In the cool, gloomy privacy of her room, Raven moaned her pleasure.
It was late at night and the possibility that somebody could overhear her was remote, but she didn’t need the reassurance. She was beyond caring; the burst of sheer rapture flooding her made her shiver all over.
“Mmmmm!” she purred blissfully as her tongue worked it all around her mouth, making sure she could feel and taste every delicious part of it before she swallowed. It explored carefully all nooks and crannies, searching for any delightful molecule that may have remained undevoured.
A lazy, wanton smile curled her lips. There was still a bit more where that came from. The hand holding it moved closer to her face. She breathed deeply, her nostrils flaring, its intoxicating scent filling her lungs. She ghosted her lips over it, feeling its texture. Her tongue licked it with feathery touches, tasting it as she decided from which side to begin. Again she shivered, sweet anticipation sweeping through her.
Her mouth opened and took it in. Her small, sharp teeth bit down and she started chewing, ecstasy written all over her features.
Azar, how she loved muffins.
It was only recently that she became so infatuated. Azarathian food was bland, and her meals there were specifically chosen to be nothing but nutritious, without awakening any unwanted emotions and passions in her. So it was no wonder that as soon as she arrived on Earth she became addicted to pizza, and to waffles – Mmmm, waffles! – and to muffins.
Of course, that one time when she told Cyborg she loved waffles more than life itself she was being sarcastic. But she could not be completely certain it wasn’t true about muffins.
She kept her obsession hidden, and quite successfully. From all her friends, except one.
You see, the first time Cyborg made a batch she took her muffin to her room distractedly, unaware of the effect it would have on her. But her innocence was soon to be shattered as she sat in lotus position on her bed, opening the book she was reading and taking a small, absent-minded bite out of the sweet delicacy. A minute later, when her breath slowed down and the explosion of delight in her mouth and her mind settled, she immediately knew she needed more.
She floated quickly to the Ops room, finding it empty but for Beast Boy playing a game, his as-yet-untouched muffin resting on a small plate beside him. In any other occasion she would balk at talking to the insufferable green changeling, but the craving would not be denied.
“Beast Boy?” she asked, her voice squealing a little, the charming tone she attempted rusty from never being used before. She forced her eyes to look at him and away from the muffin.
He glanced at her, surprised. She was never one to start a normal conversation with him. The amazement made him forget for a moment about his game character, and it was promptly destroyed by a wave of mutant zombie alien demons.
He switched his attention to the game, annoyed. He paused it and turned back to her.
“Yo, Rae. Whassup?”
She ignored his use of the nickname that irritated her so much. “I ate my muffin, but I’m still a bit hungry. I was wondering if you could let me have yours?” she asked in her signature monotone, amazed at herself for being able to maintain such a composure. “I could get you something in return tomorrow.”
Now, it should be said that many people – Raven and his other friends included, with the possible exception of Cyborg – thought of Beast Boy not exactly as stupid, but definitely as not being the brightest bulb in the chandelier. But as he himself said once, he totally did have a brain; he just didn’t use it much.
For some reason, now it went into overdrive. Maybe it was because of Raven’s unusual behavior. Maybe it was the fact that she ignored the nickname he loved to tease her with. Maybe it was the almost undetectable stress his sensitive ears could discern in her otherwise flat, emotionless voice, or the slight acceleration of her breathing and her heartbeat. Maybe it was her scent, the one that always made him slightly dizzy and somehow drowned his rationality under a warm flood of wistful affection and desire. But no matter what it was, it was suddenly all clear to him. He smiled at her and waved his hand towards the delicious dessert.
“Be my guest. And don’t worry, you don’t owe me anything.”
She was so touched by his gesture that she made no effort to prevent a grateful smile from lighting up her face. Her cheeks colored with just a tiny touch of pink and her eyes looked down.
“Thank you, Gar.”
She grabbed the muffin and floated quickly to her room, too busy trying to unravel the sudden burst of warm emotions rushing through her to be able to detect how absolutely stunned she left him.
She… she smiled! I made her smile! And…
A painfully poignant surge of elation filled his soul to overflowing.
