I might like you better if we slept together

Summary:
August 31st, 2014: Keith is not the master of deception he thought he was. Gar proceeds to inform him of this

ESU

Garfield Logan's dorm room at ESU


Characters

NPCs
None


Mood Music:
creep
i might like you better


Gar Logan has a room in the ESU graduate dorm. It's not a humongous room; none of them are. It's not a double-room, nor is it in one of the quad-systems with eight people sharing four bedrooms and a common area. No, it's a room with a window that opens onto a brick wall not far away, and a bathroom on one side, and only one bed, and a built-in desk and a built-in closet. Comfy. Really. You can turn around in it!

Gar has brought Keef here again because when he went back to take a nap, after only having been one slightly impossible thing nowhere near the Tower, he still woke up to find a marching band comprised of jellyfish and peanutbutter fish swimming around the air of his room. In formation. Musically. So. Sleeping Green tonight again.

Here's the thing- Keith snores. It's not an ear-destroying multi-decibel abomination— rather, it is very slight… were he not in human shape, it would be easy to mistake it for the half-purring sound sleeping cats make. The frequency of the sound has decreased over the past few hours, though, and his breathing occasionallly becomes more shallow as he approaches wakefulness.

In his mental landscape, though, he's looking at himself- or the purple version of himself, that is- and talking.

"A normal life, was it too much to ask for?"
"You know very well that would have ended that night." The Cheshire looking at him is very much his Vorpal shape… and, in some aspects, not quite. He's lounging in mid air. He cannot float, when he is Vorpal. "You were destined to die that night. Crushed to death by construction equipment. Normal, but short lived."
He sighs a little and looks around. The world around him is a mixture of colors and shapes that behave impossibly— the horizon curls upwards, and they're in the middle of an upside-down loop. But the road is also straight at the same time.
"So, then, what's it going to be? You got what you wanted- you got free from the mirror. Now we're both me. Us."
"— I don't know. That's the fun part." The feline grins. "But I wouldn't worry too much about this right now."
"Why?" Keith says, as a clock flies by him. It has three pairs of wings. "Why is that?"
"Because it's time to wake up."

The redhead frowns in his sleep and reaches out, grabbing a pillow. "…don't wanna…" he says out loud, halfway between wakefulness and sleep.

Pillow? No, there's only the one pillow. That other thing is Gar, who is a cat, sleeping on the other half of the bed. He opens his eyes, making a faint 'mmrrr?!' noise as he's grabbed for dire pillowish purposes, and puts one paw on Keef's nose, arm straight out. If you're going to drool on me do it while you're awake, please. Unfocused drool is far too doggish. Yes, that's exactly what that says.

Keith frowns.

~
"Who was that?"
"You know very well who it was." The Cheshire looks upwards and smirks. "Just in time."
"There's still something we need to-"
"There is nothing left for tonight. Ta." The cat tilts his head, and a massive Rabbit Hole opens up under Keith. He falls into it, and with him the entire dream collapses.

When Gar's paw touches his nose, green eyes snap open and he lets out a yelp- jumping a little. It is only a second or so before the panic of the dream melts away and reality asserts itself.
He's not in his room. He's in 'a' room.
Gar's room. Right.
And the green cat was-

"Hey… mornin'" he says, reaching over and taking Gar's paw and giving it a comical shake before reaching over and scratching his cheek. He looks at the window and groans. It's still dark. The clock says it's 4:45AM- too early and too late at the same time. "… did I wake you up?"

"Yes. Yes, you did. Why are you wanting to wake up this early again?"

Gar yawns and stretches very elaborately, and then leans forward to lick Keef on the nose, because it's there and it looks like it might taste like a gumdrop. But it doesn't. Alas.

The green cat waits for Keef to start getting up. He actually knows the answer - because evil warehouse job - and so he's going to do the opposite thing of that which cats normally do, which is to lure one to sleep more. Instead, Gar will do things like licking eyelids, if they dare close up again.

"I didn't. I've got the weekend off but—" he rubs his eyes "I've gotten into the habit of waking up at this hour. And my subconscious doesn't help…" he sits up for a second, and then plops backwards on his back, staring at the ceiling.
"I hate my job…" He reaches out and strokes Gar's head. "You can go back to your regular shape, though, and sleep if you want to. Otherwise I'm afraid I'm going to squish you. 'He' was getting snarky, and if I fall asleep again I might decide to deck him."
He grumbles.

