The tower's shadow

Summary:
September 2, 2014: In which several Titans gather in the tower. Strange things continue to happen. Introducing Bunker.

Titans Tower

The home of the Titans


Characters

NPCs
None


Mood Music:
(Keep Feeling) Fascination


Despite the fact that Classes are in full swing, for some reason Billy Kaplan, aka 'Wiccan', is out by the Tower. He's actually seated on the shore, not really caring that the sand might get in his clothes, looking up at the Tower. This way, he can see it, and the shore…and any other strange things that might be happening around both.

He does have a bookbag with him, with something he should be reading for school…and another book that doesn't look like anyone teaches formal courses in that particular subject. Cupped in his hands is an iced coffee and he does occasionally take sips as he ponders.

*

Coming up on the shore, another young man- older than Billy by a few years. He doesn't have to go to school. Or, rather, he would love to go to college, but lacks the means to do so and isn't quite sure that a loan on his soul is something he wants to go through yet.

Keith is dressed in red sweatpants and matching sweatshirt- what some would consider a deadly fashion crime due to the fact that he has rather distinctive red hair to match.

I mean, Beverly Sills cut up a costume for something like that.

Barefoot, he walks with a slight limp, a brace around his right ankle indicates a possible injury. Too poor to afford an iPod, he has -heavens to Murgatroyd- a discman, and he's singing quietly along—

~He's a very nice prince…

He's a prince who prepares…

Knowing this time I'd run from him

He spread pitch on the— Hey…~

The song is interrupted when he looks up from the sand to see the young man sitting there, looking at the tower. He takes a decisive-though limpy- set of steps towards the young man and says, though without hostility, "I'm sorry… but this is private property."

*

Sondheim doesn't pierce through his thoughts, but the voice calling out does. Blinking, Billy turns and looks over at the approaching…red…figure. Ouch. He can't quite hide a wince at the red on red, but he does get to his feet, "I know. I'm not trespassing…" and a hand waves and suddenly…there's Wiccan. Holding an iced coffee.

"Vorpal?" is asked even as he tilts his head. "Why are you wearing a red track suit?"

*

Keith blinks for a few seconds, and then his look of surprise is replaced by an grin. "Oh, it's you… I've never seen you in your civvies before."

As to the question, he looks a little pained when answering. "Er… they were on sale?" Much of his wardrobe has to do with not whether he likes it, but whether or not it is affordable.

*

"Sorry…I'm still not sure when I shouldn't be in…'uniform' and when I should be," Wiccan admits. At Vorpal's own answer he pauses a moment before pointing a finger at the sweatpants, "BeDarkGreen". Because it might work? And it's so much better than red!

*

"Oh, don't feel bad, I just am a little wary of people I don't know around the tower after the Wall incident." He pats Billy's shoulder, and then looks down at his suit, which is now a nice, dark forest green. "… wow. Man, you've got the best power ever. You and the Zataras. Actually, yours might be better, you don't have to learn to speak backwards!" A pause.

"… you know… how good are you at fixing sprains?"

*

"No, I understand. I'm just…trying to figure out how to fix this." Billy looks back to the Tower and then to Keith at the pat on his shoulder. "Have you noticed things going weird with you since I put it back up? I mean, I caught the Flash the other day…making a divot in the couch and eating pork rinds! And he had a gut! It was…just…so wrong." Billy shudders at that before his cheeks turn a little pink, "Thanks…I think. Although apparently I also mess things up a lot."

At the mention of sprains, he shrugs, "I don't know? I've never tried healing people. Not really. I mean…how did you get the sprain?"

*

"Well, Gar and I were trying to stop an assassination. A mob panicked and I sprained it while trying to dodge out of the way." He sits down on the sand and stretches his leg. "I just thought… well, it's going to take ten or fifteen days to get better, on average, and the mixer with the X-men is on Thursday… and maybe there's dancing? I don't know. But well… I'm going with Gar and I don't want to be a boring date…"

*

Keith looks up at the tower. "Yeah, weird things have happened. Gar can't sleep here… he's tried it, but his dreams keep becoming real in the tower. We've had to sleep in his dorm a couple of times because of that. It doesn't affect me very much- except that sometimes my powers fail to respond, and sometimes I can walk on the walls or the ceiling."

*

"Who's Gar?" Because Billy's sort of been on the outskirts of the Titans a bit as he doesn't live at the Tower. Hard to do that when your parents are paying for a dorm room in Metropolis. He sits back down, changing back into his civvies now that Keith has seen him that way. "You have a date to that thing with the X-Men?" It's said a little wistfully.

"Not sleeping isn't good…I guess…I don't know. I guess I messed up, but it doesn't seem to be too bad for most people."

*

"Garfield Logan… you know, Beast Boy from our precursor team? Goes by Changeling now." The name should click for a Geek like billy— after all, not only did Gar have a reputation for his heroics, but he also had the whole child actor thing.

