It was rare for any of the Titans to get truly sick, aside from the sporadic occasions where someone was guilted into giving Starfire's cooking another go. Aside from his run-in with chicken pox, Robin got a cold once in a while, and sometimes in freak instances, Cyborg did too. No one really understood it, but perhaps due to his unusual DNA, Beast Boy was never sick for more than a day or two. Starfire was allergic to metallic chromium and Raven to chickens, but both were resistant to a huge majority of earthly illnesses—Starfire due to her insane Tamaranian immune system, and Raven due to her healing abilities.
So when Raven found herself clenching either side of a toilet bowl one evening, trying desperately to either keep down or expel the contents of her stomach, she was rather confused. Food poisoning from dinner was always a possibility, especially since no one in the tower was prudent enough to check expiration dates, but she seemed to be the only one suffering, so what, then…?
Finally, her stomach settled enough for her to stand up, albeit shakily. She bumped into a concerned Cyborg waiting outside of the bathroom, his brows twisted apologetically.
"You okay, Raven?" he asked, withdrawn and clearly blaming himself for her sickness since he had been the designated cook for the night.
"I'm fine. Don't worry about it," she replied, shrugging away from his supporting hands. His concern was appreciated, but she didn't want to worry him needlessly over something as insignificant as an upset tummy. "I guess my stomach's just weak today."
Except it wasn't just that one day. Five times in the next week, Raven thought for sure she was going to vomit, and two of the five times she actually did (though teleportation luckily saved her both times and got her to the toilet before the event). As hard as she tried to keep it a secret, she and Beast Boy shared a bathroom, and he found out about it soon enough. Ever a hypochondriac (or maybe just a drama queen), he made a huge fuss about it and told the rest of the team.
Robin did not receive this news well, just as Raven feared. She knew he was protective and just wanted to make sure everything was okay, but when he started interrogating about the symptoms, she feared her eyes would roll out of her head.
"You're sure it's nothing urgent?"
"I'm sure. It's probably just some food poisoning."
"You haven't eaten or drunk anything offered to you by a stranger, have you?"
"Do I look like a child to you?" The Mother Mae-Eye incident had taught her better, anyway.
"Nothing weird has entered your systems? No potential bug or chip or implant that could have been placed by a villain?"
"Robin, please. I think if this were anything serious, my body would start healing itself, and I've not been around any criminal that you guys weren't around. I appreciate the concern, but give it a rest."
Robin huffed, but yielded. Cyborg walked into the Ops room with the scans they'd taken earlier in the day and confirmed that nothing seemed off in Raven's systems. Starfire, who had been hovering about nervously throughout the whole ordeal, not entirely sure of what to suggest for an earthly affliction, suggested that Raven try to find a pattern.
"If it is the food poisoning, perhaps there is a specific food which is ailing you. Can you recall what you have eaten on all the days you had an unhappy stomach?"
Raven struggled to recall. Meals were never a large part of her day since she didn't get hungry all that often. Most of the time, she only took small pokes at whatever had been prepared for the sake of being polite. "I think the first time, it was… um…"
"I made pancakes with bacon and sausages," Cyborg supplied.
"Ah, right. And then after, I think maybe we ordered Chinese food? Chicken and noodles and rice and such… Then hamburgers, and then steak, and I don't remember what else."
While everyone else hummed in consideration, Beast Boy scoffed indignantly. "Why do we always get so much meat, anyway? It's a lot of work for me to make tofu substitutes all the time, you know…"
The empath opened her mouth to brush him off with a sarcastic quip, but then paused in realization. "Meat. We had meat everyday that I got sick."
"Can you get an allergy to meat?" Robin asked with his mouth quirked, skeptical.
Cyborg nodded, looking a bit horrified at the prospect. "Yeah, you can, actually. Some people's stomachs just don't digest meat well, and they develop allergies. And if it were an allergy, that would explain why Raven's magical healing voodoo isn't fixing it."
Raven grumbled slightly at the unserious description of her powers but ignored it in favor of the matter at hand. "Makes sense. So what do you suggest I do about it, then?"
"Quit eating meat," came the simple solution as Cyborg blanched at his own words.
Beast Boy, on the other hand, lit up like the Fourth of July.
"Dude! You and I can be vegetarian buddies!" he cheered, doing what Raven could only define as some kind of Vegetarian Initiation Dance. "Finally, someone I can share my awesome food with! Alright!"