~Oh yes. You and what army?~
~I don't need one.~
~Remind me again which one of us can make anvils and which one of us is squishy?~

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. It wasn't that Keith had multiple personalities inside of him— it was that he was the amalgam of two souls that now make up one soul. It is more like arguing with aspects of your own psyche.

"Dude, if I go back to my regular shape, we won't be sleeping," Gar says. He stalks down to the end of the bed where there are feet, and shifts back to himself, shirtless and in his usual boxer-briefs for sleeping (with the special tab in the back for the tail because he sometimes still grows a tail in his sleep.) He retrieves the one that was injured and starts gently massaging the ankle with flat-hand pressure.

"Because not enough room on that twin bed for two of us. I sprawl when I'm human. I practically do gymnastics."

~That's useful to know. Note: Get bigger bed.~
~Will you -shut up?-~
~What, are you going to pretend that you don't like him?~
~That's not any of your business..~
~It is my business, and you do like him.~
~… that doesn't matter. The guy's always gone for women.~
~He's in college. You could be his Experiment-~
~Anvil or no anvil, I am going to sock the fuck out of you next time I see you.~
~Promises, promises.~

Keith unghs for a second, but then relaxes into the massage.
"I'm sorry I'm taking up so much of your space…" he exhales, relaxing. The massage feels good- he's not accustomed to being touched much by others.
Unlike Gar, he sleeps in a light tank top and briefs. He realizes that the combo is black and purple— and that's not a combinationi that used to be in his wardrobe very often. Not before The Event. Since then, though, he has found himself purchasing purple or black clothes and puzzling over it afterwards. He used to favor red and blue quite a bit. Nowadays? Not so much.

It was bizarre. It's as if his personality had built an extension and forgotten to tell him about it.

"Thank you. For being so kind."

~And this is where you kiss him~
~I'm going to make a violin out of you.~
~My whiskers are shaking.~

Gar is almost laughing to himself. Something he hasn't told many people — he always has the sense of smell that one associates with cats or dogs. Unlike the Cait Sith with his stoppered-up nose, Gar can practically smell emotions in animal form … and a bit too often in human form.

He's not going to take advantage of this, though. He already made the mistakes. Letting his attraction for someone else fool him into thinking they felt the same way. That one was highschool. Not one but two girls using him for status, while thinking he was a freak. That stung. Then there was The Girl — the one who talked her way onto the Titans but (it turns out) was bugnuts crazy psycho. She was attracted to Gar, but she liked to kill everything she loved. Really. Like a spider. And the whole fake persona she put together that was just a little to sicky-syrupy goodness and light, totally had him (but not the others) fooled.

He listens carefully to the ankle joint, stopping JUST before the stretching sound makes the transition into an uncomfortable pop. The pop is not good. The pressure drives out fluid, the stretch lets healing blood flow through. He stops working on the ankle and moves onto the calf and shin muscles on the same leg. Those are going to be sore from the strange gait.

"It's nothing. Hey. Keef."

For a moment Gar hesitates, then he says, "You know, we don't know each other very well. So I'm trusting you a lot by sharing a sleeping place with you. The last person I shared a sleeping place with, tried to stick me in a hole in the ground and cave it in on me. I trust you not to do that. So you know, I'm not going to," he pauses as he's found a particularly rough trigger-point, "just be an asshole and kick you out for being who you are."

The massage 'is' good- feels amazing, really. He hadn't realized just how much tension he was putting on from the gait. The relief is relaxing, but then he is brought back to focus when Gar speaks to him.

And he pays attention, very closely, until Gar is done speaking.
There's more of the cat in Keith than most would expect— an observant person would notice that the young man's reflection shows him with slitted, emerald-green eyes, though to ordinary eyes he's got perfectly normal human green eyes. And sometimes when he walks there's a certain elegance that wasn't there six months ago that promises he could slink off into the shadows and disappear, if he so desired.

~Well, that's embarrassing. I guess you are right- he only fancies broads, eh?~
Keith's inner voice doesn't have an immediate retort for 'the other voice'.

However, there is a remarkable thing that happens to his eyes- the expressive spark that usually occupies them and which gives away his moods to anyone in a five mile radius becomes clouded- as if hidden by some nictitating membrane that has passed over his eye.

