A full day

Summary:
September 01, 2014: In which Keith and Gar come across several people, and an invitation to the mixer is extended.

Little Italy / Titans Tower

A historical neighborhood in the Big Apple/ The Titans' Tower.


Characters

NPCs
None


Mood Music:
Breakfast at Tiffany's (Deep Blue)


Little Italy. It's one of those places that Keith relishes because of the appearance of a slower pace, the appeal to tradition, familiarity, and of course… the food.

This morning, he is not at the warehouse -though he should be-, he is leading Gar to a very specific place with the promise of breakfast. "You know, I worry about me staying at your dorm too often. Won't you get disciplined or kicked out?"
Looking at his green friend, he says, "You know, we should come here for the festival of San Genaro. My mom used to take me to it all of the time… it's happening towards the end of the month."

*

"I'm a grad student. We have slightly looser rules. Besides, it's not like the dorm is run by the University any more. How about you, though? Will your warehouse thing be trouble, or have they realized that this is a holiday and they'll have to pay you overtime on top of holiday pay?" Gar says, and yeah, it's probably that latter thing, because HR forbid anyone should be paid for their work.

He looks around at the neighborhood, grinning. He's wearing his 'not really a uniform' outfit today - a white athletic shirt with red side-panels, and white pants because he still can (it's Labor Day) without bringing the pain from the flocks of Mannered Crows who roost in the older and more elegant buildings of Manhattan. So Gar is an Italian flag today, somehow.

"Festival of San Gennaro? Sure, sounds good."

*

"I quit."

Keith smirks, waiting for Gar's reaction. A few people look in their direction because -hey- it's a green guy (that, of course, some recognize) and some Irish kid, apparently. "Wait till you get a load of this place," which is coming up down the block, "I found it once when in the middle of a patrol a few weeks ago."

*

"You did? Good. But," he stops and looks Keith in the eye, "what's your plan going forward? I've got no trouble with you staying in my room for a while, but you're absolutely right about them getting on my case if you live there for longer than a month."

The smell of food then interrupts Gar's train of thought like one of those side-rail things that happens when you're Amtrak and the slow freight train is using the regular line. Fooooood. Direct wire to attention center of brain.

*

"Gar, you know… how I feel about you, and believe me, I would never think of abusing your kindness like that." Keith says, giving Gar a one-armed hug squeeze. "I'll stay at the tower. I'm going to miss spending time with you, but sleeping over there for you is a definite 'nope' until it's fixed. Or the tower comes down."

Yeah, if the tower comes down? He'll figure it out.

"I know what you'll say— I don't really have a degree or marketable skills… which is true. I can always app to be a bouncer. I may be on the short side, but I've got the muscle… and nobody expects a little guy like me to bust their asses with martial arts, do they?"

The redhead grins, feeling the scent as well. "… they've got prosciutto e melone bites…"

*

"Yeah, I've been the short guy most of my life," Gar says, "I mean, I've finally gotten to 'not short' … but nobody expects the short guy to be able to just take someone out. You have to be an 800 pound gorilla for that. Which is why if I get into that kind of a fight, I turn into an 800 pound gorilla."

Bouncer. Yes. That's something Gar tried once. But they fired him for making the mayor's spoiled son wet his pants. Wah wah.

He doesn't actually slow down when there's food to be had and it smells like that, but if they don't get there soon, he's going to do that gorilla thing and pick Keith up and carry him.

*

Keith leads the way into the deli and waves at the people behind the counter. They don't recognize him, mostly because he's been here in his other persona. "If I can recommend anything, it's the zabaione, the sfogliatelle and the cheese-filled cornetti. Today's breakfast is my treat," he walks up to the counter to place his order. "Don't hold back, now."

*

Gar could eat like a bird. His entire bodyweight, four times a day, in some cases. But he's not going to become a plague of locusts, even if this place smells so delicious he could eat the whole thing. Hmm. Probably not a good idea skipping dinner last night, huh? Because popcorn and dreams of lemmings wasn't really that filling.

"Good thing it's after 11," Gar says. "Italian breakfasts are pretty much coffee and a slice of bread."

He looks at the menu, "Cornetti, e polenta con soppressata e funghi per favore," he says to the waiter. His accent is strange. French/Italian border maybe, if anyone can tell here.

*

Keith looks at Gar and places his own order. In english. Out of shame. "I didn't know you spoke Italian," he says with some admiration. He takes the number for the table and leads them to a cozy booth. "When did you pick that up?"

*

Gar hasn't thought about that for a while. He was kidnapped, as a lure, by Madame R. … She was killed, though. That was the first time he was enraged enough to turn into something really impossible, his first dragon. She and her daughter were both elastic shapeshifters, like Mom.

He stops staring into the distance, when he realizes that Keith is waiting for an answer.

"I was kind of kidnapped and held prisoner in a villa on the northwest border where all the languages mix. I think I was maybe fourteen. My adoptive parents came and got me," Gar says.

*

Keith looks down at his cappuccino for a few seconds and stirs it. "I'm sorry, that probably wasn't a very pleasant memory." He looks up at Gar and remembers hearing rumors about Gar's foster father swindling him, or something of that sort— who knows what you can trust in the gossip media? Still, Gar has lived and seen a lot of things.

"You and Raven go a way back, no? She doesn't seem to outright hate you." He smiles, softening the statement.

*

"She doesn't outright hate anyone," Gar says. "Except maybe her father, and that's because he's a reality-ravaging demon monster who wants to take over everything. Raven controls her emotions, because if she doesn't, then bad things happen. Some new-agey guy tried to get her to express her inner feelings. She finally did. I don't know whether he ever got back from where she sent him but I'm pretty sure she turned him into something that could live there. Maybe."

Oh, there's cappuccino! Gar sniffs, and cat-sneezes, and takes a sip from his cup. He considers that Keef is being nice about not pressing his feelings, and that the guy had some of his own special hell growing up. His stuff at the Tower. Hm.

