“I’m sorry I have to leave so soon,” Richard said as he packed an overnight bag.
“It’s okay,” Raven said, sitting on his bed, watching him pack.
“We just left Gotham yesterday, and now he’s calling me back,” Richard complained.
“You and I both know Bruce wouldn’t call you home unless it were indispensable,” Raven tried to soothe him. “It must be important.”
“Still, you and I just started dating, and…he assured me I would be back by New Year’s Eve.”
“It’s only five days,” Raven smirked, “I’m sure you’ll survive.”
“Well, that’s it,” Richard said as he zipped his bag. “I’ll call you when I get there. Feel free to stay in my room.” He leaned down and placed a soft, lingering kiss on his girlfriend’s lips, pulling away from her before he lost himself. Raven gave him a soft smile before bidding him goodbye. Raven stared at the door long after he’d gone. It was going to be a long five days.
New Year's Eve and Titan Tower was in full swing. Almost every Titan in the country was in attendance. Raven had been speaking with Starfire, but as soon as Roy entered the room, Starfire lost all interest in what Raven was saying. Raven looked at the amorous couple on the dance floor. Did they ever talk, or were their tongues always down each other’s throats? Judging from what she saw on the dance floor, Raven was leaning towards the latter. Starfire did mention extensive pillow-talks. Raven looked at the digital clock in the kitchen. It was almost midnight, and Richard still hadn’t shown. She tried contacting him earlier that day, but her calls went unanswered. Raven hoped he was safe. “Forty-five minutes to midnight, y’all!” Cyborg shouted. “Get ya’ cups ready!” Raven smiled slightly. She didn’t need anymore to drink. She did want to watch the fireworks. She teleported to Titans Tower. Even from this distance, Raven could hear the parties happening in the city. She leaned on the roof’s ledge. Her bleak mood lifted when she sensed a familiar presence. She whirled around to see him standing there with a large smile on his face. “You’re back,” she said, nearly running to him. Raven threw her arms around Richard’s neck before kissing him. “I’m so sorry I’m late,” he said. “I honestly didn’t expect the trip back to take so long,” he said, lifting her off her feet in a hug.
“It’s fine,” Raven smiled at him. She pulled away, her eyes and hands roaming his face. “Are you hurt anywhere?” Raven asked him, a hint of worry in her voice. Richard shook his head with a smile. It was then that Raven noticed the large gift bag in his hand. “What’s that?” she asked.
“Thirty minutes ‘til midnight!” they both heard Cyborg’s boisterous voice.
“It’s for you,” Richard held the bag out to her.
“You already got me a gift,” Raven took the gift with a smile. “A necklace.”
“Uh…my gift didn’t hold a candle to what you did for me,” Richard said, “hopefully, this makes up for my cliché gift.” Raven pulled a smaller gift from the large bag and began unwrapping it. “Cliché or not,” she said, “it was thought…ful.” Raven grew silent. It was a black 4x6 picture frame. She left it floating in the air with her powers as she dug through the large gift bag. There was an envelope containing a few 4x6 photos. Raven stared at the pictures in silence before opening the large gift. A black 16x20 painting with a picture of a young Arella reading. A young Raven had her head in Arella’s lap while Arella had a hand in Raven’s hair, seemingly stroking it. “I…” Raven didn’t know what to say. “We had to use a computer to age Arella up just a bit. The last known photo of your mother was taken when she was 16,” Richard motioned to the 4x6 frame still floating in mid-air. “But the others,” Raven picked up the manila envelope as Cyborg’s voice alerting everyone to a 2 – minute countdown rang out in the background. “Richard, you have my mom’s birth certificate. And how did you get the baby photos?”
“Arella's very first foster mom was very kind and loving. She took as many photos of Arella as a baby. A few of the photos Bruce, Alfred, and I found in yearbooks. We had to manipulate them and everything,” Richard rubbed the back of his head uneasily.
“Is that why you were gone? You were doing this…for me?” Raven’s eyes began to fill with emotion. Richard brought a hand to his girlfriend’s face and began caressing it. “You found – and you did this-“ Raven placed a hand over her mouth as her voice broke. Tears came to her eyes. “You don’t like it?” Richard asked.
“No, I love it,” Raven gasped as Cyborg screamed, “Fifteen minutes” in the background. “I never…this is amazing,” Raven said as she tried to blink away her tears. She couldn’t. “Thank you,” she nearly wept. “I don’t know how to thank you.” Richard simply lifted her chin and began kissing her softly. Raven pulled Richard even closer as she fisted his shirt. They began pulling at each other’s clothes, not caring that they were on the roof, out in the open. The knowledge that anyone of their teammates could happen upon them at any time only heightened the intensity and passion. “I can’t believe you did this for me,” Raven gasped as Richard rolled her underneath him.
“I can’t believe what you did for me,” Richard groaned as he pulled his fingers through her hair. His hand began exploring every curve of her body while staring into her eyes. “I think your gift beat mine,” Raven arched into Richard. Richard captured her lips in another soft kiss. Cyborg’s voice alerted the entire island, letting them know the new year would begin in 5 minutes. “I still think your gift is better,” Richard said as he rocked against her, into her.
“Agree to disagree,” Raven moaned as her hips bucked against his like they had a mind of their own. Richard only covered her mouth with his, his tongue sweeping inside, stroking her tongue before withdrawing as he began kissing down her jaw. His mouth rested on the crease in her shoulder as movements became more erratic. His mind barely registered the countdown happening inside as he caressed Raven’s thigh before resting it on his hip. “Ten! Nine! Eight! Seven!” A strange sensation began pooling in Raven’s abdomen. She knew what the feeling meant, but she still had yet to be accustomed to it. “Four! Three! Two! One! Happy New Year!” The shots from their teammates coupled with the fireworks above drowned out the sounds of their impassioned cries and moans.
A couple of hours later, after the fireworks had stopped and the party inside had died down, Richard and Raven remained wrapped in each other, lying naked on the roof, basking in the afterglow of their multiple couplings. Raven’s head rested on Richard’s chest, and she had one leg thrown between his two. “I think,” Richard began, “this had to be the best ending to a year. Hands down.” Raven buried her face in his chest, hiding her blush. “Seriously,” he continued, “how in the world are we going to top this?”
"We set the bar too high this year,” Raven looked up at him. Richard looked down at her, his thumb caressing the lower lip he loved so much. “I think we’ll come up with something,” Richard added before claiming her lips in another kiss. She had mentioned something about selling Azarathean jewels. Guess he’d better get started on hunting those down. It was going to be a great year.