"I'll never do anything to hurt you," he says quietly, but the voice is very carefully balanced- it is frank, but it doesn't give away any more emotion than it is necessary to make its point.

The changers are slight, hard to perceive- though someone who knows cats might get the impression that he's seeing a cat who has taken a fall, and who is pretending the fall never happened, even if he will lick at a twisted foot when he's out of everyone's vsight. In other words- business as usual for cats.

He glances at the clock, ignoring the voice of the Cheshire inside his head- which is now trying to offer advice. "I probably should go and check on whether Kent has made any progress on that Waller thing." He says, looking to the side of the bed to see if he remembered to put his backpack there.

He'll have time to look at what was going on inside him later. Right now, all that mattered was not to let anything show.

"Keith. Vorpal. I'm saying I don't know you well enough … yet, and it goes both ways," Gar says, not letting go. He can smell the sharp tang of adrenaline, the sour whiff of something breaking.

"I want to be your friend. But I've met people — men and women both — who were terribly, terribly, dramatically in love with me, but they weren't. They were in love with Tork, or with some imaginary person who wasn't me. They were either crazy stalkers, which you aren't, or they broke when they found out I wasn't who they thought, and then they hated me."

He reaches up for the nearest shoulder. "I want you to know who I am before you trip over a rabbit hole. I don't want you to get hurt. If you end up hating me, or loving me, or just bored, it should be for who I really am, y'know? And the same goes for me. I get this great feeling around you, and we work well together, but it's too early to call it anything but a crush."

He waits to see if Keith is going to do anything. Please, don't let it be panic-and-run.

If Keith had claws, he'd be drawing them into the bed at this point to keep himself from bolting.
~We are better than that~
~… anywhere else but here, right now…~
~We. Are. Better. Than. That.~

There is silence for a few seconds, and the voice is heavy in his mind.
~He's taking a risk being frank with you. You should do as he does.~
~… I'm afraid~
~You're alive. You wanted an ordinary life? This is what it's like~

One breath. Exhale. Two breath. Exhale. Three breath-ho!

"Garfield," Keith says, his eyes finally focusing on him, but still guarded behind that invisible barrier. "… I understand that you've dealt with crazy. I hear you. I'd like to think I'm mature enough…"

~You're a purple cat in tights half of the time~

"Okay, scratch that." He's speaking at a measured pace, mostly to keep himself going and not simply going on his fight-or-flight instincts, "I hope that I am practical enough to go by the now rather than by the then. Yyyeah," he says hesitantly, "… I had a big crush on you when you were on that show. I don't think you're Tork, nor was I really expecting to find anything of him in you… outside of the changing shapes thing."

He sits up on the bed and moves his foot away from Gar, simply to keep himself from falling back on the bed, which would really ruin the dialogue. Especially if he conked himself agains the desk. "… I'm crushing on you- admitted. I guess you were onto me from day one. But anyways… You seem like a great guy, and you've been great with me. I'm getting to know you and I like how we work together, I find myself thinking of you at times."

Exhale. "I'm not jumping into anything— I'm just… not sure exactly how any of this goes. I know that I like ya and I want more. To know more. But I've never really…" he makes hand motions. Tries to articulate. "… anyone. So this time I've been debating with myself 'Do I tell him?' 'Do I let it be?'… and maybe I was hoping it could stay there, hidden." That's true, in a way. Faced with a choice like this, he had wanted to say it and not say it at the same time, avoid the potential rejection, while still holding on to hope. Contradictions.

"I just said a whole bunch of nothing, did I? I suck at this." Keith rubs his forehead, half wishing he had run. "… I do like you. I want to see how this develops… but I've never done anything like this before."

"See, we're learning stuff already. I … how can anyone as cute as you are, never have … Hfffff," Gar says. flailing a little from optimism to outright stymied. "SO yeah. I can tell you were crushing by your scent. It's pheromones and other things. And I'm flattered. But here's how I deal with this stuff."

He turns into a bright green HUGE liger and nudges Keith with his nose.

"People don't care," he says, "quite so much about showing physical affection to animals. I got so much scritching from Robin … he never even realized. I do want to see what happens, but I don't want to manipulate you or be a jerk or anything. So, if you see me being an especially large, fuzzy animal for no reason, it's because I'm feeling the need for touch, without strings attached. So if you want, I could use some scritches and stuff and we can maybe get another couple hours of sleep?"