"Hey. When we're done, we're going to go to the Tower and get all your stuff that you got from your Mom, and we're going to take it into town and get copies or whatever made. That way if the Tower has to go away and you lose it again, you'll still have it."

*

"… really?" Keith stops with the cup midway up to his chin. "… I didn't know. Oh damn. Poor Raven." he looks into his capuccino and plays back most of his interactions with Raven under the light of that new information, and looks positively remorseful.

He's going to be much nicer to her.

When Gar speaks up, Keith looks at him. "See… this is what I mean. You're a sweetheart, Gar. You're also totally nuts, but that's part of your charm." He ships his cappuccino, still looking at Gar "… that would be very kind of you, thank you."

*

Before Gar can respond to those kind words, the food arrives, and all other thought flees in terror at the wolf-growl coming from the Changeling's stomach. But he tries, very hard, not to change into something that can just lick the plate clean in one gulp. This is where Keith gets to see the reason why, when the Titans had picnics, Gar was off on his own blanket slightly to the side. The teeth. The chomping. The terrible, terrible noms. Well. Not so terrible maybe. He's not spilling anything, and he's not growling and hunching over his plate though he looks like he's thought of that.

*

Keith watches with a sort of fascinated semi-horror, and smirks, resting his chin on his hand while he watches. Occasionally he takes a bite from his food.

"You know… shameful confession here. On the first night of my 'change', I didn't know yet how to change back, and I was hungry. And I sort of… pigged out on Purina."

*

Conscious thought is possible? Yes. Yes, the cerebellum is back. Gar looks up and grins — not sheepishly, more wolfishly — at Keith.

"Sorry. Went too long without eating. And when I'm a cat, cat food is pretty tasty, but I hate the stuff with too much corn in it. They spray that stuff with fish extract. Makes it smell soooo good."

*

Keith laughs at this, almost spilling his cappuccino. "Oh god… it's one of the reasons why I buy salmon from time to time. Actually it's a little embarrassing… sometimes I crave the stuff in my *human* form. There's way too much cross-pollination between my identities."

~Awww, you're just saying that~

~Shut up~

"So I know how that feels. Though I still have not found myself playing with yarn. Yet."

*

"Yarn. I can stop any time I want," Gar says, the same way someone talks about smoking. He looks at his plate. Where did the food go? Drat. Hey, there was melon and prosciutto, he can get an appetizer plate of that too, right? Keith may regret not taking up bank-robbery if he's going to feed Gar very often.

"So, what do you want to do today, Brain? I mean, other than getting your stuff backed up?"

*

"I don't know… the first day of not having a job in four years. Of not having much of a life in four years…"

Keith watches Gar's hunger and smiles to himself. It'll be a bit of a financial hit- but he's staying in the Tower for now. So… if he can't splurge to treat the guy he likes, what's the point?

"I'd like to go and see something. A show. A movie. Or I dunno… it's been five years since I've been to the beach. That's five summers totally gone. That's depressing."

*

"That's too long to be eaten by wage slavery. But today is a terrible day for the beach. It's full of (shudder, Mel Blanc voice) PEOPLE!" Gar says, hamming it up at the end. He doesn't devour the appetizer. He's polite and shares.

"Well, I don't think The Notebook is showing anywhere, but we could see just about anything, right?"

Isn't that space movie showing somewhere? Gar pulls out the ubiquitous smart phone - yeah, he has one - and starts looking for movies.

*

"Yeah, probably should hit the beach after the holiday." Keith grins, grabbing an appetizer when Gar's hands are busy with the smartphone. "I'll see just about anything- good or bad. The company's what makes the day a good one." He sips his coffee. Hmm. Coffee. "Actually… I haven't been to the movies in about three years. Have I missed anything?"

"Uhm. Yeah, quite a bit. But stuff that's still showing?" Gar scrolls through the lists. "That movie about the kid and the dragon, he grows up a bit. You'd like him. Three, I think, Mickey Bay movies about giant robots exploding or something. Sharknado, that's not showing anywhere now… Geez. A remake of that turtle ninja movie with CGI done by someone who thinks turtles is code for gangsta rappers, a movie about Sleeping Beauty from the stepmom's POV, another movie about Snow White from the stepmom's POV, a Cinderella … you know there seems to be a theme here. A Hercules movie with the first two minutes being all flashy and heroic and then it's just 300 with more shit on it (monty python voice)… Huh. Biopic about Cantinflas. Some other stuff that should've gone straight to stream."

A green hand slips around the phone screen to snag another bit of the appetizer.

*

Keith reaches for some food while thinking about the choices and ends up grabbing Gar's finger. He smirks "Hey, how many calories are in one of these?" He swipes to the side to grab an appetizer before Gar takes it and pops it into his mouth. "The dragon movie sounds good. I'm not sure about the exploding stuff- I already get enough of that in real life. Then again, we're not the usual demographic for these sorts of things, are we?" He drains the last of his coffee, enjoying the warmth. Brain fuel. Cat fuel. All fuel.

*

"To be honest, I've been special effects often enough to hate badly done ones, so, yeah, let's avoid the Baying at the Moon," Gar says, pushing the last appetizer towards Keith. He swallows the last of his coffee-drink and snapshots the menu. For later. Or maybe ordering out.

*

Keith looks at the appetizer and winks. "You take it, I at least ate something last night. Wanna head over to the tower and get some of that stuff taken care of?" He takes his wallet out and stuffs several bills into the little leather folder. Plus tip, because even if you're poor, it's worth not having your coffee spit on.

*

Twist my arm! Gar takes the last bite, wipes his hands on the napkin, and stands up. The smrt cr is somewhere within reasonable walking and/or public transit distance, and thence, to Staten Island, and the Titans Tower … if it hasn't been eaten by a Grue.