"Look," she sighed, predicting trouble. "Just because I have to alter my diet a little, don't think I'm going to start eating—"
"I'm totally gonna make us tofu dogs! You're gonna love 'em, I just know it! Be right back!"
And with that he scampered off for the kitchen, leaving Raven with her mouth agape and full of interrupted objections. Cyborg cringed, Robin looked relieved that the sickness was nothing serious, and Starfire giggled a little.
Raven had a feeling she was in for a long week.
"Smells good, right?" Beast Boy prompted with bright eyes and a hopeful smile. Raven was certain that if he were to shift into a dog right at that moment, his tail would be wagging. He was way too eager to get her in on his vegan diet, and the high energy wafting off his person was kind of giving her a headache.
"Smells… unique," she droned, staring down at the fake hot dog with about the same amount of vigor one views a dead body with. "Really, though, Beast Boy, I don't need you to get me into tofu. Cutting meat out of my diet isn't that huge of a deal, I don't eat much anyway—"
"Come on," he pleaded in that stupid, tiny voice that was awfully difficult to say no to. "I went to all the trouble of making one for you! The least you can do is take a bite, right? And if you eat some other stuff besides meat for a while, and you don't get sick, it'll let you know for sure that it's meat makin' you puke? Right?"
Raven fidgeted. He was actually being reasonable. As distasteful as tofu had always looked and smelled to her, it was a little unfair of her to always reject his offers… She recalled the one time she made pancakes—if the strange, lumpy things she had produced could even really be called pancakes—and he and the others had eaten them without complaint (well, except for Cyborg). She owed him, just this once.
She sighed, resigning herself to whatever meat substitution-based fate this would send her to, and took a single, decisive bite from the tofu dog. Time stood still as she chewed the food slowly, assessing the flavors that met her taste buds, and Beast Boy stared with wrung hands. If she had formed an opinion yet, it didn't show on her face. The green boy consoled himself with the fact that at least she hadn't gagged or spat it out.
Finally, she swallowed, and her eyes flickered up to meet his. He looked like a man waiting for a fatal diagnosis from the doctor. She sighed again and said, "Needs ketchup."
Beast Boy was practically glowing. "Coming right up!"
After several days of submitting herself to Beast Boy's diet, it occurred to Raven that she had, in fact, stopped getting sick. But what surprised her more was that the meals he subjected her to were… growing on her. They weren't as gross as Cyborg always made them out to be; sometimes they were weird, but sometimes they were okay, and sometimes they were actually really good. Raven had always been more partial to a natural diet anyway, most of her personal snacks consisting of fruits, breads, and a good cup of tea, and shifting her tastes towards less processed food items was a lot easier than she thought it'd be.
Furthering her surprise was that Beast Boy was an extremely varied cook, having something new for them to eat everyday. Not everything he made came out perfectly, but he was a lot more accomplished in the endeavor than she could ever hope to be. It was shocking how many different ways one could prepare and dress up tofu, too. No wonder he swore by it so much.
At the end of the week, when they were sitting together and eating grilled tofu with a mediterranean salad for lunch, Raven said suddenly, "Thank you. For, uh, sharing your cooking with me this past week."
Beast Boy grinned that 10,000 kilowatt grin and nodded. "Sure, no problem! I can't believe I finally got someone into tofu. Thanks for giving it a chance."
"Yeah…" She shifted uncomfortably, poking a fork unnecessarily at her lunch. "Well, I don't think I'll be eating it anymore."
The changeling's expression seeped away and was replaced with one of confusion. "Huh? But, I thought you liked it…"
"I do. But…" Her lips pressed together in mild embarrassment. "I'd feel like a burden, having you make food for me all the time."
"What—no way! Dude, do you think I try to make you guys eat tofu all the time just for kicks? I love cooking! And I've always wanted someone I could share this stuff with." He gave her a genuine smile, and she couldn't help but attempt to emulate it. Beast Boy really was a nice guy. Aspiring towards something as selfless as providing meals for someone else was a rather sweet goal, if she was honest with herself. "Besides, isn't this supposed to be, like, every girl's dream? Having a handsome man cooking for them everyday?"
Any kind of sentimentality Raven may or may not have been feeling at the moment was promptly ground into powder and blown out the window. She gave him her trademark eyebrow quirk and snorted. "Handsome man, huh."
"Drop-dead gorgeous." He winked, and she groaned.
"Alright, alright. But at least eat your tofu before it gets cold."
Raven complied, snorting again and wondering when Beast Boy became so persuasive. Or maybe she was just becoming a pushover.