... she called me ‘Gar’...
It took him a few minutes to recover. A wry smile spread over his face. He knew he had been paid in full, both for the muffin and for his action. A strangely logical but deliriously happy part of his mind concluded with exultation that this was just the first transaction of many more to come.
Soon enough Raven realized he knew. He was fully aware of the depths of her muffinoholism, absolutely cognizant of the fact that he could demand anything – well, almost anything – from her as compensation for the cakes he so religiously kept for her every time Cyborg made a batch.
But he never demanded nothing. He would always wave away all her attempts at indemnifying him for his sacrifice with a small, happy smile on his lips and deep joy in his eyes and his aura. She realized that her smile was reward enough for him.
It made her think.
It made her look at him more carefully, search for hidden clues in his gestures and his reactions, dive inside him to reach the core of his feelings. It was not easy. His emotions were a jumble, a multicolored light-show of coruscating laser beams bouncing from a multitude of broken mirrors, clashing and interfering with each other to produce a rippling rainbow of blinding hues that left her breathless. But she persevered and was able to delve beneath it, to the dark, forbidding ocean of pain and sorrow that rolled with heavy grey swells under it all. It left her confused, feeling sorry for him, but knowing that if she ever so much as hinted at any pity it would tear him apart and drive him away forever.
It was around that time that one of those small but life-changing things happened; an insignificant detail that was forgotten by everyone just as soon as it occurred, but she caught it and it shook her to the core. It was an off-hand remark by Cyborg about Beast Boy asking him to make muffins. Nobody paid attention to it, not even Gar. But she rose from her lotus position and portaled into her room, her breath rasping in and out in choked gasps, her mind awhirl with utter chaos and her soul barely holding together against the assault of the new feelings that were overwhelming her.
All that time he knew how much she loved muffins. All that time he took it upon himself every so often to subtly remind Cyborg to make them, mindful of not overdoing it and ensuring that her longing would grow so she would enjoy them better. All that time he was thinking of her, doing it for her, silently and discreetly, without asking for or expecting nothing in return.
As small a gesture as it was, as minimal the effort it entailed, it shocked her profoundly and turned her world upside down.
Nobody had ever done anything like that for her.
Some people liked lighting up a cigarette after sex. Raven liked having a cup of tea after a muffin.
She floated into the Ops room, finding it empty, much to her surprise. Gar would usually stay until late playing a game, especially when Cyborg made muffins. He knew she would show up sooner or later to make her shy request, enjoying the game the two have been playing for months already. But he wasn’t there.
She felt the cold hand of disappointment grasp her heart, unsure if it was because Beast Boy was not there or because she would not get her second muffin. Or both. She floated over to the counter to put the kettle on and make some tea, and then she saw it.
Did he leave it there for her? Or did he just forget it?
Whatever the reason, it was sitting there on a small plate, calling out to her, making her arm lift and her hand move closer.
She clenched her fist and willed her arm down. It was his. She couldn’t just go ahead and steal it. For all the times he willingly gave her his muffin, it was always with his consent. She would never be so brazen as to steal something from him.
Maybe he won’t mind… Her hand lifted again.
‘Maybe’ doesn’t cut it, Missy. Only a loud and clear ‘yes’ from him. Her hand relaxed and went down.
It’s such a small thing… Her hand made another grasp at the tantalizing temptation on the plate.
But STEALING is not a small thing! Her hand was forced down yet again.
She looked closer at the source of her fascination. It was a blueberry muffin. The fact silenced and pushed away the opposing voice in her mind until it became no more than a distant, annoying drone.
If I could have just a small nibble… Something he wouldn’t even notice… The irresistible magnetism attracted her hand again, the fingers twitching. The warnings of her conscience were by now a faraway hum, unheard and unheeded. She picked up the muffin and studied it carefully, her mouth already watering.
She turned the small cake in her hand until she found a tiny protrusion in the roughly circular shape.
There. I could nip off that little bulge and he’ll never be the wiser.
She brought the treat closer to her mouth, her lips parting, her mind dizzy with anticipation. She took a tiny, itsy-bitsy, microscopic, invisible, undetectable bite out of it.