#############LATER, AT THE TOWER#############

(Kate and Alexander, already at the tower)

"That's the one," Kate snaps her fingers to Alex. "You know, if we're all going to share the information around anyhow, we ought to have a system or something. Keep everyone in the loop before we end up tripping over each other." She tilts her head at the talk of demons and the like, arching a brow. "Sounds, uh. Interesting. But at least probably unconnected so far. Be good to keep it that way, though."

*

Starting to step away from the entrance, Alexander leaves his backpack there, though his sword is still slung over one shoulder. "That might be a good idea. But we're not what people would call, say, organized? We're more of a reactionary group. Kinda." Hands in his pockets he does seem a touch distracted, however, by the thoughts of the receng goings on. "I'll try and run down Raven and make sure she did something suitable with the bits and pieces."

There's a pause, then he cocks an eyebrow at her, "So, Ms. Bishop, are you hungry?"

*

A small (by definition) blue-and-white Smrt Cr drives up the narrow little spit onto the otherwise-island, and Gar Logan — usually green, and going by Changeling, not Beast Boy — gets out of the car. Today, he's red, and still goes by Changeling, not Beast Boy. He's got a passenger. There isn't room in the Smrt Cr for any food or anything but if Flash hasn't been here, then there might be some inside the tower.

He waves hello to the other two people here — at least Flash had these two on the last member directory update email. The two Zataras were a surprise.

*

And speaking of daemons…

Well, that's unfair to Gar. He's just red (for the moment, courtesy of the tower). Keith, though, is a ginger, therefore he's as close to a demon as you can get. Or so they say. In any case, the two of them walk up to the Tower (recognized, as they are, as residents by the security system). When the door opens, it's Keith's voice that is heard first.

"— not supposed to be out there with a sprained ankle, I know. But what, I'm supposed to drop off everything for five, ten days, more, just so it can heal? Crime doesn't get sprained ank—-"

"Oh, Hello." Keith says, "Well, Alexander, good to finally see you again. And I see you're acquainted with an acquaintance of an acquaintance of mine." He waves a little at Kate, grinning.

Gar will, of course, introduce himself. Keith's not going to rob his thunder. That's what Thor does.

*

"So start being less reactionary?" Kate suggests with a shrug. "I mean, I get you don't have a building full of operatives doing full-time research, but that doesn't mean you can't do some of your own." Others arrive, and she turns toward the door, setting her quiver down next to Alex's backpack. "Hey, hi," she waves to the others, tipping her chin at Keith. "Good to see you again."

*

Pausing on his way towards the kitchen, Alexander turns on one heel to look across the way at Vorpal. Dark crimson eyes rest on the man, then his gaze shifts in turn towards Gar. He gestures with a thumb at Kate, "Who her? She was just selling cookies when I showed up. I took the liberty to order you some thin mints." That having been said he cants his head to the side as he seems to gauge Changeling with that steady and almost malevolent gaze. "Is this one of the other new people?" Once again Alexander is winning friends and influencing people.

*

"This is Gar Logan. Ex-Beast Boy, Changeling. One of the -original heroes from back in the day. Respect, boy," Keith says with a grin and limps over to Kate, flashing her one of his grins. "I heard you had cookies. It is bad luck to lie to a Cheshire, you know."

*

Changeling looks back with his own steady gaze. He smiles, though, showing sharper than usual teeth, when he says, "Original TeenLeague of Titan Heroes. We dropped the 'Teen' part as soon as we could. None of the names stuck, anyway. Also nothing to do with the Titans that sword-guy here is connected with, except for Wonder Chick."

He did just refer to Alex in the third person in the same room. He'd go for cookies, but his instincts are not letting him relax yet.

*

"Talk to your boy about the lying," Kate grins at Keith, pointing her thumb at Alex. "I told him if he found any Girl Scouts with the balls to sell cookies here he ought to start recruiting them. Didn't do the scouts thing myself. Nice to meet you, Gar," she nods to Changeling, holding out a hand. "I'm Kate. Hawkeye."

*

For a time the young deity sort of just looks at Vorpal, one eyebrow cocked curiously. There is the faint feeling that much hangs on that moment, whether to allow the passing of casual comment… or to swear eternal VENDETTA. Luckily he lets the moment pass and ushers it on its way with the comment. "Hnh, didn't know there were Titans afore." Alexander continues on the way towards the kitchen area, his footsteps calm and easy. "Other than the first twelve of course."

*

In the kitchen there's the fwumpf of the refrigerator door as he mouths the word 'boy' to himself. A slow nod is given as he proceeds to rustle up a few bottles of water. One he claims for himself and then the rest of the six pack he thumps onto the kitchen island. He twists off the top of one bottle and then says, "So apparently in my absence you people have caused all sorts of problems."

*

"Kate, we could totally use a brigade of ninja Girl Scouts with exploding cookies. Good thinking!" He lets Gar introduce himself and his grin turns into a smirk as Alexander pipes up. "I'll remind you that Waller came here looking for you." Well, she had only mentioned -his- name. But it was as good a tease as any. "You could have, you know, asked Haephestus to build us an indestructible tower. But you didn't, so Wiccan did what he could. And that meant tearing a hole in reality, apparently. We're working on it. We've got…" he counts on his fingers, "Four magic people on the team. I'm sure something will come up… we don't have any archers, though," nudge nudge wink wink, leans on Gar with a cheeky grin.

*

"Wow, the whole 'attitude' thing, he has it," Gar says to nobody in particular. "They used to call us something different every time, Titans was just one of many names. We really hated Sidekicks Anonymous," he explains to Alexander. And… Kate has offered him a hand! No, don't bite it. Shake it. Shaaake, good boy.

Gar clasps his hand around Kate's hand, and his ears twitch a bit. He says, "Hawkeye? Isn't Hawkeye that purple arrow guy? Speedy talked about him once."

Gar isn't going to repeat the details because he'd probably get them wrong and at least two-thirds of it was critical analysis of their respective shooting methods. Yawn City for the Changeling. He only cares about that stuff if he's being an Archer Fish and that's really just accurate spitballs, at bugs yet.

