Chapter 3Mature

Terra scrubbed her eyes with the heels of her palms and sighed deeply, rolling over in her bed. She reached blindly for her notepad and, still half asleep, scribbled on the page.

Finished, she dropped the pencil. She yawned widely and scratched her neck, wriggling out of bed and dragging her feet all the way to the bathroom.

Mornings...

Something flashed in her eyes and she groaned, scrunching her face up against the memory and the headache that would follow it.

//It was cold, and she shivered slightly. There was warmth at her side and she was comforted by the sight of purple and black and the sound of loud snoring.//

She opened her eyes and sighed, resting her forehead against the cool glass of the mirror.

Every day for the past week... she'd remembered her dreams. She'd had flashbacks. She'd smelled, seen, heard things she hadn't in years and she could pinpoint what they were. In other words, progress was definitely good - she'd even managed to jot a few things down just in case she forgot again. Her only problem was Beast Boy.

Her memory had almost jump started since he had rolled into town, and she wasn't entirely sure he didn't have anything to do with it.

She exhaled through her nose and shook her head to dispel the stray thoughts, turning to hop into the shower.

This would be her day off, but Marie would probably be AWOL again. At least this month's paycheck would be fatter than the customers, she supposed. Maybe she'd even have enough to get a better place, she thought, glaring up at the showerhead as the water took its sweet time warming up.

As expected, the phone was ringing as she turned the shower off.

 

 

It wasn't until he burst through the door, all grins and giggles, that Terra realised she'd been waiting for Beast Boy to show up for the whole of the shift.

"Veggie burger?" she guessed, wiping the countertop in front of his seat.

"And a radiator," he replied, shrugging off his sodden hoodie and shaking the rain from his hair, "Never seen so much August rain in my life, I swear. But hey," he glanced around at the diner, looking back at her with a cheeky smirk, "At least it hasn't deterred the business."

She rolled her eyes and hit him on the shoulder, though the smile was infectious, and went to get his order. He was right - it hadn't harmed business. Not that it had added to it, either.

Beast Boy stayed at the diner longer than his veggie burger was on the plate - not that anybody minded. He brought positivity in like the yellow walls were meant to. His jokes had provoked the other customers into sharing some of their own funny anecdotes. During one particularly rowdy explosion of laughter, a green hand reached across the short gap of the counter and gently wrapped around Terra's.

Her eyes flicked up to meet his and he smiled, squeezed her hand a little. She felt her face grow hot and she looked down, a shy smile twitching at her mouth.

Terra felt Beast Boy lean to her.

"You wanna go out later?" he said in her ear, mostly so he could be heard over the noise,

"Where?" she asked back. He shrugged.

"Anywhere!"

She laughed loudly and shook her head, drawing away from him.

"I have to get home-"

"Why?" he cut in, continuing when she didn't have an answer, "Come on, just a quick trip to the arcades?"

"The arcades?" she raised an eyebrow. He gave her a mock-pleading look and she sighed dramatically, "I guess I don't have anything else to do tonight."

 

 

"You're doing it all wrong, you gotta jump then kick."

"Well excuse me for being new to - AAH!" Terra pressed buttons wildly as the two-dimensional baddie attacked, "I suck!" she exclaimed, narrowly dodging being entirely KOed.

Beast Boy stepped up behind her, taking the joystick, "Press buttons when I say, ok?" he said, looking at the screen around her head, "Don't get all trigger-happy either, blondie."

Terra elbowed him lightly but did as told, pushing the sleeves of Beast Boy's hoodie up her arm. She'd finally relented and accepted it from him when his badgering had become unbearable.

She'd been cold, and the hoodie was so warm. And it smelled good. But it was mostly the badgering that did her in.

"Terra PRESS RED WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Beast Boy nearly screamed, shaking her with his spare arm, and she screamed too, flailing between the two buttons on the machine.

"I'M PRESSING RED I'M PRESSING RED!"

"IF THAT WAS RED I'D BE SHOOTING THE CRAP OUT OF THE GOO MONSTER!"

"AAAH!" Terra wailed, hammering on the red button. The enemy shot a blast at them that connected, and their character fell down.

 

The music cut, the screen turned black and flashed the words YOU LOSE at them. 

There was momentary silence.

