and shred was mended as fast as he could remove it. Over and over again he tried to remove part of the tuxedo. The opposite sleeve, the collar, the pants. But as fast as he exposed his uniform underneath, the tuxedo would regenerate over it.
BeastBoy found himself short of breath, panting heavily from his vigorous failed attempts. “Okay, Raven. I give. Go ahead.”
“Go ahead and what?” she said.
“Ya know, wiggle your fingers and just make this thing fly off or something and make me look totally stupid for trying?”
“There are two things wrong with that, BeastBoy. One, trying and making you look stupid are usually the natural order of things as they are the same. And two, this isn’t some spell or incantation I can just shoo away.”
BeastBoy gave a small frown. Was there ever going to be a situation that didn’t leave him open to ridicule?
“When I broke Mumbo’s wand, my powers must’ve disrupted the flow of magic feeding into these insipid outfits,” she looked down. “And now they seem to be drawing whatever trace amounts of my powers they can to sustain them.”
“So… these things are usin’ you like a battery?” he scratched his head.
“More or less,” she sighed. “At least until I can figure out a way to stop their flow of magic.”
Raven was doing her best to keep a cool head in the midst of this situation but it didn’t make her ensemble any easier to choke down. The fact that no one else was around to see this debacle was the only thing keeping her within rational boundaries of thought. Still, the sooner they were off the streets and out of sight, the better.
“There’s nothing we can do from here. Let’s get back to the tower,” Raven turned, embarrassingly lifting her gown just enough to comfortably walk.
BeastBoy turned to follow but looked back at Mumbo, still down for the count and neck deep in frosting. “What about him?”
“The others will no doubt be along shortly. All the more reason to leave unnoticed.” Raven shrunk her head between her shoulders in discomfort at the idea of Starfire or Cyborg stumbling upon either of them like this.
“Hmm,” he pondered. He shot upright with a smile, snapping his fingers. “Hang on a sec.”
BeastBoy dashed back towards Mumbo, busily arranging a proper farewell for the blue-faced villain and all the headaches he’d visited upon them today. Taking a step back to double check his work he gave a nod of approval before dashing back alongside Raven.
Curiously Raven tilted her head from BeastBoy back to their unconscious adversary. She gave a small smirk in appreciation. “Certainly know how to make the most of your surroundings.” And with that Raven encircled them both with a black sphere of energy sinking into the ground and transporting back to Titans Tower.
Mere moments after their departure it was then that Cyborg dropped onto the street with a clang as his thick metal feet struck the pavement, falling to one knee with his sonic cannon primed and ready. Starfire swooped down low just above having air lifted him to the scene, both hands emitting a dense flow of green energy to her palms. Lastly came the whiz of Robin’s grappling hook, snagging the side of a nearby ledge as he propelled himself through the air and touching down on the ground between his fellow Titans. Bow staff extended in one hand, bird-a-rang tight in the grip of the other.
“Alright, Mumbo,” came a firm ultimatum, “Surrender or we…”
Robin’s well-prepared address pandered off at the sight that awaited them. Mumbo was incapacitated in what appeared to be a mammoth sized snowball of white frosting with his head poking out and his fingers barely prying up through the thick goo. His top hat was compacted down onto his head, leaving just enough room for a white wedding veil to cover his face. Tied around his neck were several strings attached to tin cans that dangled against the street with a sign propped under his chin reading: ‘JUST BUSTED’.
It was a perplexing sight. The Titans were used to gift-wrapping the bad guys for the authorities. But it seemed someone had beat them to it.
The three heroes eased out of combat stance though still somewhat unsure of what to make of it.
“The magic Mumbo has been defeated,” Starfire smiled. “Yes?” she asked with a hint of uncertainty having never seen such a ritual of earthly incarceration such as this before.
“I would say so,” Cyborg conjectured as he converted his sonic cannon back to his standard arm function. He dipped his finger into the frosting before sampling a taste with a smack of his lips. “Though personally I prefer my bad guys with strawberry icing.”
Robin pulled his communicator from his utility belt. “I’ll contact the authorities.”
“Might be easier to call a caterer,” he joked concerning Mumbo’s abundance of cake themed decoration.
“Friends Raven and BeastBoy? They are absent over their victory?” Starfire asked in concern. “I pray they’re not injured most fatal.”
“I’m sure they’re fine, Star.” Robin assured. “If it were anything serious they would’ve notified us by now. Probably…‘complications’ from their encounter with Mumbo.” Robin gave a quick study of the amassed sugary slop that encased the villain in question.