"Huh? Keef, we do have an archer. The one whose hand I've been shaking for at least a half a minute, sorry," and Gar lets go.

*

"Hawkeye is also me," Kate assures Gar with a rueful smile. "There're two of us. And I'm not really on the team," she admits, moving over toward the counter to claim a bottle of water and hop up to sit on the edge. "I'm sort of a free agent at the moment. Call it commitment issues."

*

"With so many magical individuals that does put our sphere of influence distinctly in the mystical." Alexander walks back out of the kitchen area, occasionally taking a sip of water as he steps back amongst the other heroic sorts. He leans back against the couch nearby and tilts his head to the side curiously. "Might bode ill for this place as a focal point."

Another sip is taken, then Alexander looks to Vorpal, "I believe Waller was trying to make contact, perhaps hire me." He lifts the cool bottle to his brow as he closes his eyes. Opening them again he adds, "I plan to track her down. Had any progress on that front?"

*

Keith scowls. "… you know that I will actively campaign to have anyone who works for that woman kicked off the team, right?" Hatehatehate, Amanda Waller, Grrroowwwwrrrrr. "I've got people working on her." Clark Kent… who knew if he'd get anything? He was just a reporter who could get yanked by his boss if he dug in too deep. "So is Power Girl, said she knew an exceptional detective."

He limps over to the counter and leans, grinning at Kate. "Anything I can do to sweeten the pot? We watched the Notebook last night. Most of us. There was popcorn… and lemmings."

*

The thing behind the fridge with the legs and the eyebrows is terrified of Alexander. It's hunched into a little tiny ball of hairy fractal legs and eyes and is ready to run off into the fourth dimension at the first hint of him approaching. Not even the prospect of another feast of lemmings like last night's can bring the mouse-eating monster to peek out at the people.

Gar rubs his head, because he has a horrible suspicion. Didn't Speedy go to work for a government agency, one of the codename-not-acronym ones? There was something about that… but it was years ago. Would suck if he worked for the woman with the LAW rockets.

"Yeah, I fell asleep," Gar confesses. "Don't let me sleep very long here. Something about the place makes my dreams leak out into the real world."

*

"How many girls do you have on the team?" Kate arches a brow with a doubtful expression when Keith mentions watching The Notebook. "Please say it's a majority, because all of you sitting around watching The Notebook is not a selling point," she smirks, pausing at Gar's explanation. "You guys should probably look into the whole reality warping thing," she advises, waving a hand around vaguely. "It seems maybe important."

*

"Yes," Alexander gets a faint smile, though perhaps not for the expected reason. "She did blow up the tower, took away your mementos. Terrible crimes." The angelic features shift a touch wry as he smiles around the lip of the bottle, "Then again we do have our tower back, and I had been meaning to ask you, did you recover those mementos with Wiccan's spell? I'm curious how that worked."

A sip is taken then he swirls the bottle a bit, sloshing the remaining water back and forth. "But I don't think you should worry. I don't have an inclination to work with her despite anything she may offer. Mainly because the insult she offered was not too terribly excusable."

At Kate's words he answers, "I believe it's just Zatanna and Raven at the moment. Though for all I know we might have recruited all of the Jets' cheerleaders."

*

"Alas, only Raven and Zatanna, as Alexander said. But I'm totally Metro." Keith quips, and then looks at Alexander. "… we've spoken informally about it. The possibility is that the tower will have to come down again. If it does, the mementos are gone once more."

He looks at Gar, and gives him a smile. "Gar offered to come and help me copy whatever was copiable. That's the photos and the scrapbook. The other stuff.. well. At least there'll be something left."

*

"Yeah, and we're taking it off-site to copy it so that the copies won't get undone, too," Gar says. "Just in case. I'm kind of hoping I don't forget any of this, though. When I dreamed here, I met my twin, the red one that I look like right now. Different history and everything. It's kind of neat having a twin."

Gar doesn't say a word about what he thinks the real offense was that Waller committed, because 'hubris' in the classical sense - offering a deliberate offense to the gods of Olympus - isn't really considered a reasonable crime by anyone but them. Ah, the danger of having to take humanities courses to get your degree.

*

Kate takes a sip of water, looking between the various Titans. "At least you got a short-term fix, though. Waller, huh?" she asks, thinking it over. "And she came looking for the god of fear? That's weird and ominous, right?"

*

A small frown touches Alex's features and he looks askance towards Kate. "I believe my father may have worked with her at some point." He shakes his head and then waves a hand to the side, as if terribly mispleased by that possibility. "In any case, I'm going to go get cleaned up. See you people around." That having been said he pushes off of the couch.

*

"He's got such an A plus personality," Keith chuckles as Alex vamooses. "Yeah, I get what you're saying Kate. A CIA-Spook with ties to black ops looking for the god of fear… can't be good." Keith shakes his head. "I wish Billy could make *her* not exist anymore. But that'd be sort of murder without the mess, which is unethical. So… where have you been, and what were you up to with tall, blond and godly? Dish!" He says, reaching for a beer. "C'mon, gar, sit on the counter. All the cool kids are doing it."

*

Gar doesn't get to use his snarky line about Alex because he's already showering. Gar looks at the counter, shrugs, and turns into a cat so he'll fit up there with the others.

"Yeah, was it just coincidence, or is he after you? In which case, beware of ANYTHING, because, those Greek guys are masters of the stealthy impregnation trick." Golden showers, indeed.

*

"Yeah, that's not awkward at all," Kate smirks at Gar-cat, shaking her head. "No, he was just coming in the same time I came by to check in with you guys. I sort of got called away for the week, chasing down some terrorists. We were looking into the guys making that X-gene virus, and we just got back. Didn't want you all to think I asked for your help chasing down the folks who put a hit out on Barton just to disappear on you, though."

*

While Simon's heard the stories about strange things going on around the Titan's tower, he doesn't notice any himself as he just phased through the street to the front door. Is there a doorbell? He presses it. An intercom? "Hello the tower!" he calls. "Maybe I should have called first."