No more than a quarter.
Well, maybe a third.
She chewed carefully and thoroughly, her eyes closed in absolute bliss, making sure to release all of its wonderful flavor in her mouth before she swallowed it.
Mmmm. This must be what sex feels like.
She opened her eyes and looked at what remained. Uh-oh. I overdid it.
She realized it was done subconsciously, but with purpose. The large portion she bit off was impossible to hide; therefore it was logical that she should finish off the rest. She did a naughty, bad thing; she may as well get some satisfaction out of it.
She frowned a little. That was quite a sneaky way to influence herself. Who was behind it? Purple? Pink? Maybe Green? She would have to meditate on it later and try to find some answers. But for now…
She bit off another third of the delicious cake and chewed it with rapturous delight.
She whirled around to face him, the last remaining third of the muffin in her hand, an incriminating bulge in her cheek, her jaws still munching.
“Rae, what did you… Hey, that’s my – that was my muffin!” he said with a slight tone of indignation. She blushed and regarded him with pleading eyes, still chewing on the sweet tidbit, until she was finally able to swallow it. He stepped closer and frowned at her.
“You know I would’ve given it to you if you asked. Why did you have to do that?”
There was a curious mixture of emotions swirling in his soul. Annoyance, affection, resentment, concern. She looked down, feeling her cheeks burn. “I’m sorry, Gar. I just couldn’t resist…”
Suddenly she became aware of the remains of the muffin in her hand. A terrible fear overtook her, panic that it would be taken from her, terror that she would lose it. With a quick, thoughtless motion she stuffed the rest of the wonderful morsel into her mouth, her blush deepening alarmingly as she did so, but unable to stop herself. His frown hardened for a moment, then his face cleared and he chuckled. She could feel his anger dissipate, like mist under the sun. Somehow she sensed he could never be angry at her for long. His affection and care for her flooded into her soul, making her insides tingle.
Her face glowed crimson. She felt warmth and safety and calm fill her to overflowing as his undeniable love flowed into her. She suspected it for some time already; now she was certain. And it brought with it a flash of insight and understanding, a realization of her own feelings. She used it to cast a quick glance inside herself, again confirming what she suspected and coming to terms with it almost with relief. It brushed away the shyness and burned off the fear. She finally knew what she wanted and what she needed.
She swallowed the mouthful almost regretfully.
A spark of playfulness came from his soul and shone in his eyes. His eyes glowed as he stepped closer, taking her hands into his and lifting them to his chest. Their hearts thumped heavily in a synchronized rhythm from the emotions that were going through them, but somehow they felt no fear, no shyness, no doubts. They both knew this was bound to happen sooner or later, and the sooner it happened, the better.
“I’m angry at you, y’know,” he lied. “No more free muffins for you. From now on, they’re coming with a price.”
“And what would that price be?” she asked as she gazed, captivated, into those deep green wells where tiny golden fish flashed around playfully, threatening to become mischievous.
“I dunno. What can you offer?” he said hoarsely, almost lost in the bottomless amethyst of her eyes.
“Hmmm. How about this?” she said and pressed her lips gently on his own, his tender response making her burn inside.
“Nah,” he whispered. “I was thinking more of something like this.”
He kissed her earnestly. She trembled a little first, but his arms embraced her and she relaxed against him, her fingers going through his hair, pulling him even closer.
They parted, their breathing quick, still gazing into each other’s eyes.
“I could… live with… that price,” she spoke softly between heavy breaths. She lowered her head on his shoulder and sighed her contentment. His hand stroked her hair.
An idea flashed in her mind. She smothered a giggle, then looked up at him.
“Now that we’ve agreed on the price… How about I leave a down payment for the next batch?”
“Why not?” he smirked and his lips sought hers again.
As their kiss deepened, she lost all awareness of her surroundings except for the beating of his heart, the warmth of his arms, the softness of his lips and the ecstasy of his kiss. One final thought passed through her mind before her eyes closed fully and she gave herself up completely. Just as she suspected, his lips were sweeter and his kiss tastier than any muffin.