Keith smiles a little and reaches over to stroke the liger's cheek. "… well, that's fine… but how on earth is your bed not collapsing?" Because, huge liger. "… you reinforced it, that makes sense." Of course. If Gar transformed in his sleep into anything heavier… well, he probably had done it in the past, and learned from it.

"I can tell you why I never… you know." He says, taking up Gar's invitation and scritching the Liger, "… that can be your bedtime story," he says, a slightly humorless smirk on his face.

The scritching!! Something that humans can only slightly appreciate, and usually only at the hands of their hair stylist. So purely delightful. Gar manages a broken purr at it, and uses one big paw to pull Keef closer for the story. NO, wait, that won't work. He'll get squshed.

(You think the bed is too small for two people? it really IS too small for a liger. Which is why Gar actually gets off it and lies on the floor. The thing is, ligers are big enough that he's basically extending the width of the bed, by lying next to it.)

"If you feel ok telling me. But you get to ask me for the next one," he says in that growl that's so much deeper than his usual voice.

"Well, I told you I wanted to know you better. This is my part. Once upon a time," he begins, looking at the ceiling while he lays down and scritches the liger absent-mindedly, his cheek against the green fur "There was a lady called Alanna O'Neil. She had red hair, green eyes and freckles, and she was raising a boy all by herself after his father had died in a plane crash. That boy was me, and I had red hair, green eyes and freckles. I also had very bad athsma, a propensity for reading a lot… especially science fiction. Anyone who knows anything about how kids work will have an idea of how popular that made me."

Keith chuckles, "I wasn't good at sports, I wasn't good at much anything that gave you status or standing in school… so I just stayed by myself. Girls didn't interest me- I knew that surprisingly early… but boys terrified me. I'd get picked on, bullied, you name it." His voice grows distant, imagining things in his mind now, "I had one friend— Julianna. She was weird like me, and she didn't mind who cared about it. All through middle school, she was my best friend ever. She was like a sister to me, really… and then one summer her dad got a promotion and they moved somewhere in California. Cerritos or something like that. I got a few letters, I sent a ton, and then she stopped writing at all." Keith shrugs a little.
"And that's when mom started to get sick. She didn't really tell me anything was wrong, but I could tell… and I thought to myself that highschool was coming, and that maybe all the stress from being picked on was getting to her. So I enrolled in swimming lessons, and martial arts. And I practiced. Sometimes I practiced almost to the edge of an athsma attack and I'd nebulize, wait, rest, and then try again… by the time highschool came around, I was strong, and my athsma had decreased. I also could beat the living crap out of any bully in the area. Black Tiger Fist. That isn't your regular Tai Chi."

Keith smirks. "So I sort of become the Bully's Bully. I made a point of hunting down bullies- the guys who made my life a miserable mess in middle school, and make *their* lives miserable. They stopped picking on the 'Nerds' and the 'Geeks'… and you'd think that would have gotten me some recognition. But… in truth, I had become so angry that almost everybody was afraid of me." He looks at the ceiling. "Mom died on my final year of highschool. Cancer. So I wasn't doing too well, certainly not enough to Win Friends and Influence People. And after I graduated, well…"

He scritches the liger's shoulder lightly, "I took a job and spent the next four years working at it. Lost the house when mom died, so I needed an apartment. Woke up early, went to bed late, was frugal so I didn't do much except eat and work. And the guys at the Warehouse weren't exactly putting personals up in the pink pages." He hehs at that. "And then I died."

"And then you were changed," li-Gar says. "I wish your Mom had told you what was up. It wasn't fair to either of you, but it's in the past. Thank you for telling me."

That's going to cause some strange dreams. Wonder if Red is going to be there. So far he's only been in the Tower, but then some bits of Gar's childhood are feeling fainter, like they've been picked up on silly putty.

"Please don't fight with yourself too hard in your sleep," Gar says, ears twitching. Because Someone has been SubVocalizing his dialogue with himself.

Keith ruffles Li-Gar's fur, "I'll try not to. He's been pushing me to tell you I liked you from day one. He's going to gloat. Gott, I hate it when he gloats." He shakes his head and smirks. "Don't let your dreams disturb you too much, okay? I'll make you breakfast to compensate for waking you up so early."

He yawns, one so wide it almost feels like he's going to dislocate his jaw.

"Goodnight, Gar. See you in a few hours," he says groggily.


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