"Geez, we're popular today." Keith says and slides off the counter. "Comin— ow." He freezes. It had to happen sooner or later, treating the sprain as if it wasn't that big of a deal. "… on second thought… could you get it, Gar?" Ow. Ow. Ow.

*

Gar jumps down and walks up to the door, shifting to human at the last moment. He looks at the monitor. Blond, looks a bit like Alex but without the Aura, so probably not as annoying.

"Not sure if I know this guy, but he seems harmless enough," Gar says. He presses the talk button.

"Hi, welcome to Titans Tower Holiday Edition. How can we help you?"

He's got a finger poised over the 'come on in' button.

*

"Easy there." Kate reaches out quickly to catch Keith's arm when he hops down. She's all too used to certain people forgetting they've been injured. "This place is busy. You a superhero team, or is this a super secret dorm?"

*

"Hi. Can Vorpal come out and play?" Pause. "Kidding." Simon grins a bit at his own joke. "Seriously, is he around? This is Simon of the uh… X-Men." That's going to take so much getting used to. "I just wanted to see if you all were coming to the meet and greet? Party, I guess." Not like it's going to be all formal.

*

Keith winces and slowly climbs back up onto the counter, rubbing his ankle. "…sometimes it's hard to te— Simon? Ohcrap… one sec," Keith reaches into his pocket and takes out the little mirror. "We're All Mad Here!"

Flash of purple, and then there's a purple Cheshire sitting on the counter. With an ankle brace.

"Okay, let 'im in."

Because he was still uncertain as to whether or not he should keep his identity secret or not. And he found himself vacillating back and forth on that point- he had no problem doing it for Kate, but for some reason he wants to keep it secret for Simon. Until he feels otherwise and ends up exposing himself.

In some aspects, it sucked being a cat. Some decisions were treated like the pet door- in, out, in, out….

*

Changeling looks over at Keith, leaving the talk button on while he talks.

"Can Vorpal come out and play? You know a guy named Simon? He's here about some party … Are you living a secret life as a stripper?"

He pushes the 'come in' button and the door unlocks, revealing a red slightly furry, slighty fangy guy in a green and white shirt and white pants. He does the 'entrez vous' bow-and-wave for Simon.

"Come into our kitchen, said the Changeling to the guy."

*

"I'm pretty sure most strippers keep it- No, that's not true," Kate muses, mostly to herself. As the most normal looking person currently in the room, she leans over from her perch on the counter to wave toward the door. "Heya," she calls over. "And, uh, if you guys've got a party to go to, I can scram. I was really just here to touch base."

*

Simon looks Changeling over quick and nods. A feral. Cool. "Thanks." he says as he walks in. "No, it's not today. Didn't you all get the invite? The one that says the Titans should come meet the X-Men and hang out and get to know each other?" Good he decided to come and remind them.

*

"Relax, Katiebird, it's not till Thursday. You could be my date, if Gar refuses." He gives her a cheshire wink and a grin. Now that he's in his cheshire self, he oozes confidence and self-possession, even though his ankle is giving him a dull, throbbing pain. "Of course, I haven't asked him yet. I was going to surprise him by having Spider-Man write it in silk across the marquee at Ceasar's… but wouldn't you know it, he doesn't do that?" Vorpal shrugs and waves at Simon.

"Sir Simon, what a surprise to find you here. We got the invite, and I'm definitely coming. Just looking for a date, that's all. I don't know if Flash is showing up. But if he is… buy extra candy. A lot."

*

"OH NO, Miss Hawkeye, you are definitely invited if you want to come," Gar says. He got the invite, it's right there on his phone. But seriously, if she agrees to come? They'll be on her like SHARKS. At least she knows how to keep Flash down, which is a survival skill so vital that it should be automatic admission to the Titans whenever it's found.

Gar's ears perk forward a bit at the 'sirring' of Simon. He grins again, "Vorpal, if you keep this up I'll be carrying you there," and then he offers a hand to Simon to shake. "Good to meet you. Is 'Sir' a title, like you're a knight??"

*

"Honey, if I've got to wax, you've got to wax," Kate replies to Vorpal's offer of a date, grin flashing. She shifts a bit, pulling her legs up to sit cross-legged on the counter. If she doesn't live here, she's certainly made herself at home. "Did you just call me Miss Hawkeye?" she grins at Gar, holding back laughter.

*

"Candy? I was thinking… soda and beer? And nachos?" Then again, Roberto's probably having it catered. "But if you think we should have candy…" Maybe Flash maintains his powers by metabolizing sugar. Simon clasps the offered hand. "Uhh, no? I'm not a noble or anything." he admits with a shrug.

*

"Changeling, I will hold you to that," Vorpal says, grinning. Hey, maybe that was a joke-yes? It could count. He'd totally hold him to it. "Miss Hawkeye. I like it, sounds like something right out of Gone With The Wind. But daahling… you don't need to wax. Let's both go European!" the cheshire says, leaning on Kate.

"It'll be fabulous. We'll be in the avant-derriere-a cote-garde!"

*

"Flash is … a little like a hummingbird. Or a shrew. He has a very fast metabolism," Gar explains to Simon with a firm but claw-free handshake. "We buy those sick-sweet granola bars by the case-load, and that gross sugary generic soda, so he can keep himself from eating the furniture.

It's not that bad really. He hardly ever eats the furniture. Speaking of which, you want something? We have beverages, or snacks. I want an apple myself," and Gar steps over to the refrigerator. He knocks on it, and something hiss-gurgle, skitters behind it as Gar opens the door. There, in the fruit crisper, he finds an apple that looks like it might have been poisoned especially for Snow White. What the heck. If he ends up in an apple-coma, it will be worth it.

CRUNCH. … Hm. Good. No coma.

