Scars tell stories.
Raven knew Beast Boy had scars. They're hard to hide when you live together, and especially when you get injured in battle and require medical attention. But quick glances and medical situations didn’t hold a candle to this.
There he was, standing naked in her room. It wasn’t the first time, but before he would ensure all the lights were off before they climbed into bed together. To hide his body in the darkness. But Raven wanted to see them, to let him know he didn’t have to be ashamed of them.
Watching him strip was profoundly intimate. Not in a sexual way, but in a way that Raven could never fully describe. That he wasn’t revealing his body, he was bearing his soul to her. She held back a gasp as she looked over his body. His green skin was criss crossed with white lines, roughly and quick healed skin. Her heart broke for him and she shifted closer on the bed. Eyes darting over each area, until she saw his left arm. She took it gently in her hands and he fought her only for a moment. She pulled it close, and looked upon the thin white lines in the skin.
She could feel him on the verge of tears, and in her mind, she could see him, young, crying, razorblade still clenched in his hands. Over the years how they each grew more and more numerous, until finally a deeper longer one appeared, running perpendicular down his arm. Raven pressed her face to it, tears running down her own face, and she could smell blood, seeing a horrified Rita cradling a young green boy in the bathroom. She didn’t yet know him, their home only chosen by a boy as the place he wanted to die.
The word was soft, Raven almost swore it was in his mind, but she realized he said it outloud. She looked up at him, meeting his eyes. She shook her head, then brought her lips to the gash that would have, should have claimed his life, and kissed it.
“Survived,” she corrected.
She sat back, and caught sight of another row of scars, this time on the upper part of his arm. They were thicker, twelve in a row, with another two running across the top two sets of four. Tally Marks. 14. 14…
As Raven touched each one, she could see faces, people being torn apart by a child too young to do such acts, unless he had powers. Voices begging for mercy, before they were silenced. And a claw tipped finger carving a reminder of each one.
“Forced.” Raven reminded him. She glanced up at his face, but he was turned away from her.
Continuing on her journey, she saw a rope like scar that peered out over his shoulder blade. Following it lead her to the spiderweb that was his upper back. She let go of the gasp she had be holding and felt him slump over slightly, his body remembering the position he was forced into, waiting for the next lash to come.
Raven gently traced each one, his mind reliving the story, how he received it for refusing to kill this person, letting someone go, and so on. How most of them weren’t from failing to do a mission, but resisting what he was being forced to do. Each lash being one less tally mark.
The two lost track of time as Raven dug deeper into his past, reminding him with soft simple words what the scars really meant to who he was. A shotgun blast to the side fighting off a kidnapper. “Protector.” A knife wound in the shoulder. “Warrior.” Burn marks from running headfirst into a building to save the innocent inside. “Champion.”
Finally, Raven came to the wound dead center of his chest. Unlike the others, she needed no reminding of where it came from. A near perfect circle over his sternum, with the tell-tell signs of her magic, where she poured as much of herself as she could to save him. It was fitting it would sit as the centerpiece. Her fingers traced its edge, and she remembered that day.
It was cold, raining. The Titans were called to the scene of a robbery. The heavy downpour made it too easy for someone to sneak up on her, and she turned only to find a barrel of a gun pointed at her. There was a flash and she was thrown to the ground, feeling the weight of someone on top of her. Moving her head, she could see it was Beast Boy who had tackled her, and she sat up, rolling him off of her.
As his body limply moved, she was suddenly aware of the blood. Seeing the bullet hole, she immediately covered the wound with her hands, calling for help. As Starfire dealt with the shooter, Raven felt his blood seeping through her fingers as she tried her best to keep him alive until they could get the bullet out.
Suddenly she was in the medical wing of the tower, his shirt torn open as she crouched over him. The bullet had been dug out, and now she had to close the wound. Tears ran hot down her face as she let her magic flow into him. She could hear her own tears evaporating from her ducts as her eyes glowed white. The beeping of the heart monitor began to slow down as he began to stabilize, and Raven watched the hole close between her fingers.
Back in her room, she became aware of their new positions. Somehow he was laying on her bed, and she was over him, fingers still dancing around the wound that should have been for her. Their placement reminded her of that day, the deal she made with herself, that if he opened his eyes, she would tell him how she felt, how she loved him.
Their eyes met once more, and she spoke softly, pressing gently against the circle.
“How? How can you love me when I look like this?”
Raven wrapped her arms around him tighter, still feeling dazed from their prior actions. The question hung in the air for a few moments, until she spoke.
“Scars tell stories. Each one is something we have survived. You have survived so much more than any of us. And these scars tell that. Your legacy, of how a boy, who lost his family, was forced to be a monster, who never stopped fighting, against all odds. Lesser men would be broken beyond repair. But your scars show you have healed, that you are still here, still fighting. You see an ugly mess, but I see the most beautiful story ever told. The story of Garfield Logan, who against all odds is the sweetest most caring and loving man ever.”
Garfield rolled over, pulling her into a powerful embrace. She smiled softly, and whispered sweet words into his ears as they slowly drifted off to sleep.