Then, suddenly, as if there was nothing else they could do, Terra and Beast Boy both burst into hysterics, clinging to each other and the game machine to stop falling to the floor.

Terra wiped her eyes and turned around in the arc of Beast Boy's arms. She leaned up and circled her own arms around him in a hug. He was warm and strong and it just felt so natural that it took her more than a moment to realise what she was doing.

"Uh," she stepped back, hitting the machine, "s-sorry!"

He laughed, "It's fine, chica!" he leant down and waggled his eyebrows, "in fact, I kinda dig where this is going."

Terra laughed, shaking her head, "Cool it down, Romeo," she warned, but hugged him again anyway. There was something that just made her feel so... comfortable... protected. Somehow, feeling safe meant a lot to her now.

She felt his arms enclose her, pull her tighter to him, and she had to tiptoe to compensate. Her eyes closed and she breathed him in, pressing her forehead to his neck.

Someone behind Beast Boy cleared their throat and they separated as if electrocuted.

"Are you done with that game?" a little kid asked, not making eye contact and blushing awkwardly.

Terra's face burned with embarrassment and Beast Boy laughed sheepishly, taking her hand and pulling her away.

"Sure thing, dude, sorry about that!" he answered, pulling Terra along behind him. He lasted a grand total of five seconds before cracking up again while Terra remained mortified, a hand over her eyes.

"What are you, twelve?" Beast Boy asked her teasingly, draping his arm across her shoulders, "Come on, there's something you gotta try."

 

 

When Beast Boy presented Terra with a French fry dipped in chocolate milkshake and gestured for her to eat it, her initial thought was that he must have been joking.

"Go on, it's really good!"

Apparently he wasn't.

"I'm not eating that."

Beast Boy pulled a face at her and ate it himself. Swallowing, he continued.

"See?"

"See what? You don't like meat - I can't trust your food judgement." Terra retorted, smirking. Beast Boy rolled his eyes playfully.

"Fine." he replied petulantly, shoving a few more fries into his mouth "I guess I'll savour this delicacy on my own."

"You do that," Terra threw a chip at him, "I have to go soon, it's late."

Somehow, she knew without even having a conversation about it that Beast Boy would walk her back to her flat. He took her hand - it had almost become normal now - and was the warmth at her side for the entire journey.

Luckily for them, they hadn't had to walk too far and the rain had stopped just after Terra's shift at the diner had ended, so they were at least dry this time. Beast Boy put his arm across Terra's shoulders again when she started to shiver, and she put hers around his back in reciprocation. He was deliciously warm, even without his thick hoodie.

"This is me," she said, pushing open the outside door to her little building. She stopped at her door and turned to him, taking his hoodie off and giving it back. She shuddered at the sudden blast of cold air against her bare arms and stepped closer as if he were a radiator.

He put his hand on her cheek and she sighed, smiling. Waaaarm....

She looked up and her heart jumped in her chest at the intense expression on his face and instantly she felt herself drawn in.

Almost without thinking, rising up onto her tiptoes, Terra pressed her mouth to Beast Boy's in a chaste kiss. She sank back onto her feet, neither of them breaking eye contact for a millisecond.

Beast Boy's eyebrows drew together a little and he leant down to her, kissing her softly. She felt his arms circle her again, pulling her flush against him, and her hand went to the back of his neck and suddenly the kiss was deep and hard and passionate.

The door pressed at Terra's back and she pulled away a second, gasping for a breath before leaning back up to him for more. Their lips made a soft wet sound as they slid against each other and Terra breathed a hum into his mouth and his arms tightened around her. They parted again, for good this time, and panted harshly, foreheads together.

Almost reluctantly and with unreadable emotion in his eyes, Beast Boy relinquished his hold on Terra, letting her drop to her feet. He studied her for a moment, solemn.

Beast Boy then pecked her forehead and turned away without a word, heading down the stairs.

When the heavy outer door shut behind him, Terra groaned and her head fell back, hitting the door. She looked up at the ceiling as if it would give her answers and, when it didn't, turned into her apartment.

She ran her hands over her arms, deep in thought. Mechanically, she changed for bed, changing the bandage over her burn in the process. It had felt a lot better today... It hadn't restricted her walking, for one thing.

 

She yawned widely, suddenly tired. Crawling into her bed, the only thought that came into her mind was that the only bonus was that at least now she didn't feel cold.

 

 

The End

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