*

"Wow. Right to the point, huh?" Kate shakes her head to Vorpal with a good-natured roll of her eyes, waving to Simon. "Hi, I'm Kate. Nice to meet you, Simon," she calls over cheerfully. Definitely all mad here. Best to just pretend it's normal.

*

Simon looks from Vorpal to Changeling to the fridge, blinking once or twice. The strangeness outside the Tower obviously emanates form the inside. "Uh, no thanks. I'm good. Hi Kate. It's nice to meet you. All the Titans are welcome so you're definitely invited. We thought it would be a good idea for everyone to get to know each other. And Vorpal, you should definitely talk about that Waller woman you mentioned."

*

"What's the point of not going to the point, Kate? Life's too short— even when you've got nine of them." Vorpal's attention is caught by Simon, with the magic words 'Amanda Waller'. "Don't worry, Simon. I will spew venom about that harridan to anyone who wants to hear it, as well as the facts. Also, Kate is not a titan per se, she's a Titan-Sometimes. She says she has commitment issues." He smiles at her good-naturedly. "But maybe someday… someday she will walk down the aisle with us and tell us that this is the team she has been waiting for all of her life."

*

CRONCH. Gar is eating carefully, because he knows that Vorpal is going to say something that will make him laugh, see, there, he did it. No sudden inhale, no choking on magic apple. Good. He just nods sagely at Kate when she reacts to that idea.

*

"You guys are adorable. And if I sign on, I'm signing on to keep you from getting yourselves killed," Kate laughs at Vorpal's suggestion. "Did you even work out how you were doing leadership? Who's making the decisions around here? Who's paying the bills? How you're breaking things up?" Odd, she doesn't look like a responsible party, but there are all those words…

*

"Good. I mentioned her but it's best coming from someone who was there." Simon nods at what Kate says. "Those are all important things to take into account. I'm sure 'Berto could recommend an accountant if you need one."

*

"Great, we can compare accountants and stuff. We don't have a leader… or a structure. We're a bit of a mess actually, we need to sit down and vote for leaders and stuff. The tower is financed by the Swedish Government… though right now I am not sure if we are getting our power from THIS dimension or not. Funny, that." He slides off the counter, but this time there is a little knee cycle things, a construct of his, so he can rest his afflicted leg without causing more injury to himself. "And we -are- pretty adorable. Gar's cuter than me, but that's ok. I try harder."

*

"Back in the olden days," Gar says, "we let Robin worry about that stuff, in exchange for him bossing us around. When we bothered to listen."

No, seriously, the place was effectively cheaper than day-care and all of them supported the operation by way of voluntary personal contributions, and a secret but hefty underwrite from The Mentors … but Gar's not going to get into that yet because Flash hasn't really gotten the entire team together for that kind of a meeting and discussion. And he let the King of Sweden buy them a tower … ridiculous.

"We don't really have a single org chart yet," Gar says. "Probably should talk about that. Are we a guild like Fairy Tale, are we a team like the JLA, are we a service club like the Lions or the Odd Fellows?"

Gar is perfectly fine with Vorpal declaring Gar to be the Pretty One. Although he won't tell the Press, because they'll just go somewhere weird with it.

*

"You should probably figure that out," Kate points out. "And, you know. Some sort of mission. What is it you want to be? What do you stand for? Why should people call the Titans? How're you working with the cops, or the government, or any of the other teams out there?" She takes a sip of water, looking between the others. "I mean, you know. It's up to you guys. But if you don't want people to unilaterally shoot missiles at you, you should probably have a plan."

*

Once again, Simon looks from Vorpal to Gar and back before nodding along with the sensible one. "You should make Kate your leader." he jokes. Ok, not a joke. "She seems like she could do it." And corral all the rest of you into something approaching a team. "Cause, yeah. That all seems pretty important to figure out."

*

"Oh, I'm -all- for Kate being our fearless leader. She'd definitely enhance the class of this place along with Raven and Zatanna. Otherwise this could dangerously turn into Hero Bachelor Pad." Vorpal goes over to Gar in his little knee-cycle. He dismisses the construct when he stops, and looks at the apple.

"Gar, are you sure that's edible? Don't try to Snow White on me just because I asked you to be my date, geez. Give the guy a complex, willya?"

*

"Just getting all of us together to agree on anything at the same time would be an achievement unlock," Gar says. He raises an eyebrow. "Though, really, not having a plan is not grounds for people to shoot missiles at you. I think that's in the Constitution somewhere."

He takes another bite of the apple. It's real apple, not wax or anything. CHOMF chew chew.

"Its pretty awesome. Wanna bite?"

*

"If you think the people watching heroes are worried about the Constitution, that's mistake number one," Kate snorts softly to Gar, shaking her head. "They're scared, guys. I mean, don't get me wrong, I usually figure most people who're superheroes are doing it for the right reasons and trying to do it right. But when you're a completely ordinary person who's been trained to be extraordinarily dangerous and then you realize there are a bunch of people running around who wouldn't have to think twice about smearing you across the pavement? They get scared, guys. They should just get better," she shrugs with another sip of water. "But it's there."

*

"Just look at mutants." Simon points out, agreeing with Kate. "Vorpal says he isn't one but that isn't going to matter to the humans that are ready to hate him just because of how he looks. And when you factor in what he can do, the number of humans multiplies. We've been living with that for a long time and it's not good. We have to make sure we don't give them a reason to stat firing missiles at us." And you've already been down that road.

*

"They didn't have a reason to torpedo us in the first place. Apparently that bitch waller wanted to hire Phobos for something— but she did so by basically invading our Tower, trying to blast the doors open… and we repelled them because that is what you -do- when an armed and unidentified contingent is attacking your base. The stupid bitch obviously decided that reason was a commodity and that we should just let ourselves get attacked by someone we didn't know and whose intentions we ignored." The Cheshire shakes his head. "The attack was completely unwarranted. And it wasn't driven by fear. It was driven by someone who thinks they've got all the power in the world and no need to answer to consequences."