“Probably a story too,” Cyborg inspected the veil atop Mumbo’s head as he was starting to come around. “Probably one we’re never gonna’ hear either.”
Raven and BeastBoy walked side by side down the halls of the tower, Raven occasionally lagging a few steps due to her still cumbersome blouse getting caught under her feet.
“You really think ya can get these things off?” BeastBoy tugged at his collar in equal discomfort.
“There’s bound to be a spell in one of my ancient texts that covers removing outer magic of foreign energies,” she sighed to herself but assured.
“Um, if you… say so,” he mentally stumbled with her subject classification. “Just outta’ curiosity, ya know… worst case scenario… what if there’s nothin’ in the books that can help us?”
Raven looked up at the ceiling in thought as they drew closer to her room. “Worst case, we wait for the magic to lose its compatible hold over whatever amount of energy my powers bonded with it.”
“Oh. Well, yeah. That makes sense,” he gave a nervous laugh as if not thrown by Raven’s superior knowledge and understanding. “The old waitin’ game. How long could that be?” BeastBoy gave a needed boost of optimism.
“Maybe hours. Maybe days,” she stared ahead in neutral dread. “Maybe longer.”
“Yeeesh,” BeastBoy rubbed the back of his neck in awkward fashion as if sorry that he’d asked. “That could seriously cramp my style. I mean I know they say, ‘dress for success’ and all. But I prefer somethin’ a little more casual. Plus I feel kinda’ silly in this monkey suit.”
“You look fine,” she said casually. “I’m the one who’s going to have to bar the door and observe isolation if it comes to that.” Raven would too. Not that the possibility was previously unheard of if she were in the right kind of mood. “Could this be any more degrading?”
“You don’t look so bad.”
Raven stopped, looking over her shoulder questionably.
BeastBoy froze. Nervously he took a step back, not sure if he’d said the right thing. “I-I mean… uh… y-you do. No! I mean, you never did before. Bu-But uh… you are kinda’… I dunno’… pretty?”
Raven just blinked, softly batting her eyelashes as she did. She turned towards him.
BeastBoy threw his arms over his head to block the corrective action he felt coming his way.
Raven reached out for him.
BeastBoy shut his eyes.
She slightly straightened his tie.
He looked down just as she delicately took hold of the tie in one hand, the knot in the other. Suddenly she pulled down with just enough force to tighten it around BeastBoy’s collar with a small jerk to the throat.
“Gghnk!” he gave a low gag.
“And you,” she began firmly. Raven gave a lopsided smile. “Could do a lot worse.”
BeastBoy retuned a small smile of his own. A little unclear if she was talking about his suit, his comment, or the idea of her as a bride. But he was already notorious for asking her to overly explain things that often resulted in him losing further understanding while sometimes getting a side order of open palm to the soft spot on his head and souring her mood. Best not to push it for now.
“We could always paint it blue,” he tried to lighten her burden in a different color in the event things didn’t play out to her liking.
She walked away towards the end of the hall, giving her half smile time to fade on its own in light of the sweet, albeit foolish, sentiment.
The door to Raven’s room opened just as BeastBoy caught up beside her. “Just try to keep quiet while I sift through the necessary books.”
“I could just wait out here… if ya want?” he asked with a lost look in his eye as if unsure of what help he could be.
Raven looked at him with the smallest sense of appreciation. He knew how she was most effectively in tune with magic in a solitary atmosphere. Especially where books and reading were concerned. “Better that I can keep you where I can keep an eye on you. Besides, if the others were to see you dressed like that, I can only surmise what they’d envision me to be in.”
He perked up just a bit, even if only for the fact that she was plainly saying he’d give away their predicament otherwise. “Good point,” he chuckled lightly at his own getup.
BeastBoy walk towards the open door, Raven gesturing him welcome to come inside. But he stopped short of the doorway, shrinking back as if reluctant to step inside.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Um… isn’t it like… a tradition or something to… carry you over the ‘threshold’?” he twiddled his thumbs. “Or something?”
“BeastBoy,” she began in her calmest, most patiently scolding voice, “May I remind you there is more than one way to ‘annul’ this arrangement?” Raven softly balled her fist as a mass of energy gathered to her hand.
“Eh-heh-heh,” he nervously laughed. “Just askin’.”
Raven walked inside, BeastBoy following close behind as the door swished shut behind them.