It's one of those lazy, hazy summer days where she's staring at her book but not really processing the information, and he's replaying a game he's beaten a dozen times over just for the sake of killing time. They're on opposite sides of the couch, the gap between them having been once occupied by teammates that are now long gone and busied with other tasks. The departed friends left a strange silence hanging in their wake, and both of the remaining teens can feel its heavy presence. At this point, it's just a mental game to see who shatters the silence first.
Naturally, the rambunctious Beast Boy is quick to cave. He waits for a loading screen before asking, "Raven, what's our 'thing'?"
Raven doesn't lower the book from her face, despite the fact that she's stopped reading. He doesn't need to know that. "Pardon?"
"You know, like… our thing," he articulates slowly, as if that would make the statement any more sensible.
"That is not even close to making more sense than it did the first time you said it."
"Our…" The boy makes a frustrated noise at his own incoherence. "Well, like, you and Cyborg build stuff together and sometimes talk about… I don't even know, rocket science or whatever… You and Robin have your brooding and serious philosophical mumbo jumbo, and you and Starfire have your girl talks and meditation and shopping… So what about you and me? What's our thing?"
The question catches Raven off guard enough for her to finally put the novel down and shoot Beast Boy an inquisitive look. This sounds like something he's been considering for a while, and she wonders why it's even on his mind in the first place.
"We have bugging each other," she responds without much thought. It sounds like a joke, but it's really not that far from the truth. Not to say that she completely loathes his company—there's maybe even a very tiny, very well buried portion of her that's grown to enjoy his pestering in some capacity—but they're not exactly the most like-minded pair either.
Beast Boy looks highly unsatisfied with this answer, though. "I guess… That kind of sucks."
"Why do you say that?" Raven asks, genuinely curious.
"Well, I know I'm not exactly your favorite person, Raven, but I'd still like to think that we're friends!" He throws his hands into the air, exasperated but still maintaining a good-humored expression. "And last time I checked, friends generally do nice things together."
Raven concedes to this with a dainty folding of her hands. "That's generally the practice, yes. And we are… friends." Somehow, the admission embarrasses her a little, but she doesn't show any outward embarrassment.
"But I know you think video games are stupid, and I'm just not good with your heavy reading, and we're not really into the same genres of movies or shows…"
"Hmm." Raven thinks about their opposite preferences in entertainment and racks her mind for some sort of middle ground. What could satisfy her need for intellectual stimulation while still being fun enough to hold Beast Boy's attention?
And then inspiration strikes. "Do you know how to play chess?"
He's not great, but he's a decently good sport and he understands the basic concept, and that's a lot more than Raven can say for the others. Cyborg cheats and calculates the best moves. Robin's competitive streak gets the better of him, and he tends to get too worked up about winning. Starfire usually forgets how each piece moves, and on the good days where she does manage to remember, she asks Raven endlessly about why the queen is so much stronger than the king? Isn't the king considered more powerful in most earth cultures? Is America a matriarchy? Does America even have a queen? The questions would always go on, and Raven gave up on engaging Starfire in board games ages ago.
After five consecutive defeats, Beast Boy starts to put up more of a fight and even knocks out a handful of her pieces during the sixth game. She still beats him, but at the loss of a knight and both bishops. Not bad at all.
"With practice, I could see you getting good at this," Raven says with a warm tint to her voice that Beast Boy's not used to hearing aimed at him.
"You don't have to be nice, Raven," he chides. "I suck at chess."
"Yeah, you do," she easily admits, never one for sugarcoating anything. "But still, you'll get better. And it'll become more fun when you do."
Beast Boy nods, a hopeful grin spreading across his face. "It was kinda fun. It sort of reminds me of an obstacle course, except with less lasers. So, can this be our 'thing,' then?"
The empath rolls her eyes at his persistent insistence of them sharing a 'thing,' but the corner of her mouth quirks upwards just a bit. If anything, she's flattered that he wants so badly to share some common ground with her. "Sure, why not. Chess is our… 'thing.'"
At these words, Beast Boy brightens up like a Christmas tree, and it's almost… cute. Almost.
"So," she transitions, sweeping the pieces back into their box with a wave of magic. "While that was fun, it was… more geared towards my tastes. Do you want to pick a movie for us to watch or something?"
Beast Boy tilts his head, ears perked up eagerly but his eyebrows scrunched in perplexity. "Really?"
"It's only fair. Just don't pick a musical or something stupid," she amends with a brief nod. "We both sort of like horror movies, right? Just nothing too… intense."
She's hardly even finished with the sentence before Beast Boy practically rockets into the kitchen to pop popcorn and then back into the living room to put a DVD into the player. Raven shakes her head a little and joins him on the couch, steeling herself for whatever he picked. Bonding time or not, there's no way she's going to let herself grab onto his arm during the scary parts like those girls do in the stupid movies.