Serious cat is serious. Maybe even grumpy. He looks at the apple and *CHOMP* "… you're right, this is good. How on earth is this still fresh? I swear I saw Raven putting it in the crisper the first week we moved here…"

*

"Every time I go on the freeway I'm around a bunch of people who wouldn't have to think twice about smearing me across the pavement," Gar says. He drives that little tiny car, that barely holds him and Vorpal. He has little pity for the nanny-staters, because they're not even paying attention to the people who have the real power and who use it flagrantly. Oh yeah. We're talking the superpower of Money.

"I'm not a mutant either but I got egged by the Genetic Purity Brigade back in San Diego," Gar says. "But that's just regular people abusing free speech. I dealt with that, and nobody was hurt." Well. For most definitions of hurt. The smell didn't come out.

"Anyway, I don't think we should tolerate government agencies that break the law. Like Vorp said. There was no warrant, no arrest, just an attempt to kill people, and it was treated like a ten-second curiosity blurb in the media. Why should that stand?"

Gar takes another bite of the apple and gives the rest to Vorpal.

*

"That's sort of the point," Kate says to Vorpal and Gar. "If you're going to operate as a team of superheroes with a public base and a public face, then you need to make sure you've got your act together. Because technically? You don't use warrants, or arrests, or any of those formal, legal things either. And if you're outside the law, then no one inside the law is going to be super heartbroken when someone else breaks the law in your direction. It sucks, but it's the way those things go. Anyhow." She waves a hand hopping off the counter. "Like I said, I'm keeping my options open right now, but you guys should think about it."

*

"Now imagine what they might do if they're also afraid of you." Simon points out. Said imagining is the reason the Brotherhood exists. "You're right. They shouldn't be allowed to do that kind of thing. But she's right. The reality is that they can do that kind of thing. Or if not the government, then others." Might makes right, after all. Too often. "Anyway, I just wanted to see if you all were coming to the party."

*

"We'll be there, definitely," Vorpal takes the apple, and gives Gar a look. "I'll see if I can get Raven to come, but she's very private."

Especially with Gar's insight on why Raven is why it is, things make a lot more sense to Vorpal. "I'll bring her back cake if she doesn't want to come." He slips an arm around Gar's shoulder and stretches his leg, frowning at Kate and Simon. "You two heading out already? But we haven't even cracked open The Notebook!"

*

"Oh, definitely going to be there, unless something happens to stop it," Gar says. "And it doesn't have to be The Notebook, we could watch On Golden Pond."

That last is said with such wide-eyed dewy innocence that if anyone believes it, they deserve to.

*

"Aaaaand on that note, time for me to head out," Kate laughs, shaking her head at the Titans. "Text me, though? Be glad to meet up with some people at this party, if you wouldn't mind me being there. Sounds like the happening place to be for young heroes on the rise," she winks, leaning over to reclaim her quiver.

*

Simon just doesn't want to keep discussing hateful humans. But since the topic is turning… "Well, I don't have anywhere to be, so I suppose I could hang out a while. I don't know those movies though." Kate gets a smile. "Good. I'll see you there then. We won't mind if you're not a Titan yet."

*

"Gar and I actually are going to go to my room and get my things copied. Just in case the spell keeping this place up is dismissed and I lose all of my mementos again," Vorpal says. "A lot of dull photocopying will be involved. It's almost like On Golden Pond."

*

"Later, Hawkeye," Gar says, grinning. He looks over at Simon and almost… wait. That secret identity thing. Oops. He can't actually volunteer Simon to help with the hauling and copying, because Pictures and stuff. Hmm.

"We could meet up later if you don't have anything to do today, though. We were thinking about seeing movies. Vorp's been stuck in a Tenniel drawing and hasn't seen any of the new stuff," he offers.

*

Spell keeping this place up? Nah, not going to ask. "That's alright." Simon says. What's a Tenniel drawing? Not going to ask about that either. Strange people. "I'll see you at the party in a couple days. It was nice to meet you, Changeling." Giving them both a smile, he heads out.

*

Vorpal smiles and waves at both. "Take care, guys… it's a pleasure seeing you, and see you at the party!"

After their guests have left, Vorpal looks over at Changeling.

"So it's photocopying time, right?"

*

"Sure," Changeling says. He smirks to himself, and says, "Hold onto my back."

When Vorpal is holding on, Gar demonstrates that among the mythological beasties he can be, a centaur is one of them. Still has his shirt on though.

"This'll be easier on the ankle, I hope?"

Climbing stairs? Not a big deal for Cent-Gar. Fitting through the door to Vorpal's room? Mmmaybe a little harder. Hmm. Back to human, holding onto legs.

"Et, hup-la!" He carries the cat into the cat's own den.

*

"Well, now I can say I've been on a centaur. I think my memoir requirements are about fifty percent complete." Vorpal laughs. He slips his arms around Gar's neck as he's carried in. His room is… well, Raven's room is sparse. This one is like that, with Keith not having much to splurge on fancy decorations. Or computers. There are books in a bookshelf, several news clippings in a folder, and his desk is occupied by a scrapbook and a portrait of a woman with red hair and Keith's eyes. The physical resemblance is… actually, not there at all. Keith looks extremely different from her, and any perusal of the scrapbook will show a young man with red hair who, although attractive, does not look very much like the Keith Gar knows. The bed corner has some old posters pinned up, though most of them are faded with age.

By the bed, there is a small chest.

*

"That's your Mom?" Gar asks. His own parents, well, his birth parents, he doesn't look much like they had, any more … his adoptive parents are also very much different in looks of course.

"Should I be getting a box to move stuff with?"

*

Vorpal reaches down to lower himself from Gar's arms, setting down his good foot first. "Just a bit, first. There's something I have to do before we do anything." He smiles, making sure he keeps his weight on the good foot.

*

"Oh yeah?" Gar goes along with the ankle-defense gymnastics, slightly confused about what the 'something' is going to be.

*

"Well… the party is coming up, and I realized," he tilts his head, "Well… I figured I should slip in before anyone else gets ahead of me in the line."

It's funny, really- saying things is a lot easier when he's a cat. There's no doubt, no second-guessing. This must be how it was all the time for cats- they wanted something, they went for it. Sometimes they fell, or got crushed. But they went for it anyways.

"So I guess that what I'm saying is that, Garfield Logan, I'm requesting the pleasure of being your date for the party." He grins and tilts his head up a little with a slightly cocky gesture. "If I turn out to be too boring, you can always dump me for Kate and I'll sit with Raven in the corner watching General Hospital."

*

"Sure," Gar says. Well, that was hard work. Anticlimax, you are such a letdown.

"But neither of us is going to wear a corsage. You're too butch and I'd eat it."

*

Vorpal smirks. "Oh, that's ok. I've got this lovely little cocktail dress picked out for the occasion." Is he serious? It's hard to tell. "Oh, open the closet for me so I can change." He keeps his full length mirror in the closet… because sometimes he practices in his room. And he learned that lesson the hard way once.

*

"Oh, the symbolism," Gar snickers, opening the closet. Oh, huh, mirror here. He looks at his reflection. It's green. Dammit. Things are getting worse.

*

Vorpal frowns, noticing the reflection. "…Okay, we're getting the hell out of here." He stands up and hobbles over to the mirror, quickly saying "Don't Go Among Mad People" and then the mirror becomes… well, something else entirely through which he walks, and from which Keith comes out.

"Grab the scrapbook and the picture…" he opens the small chest and looks inside. Some necklaces. Odds and ends. "… nothing else can be photocopied."

He limps over to Gar and puts a hand up to his cheek, looking at him. "… I think it's a good idea if you don't spend too much time in the tower, Gar. I worry that it might do you permanent harm."

*

"I think it's something to do with where my power comes from," Gar says. "My twin and I draw on the same thing, centered in different … whatever, realities, probability offshoots. When I'm in the overlap area, it gets tilted. Doesn't feel like it's hurting or anything."

He looks at the stuff in the chest. "Hey. The most important ones. Take 'em with. We can store them in my dorm room, with the copies."

*

Keith looks at the chest, and reaches inside, taking out a locket, a ring and a music box. "These. These are the most important." He says, limping a little over to Gar. "Where should I put them, to carry?"

*

While Keith is digging in the chest, Gar is using his phone to take snapshots of the rest of the stuff in the room. Posters, book spines. He frowns. "I am not going to turn into a kangaroo so I have a pouch, because that doesn't work that way," he says to himself. He takes the items, and says, "Gather the stuff you want to scan and photocopy, I'm getting a bag from my room.

There's a messenger bag in Gar's room… and some clothes, and a spare uniform and a bunch of candy-bar wrappers for those little tiny candies. The clothes and spare uniform don't take much room and go into a canvas 'sea bag' - the messenger bag… that goes with him back across the hall to Keith's room. There. Flat thing for carrying flat stuff, little side pouch for the critical stuff that's going to need to be saved.

*

Keith grins at the messenger bag. "Is that your Gar purse?" he asks, teasing a little. "Hey, I could be a delivery boy, that's something I could do! Provided I don't get injured." He starts putting things where they should go.

*

"Messenger bag," Gar says. "I would never wear a purse this big, it's far too garish. And yeah, you could be a messenger, easy. You're compact, agile, you can rabbit-hole to get from A to B."

He starts looking under the bed and so forth. Hm. No miniature elephant poo under here. He took the note that the Pointless had left him back to his room, just for grins. It might be useful.

*

Keith looks at the book, and exhales a little. "… I liked those. Can you take a picture of them with your smartphone? Just so I have the titles and I can buy them back one by one?"

He walks over and runs his finger along some of the spines. The books aren't as important, they can always be bought back… but it's the memories some of them hold.

*

"Already got 'em, a few minutes ago," Gar says. "And in any case, before Wiccan takes the spell down we ARE taking all this stuff out of the building and out to the safe zone. Just in case."

Keith nods and looks at Gar over his shoulder. "You're going above and beyond, you know. You're a very kind guy." He gives him a smile and slips down to sit on the bed for a second, to keep weight off his foot. "It's… a nice change."

*

"Yeah," Gar semi-grunts, and it's not clear if it's agreeing about going above and beyond, or being a nice change. Gar … doesn't have any pictures of himself with his parents. What there were, the ones before his illness, were lost when his parents' research station was repeatedly looted, after their deaths. The ones that his first adoptive father, the one who saved his life, had in his keeping, were destroyed by the jealous witch doctor. His only keepsake of his parents is the color of his skin, and the power to change shape, and that was because of the shared work with the three.

"Hey, do we have everything? I'd like to get to the student copy center before it shuts down, today. It'll be swarmed tomorrow," Gar says.

*

Keith gets up slowly and looks around, and nods. "Just about. Everything ok?" he asks at the grunt. He's not going to prod if Gar brushes it off, though. But it doesn't hurt to ask. Everything's in the bags and the satchel, nothing much is out of place.

"Yeah. Yeah, it's good," Gar says, smiling. He isn't going to go downstairs as a centaur. Or a horse even. Not doing that again. He turns into a gorilla as he steps past the door-frame, and says, "Hang on!" Really, you think he'd just use the freight elevator.

"You're enjoying this too much, I get the impression." Keith says, hanging on for dear life. He won't admit it's fun- that would just encourage him

*

"Of course I am. If you hate it tell me to knock it off," Gar ooks, as he brachiates down the center of the stairwell to the main room, where he turns back into a centaur again. Because, now he has room and they need to get to the car, to get going, and he isn't going to let Keef keep re-injuring himself. If necessary he'll drag the catboy out to the wilds of Flushing, where a witch is rumored to dwell who can heal injuries fast.

*

"Heh, just don't knock me over!" Keith says, putting his arms around Cent-Gar's waist to steady himself as they gallop off. "… remind me to cook you dinner for all of this."


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