"It's a date… yeah, but I'm not getting my hopes up too much. We're in the 'let's see where this goes' stage." he says with a bit of a smile. "Gar's always been with ladies… and I'm more or less prepared to see him go in the wake of some gorgeous and classy lady like Hawkeye."

"Don't be so hard on yourself," Keith says. "You're learning your craft, aren't you? Mistakes are bound to happen. And you achieved what you wanted- to bring the tower back. That in itself is quite a feat. I'm made of chaos magic, for example… but I can't cast spells, I can only do some things."

*

Billy Kaplan blinks a moment at Vorpal, "You're dating…Beast Boy?!?" It certainly does click. "That's amazing! I didn't know…" and then it's explained. "Ohhh. Wow. That's…but you've been sleeping together?" Wouldn't that sort of preclude at least some interest?

"I brought the Tower back, but I messed up a bunch of other stuff in the process. I'm just afraid that if I try to put it back, people will be mad at me for having to take it down." Again.

*

"Well… we can hold it up for a vote. Nobody can be upset with you if it was a group thing. Don't freak out, okay?" Keith grins and pats his shoulder. "You're a wizard. Wizards don't freak out. They make *other* people freak out."

Keith does the 'nonono' wave with his hands at the suggestion that he and Gar have been sleeping together. "Not like that! I mean, we HAVE been sleeping together in his dorm, but with our clothes on. And nothing outside of a scritch or two when he's a cat. He's… incredibly sweet, and I really like him. But I'm not sure…"

Unpleasant thought, so change of subject!

*

"Well… we can hold it up for a vote. Nobody can be upset with you if it was a group thing. Don't freak out, okay?" Keith grins and pats his shoulder. "You're a wizard. Wizards don't freak out. They make *other* people freak out."

"I'm a Mage. I don't think I'm a Wizard. Wizards…have book learning. They study this for years and even centuries. I'm more like…a D&D Sorcerer or something. I just have magic and no one will tell me how to use it. They just get pissed off when I use it."

*

There's a sigh then before Vorpal nods, "A vote would be good. I already talked some to Wally about it, but he was more concerned about the pork rinds." There's a wry twist of his lips. "Know anyone who might want a date?"

*

Keith strokes his chin for a second. "Well… depends if you are looking for a boy or a girl. Girl? I'd ask Zatanna, she is classy as hell. Boy? Her cousin Zachary Zatara is quite good looking. Has a bit of an ego… but then you need to if you're a performer. I wouldn't ask Raven- she's not a bad girl, but she's… under special circumstances. And I certainly would -not- ask Phobos. While he is a Greek god and they tend to swing any way the wind blows… you'd want to choke him by the end of the evening because of his insufferable arrogance. But you can't because he's immortal." Keith grins.

*

Billy Kaplan has only met one of them, "But Phobos is gorgeous," he points out a little wistfully. There's another sigh then, "I didn't get that he might be even remotely interested…I thought about asking, but it just seemed weird. Does Zachary like guys? I -guess- I could take a girl, just to not be by myself." He looks back at the Tower, "There are so many I haven't met! I guess I'll be trying to be back here more often…don't want to get left out of the fun, you know?"

*

"Well… I'm not sure which way Zach swings. You could ask Zatanna- being his cousin and all, she'd know. Phobos is… gorgeous, yes," Keith admits, recultantly. "But the personality… I'll put it this way: Garfield is very attractive, but there'd be nothing in the world that could get me to feel attracted to him if his personality were awful. That's pretty much how I feel about Phobos— he's good on the field, he's a good tactician and a valuable ally… but the snarkitysnark arrogance? Bleh." He sticks out his tongue. "Raven at least has a very good reason for being distant."

*

"I haven't met Raven…or Zach. Or Zatanna. It seems kind of weird for me to just go up to these people and say 'Hey, wanna be my date to this party even though I don't know you?'", Wiccan smiles some a little wryly. "I'm just not quite that brave yet. I mean, maybe if I meet them and something clicks…or I'll just go stag if I can go. It might be good for me." Since he hasn't been seen around Teddy of late.

*

"That's a good plan, too. I mean, if you look at it that way it opens you up to meeting guys on the other team who are going stag, too." Keith raises an eyebrow. "I mean, you're pretty adorable, get yourself some clothes that flatter you and just mingle, perhaps you'll meet Mr. Right. or at least Mr. X." Bad joke, Keith. Bad Joke.

*

"Says the guy wearing the sweatpants and sweatshirt," Billy points out, thinking that he's being clever and amusing. "Something tells me that Mr. X wouldn't be at a thing like this…or is he a Professor? I mean, if he is…that would just be weird. Like…your dad chaperoning."

*

Keith laughs, taking it in stride. "Wiccan, believe me, if I could afford to dress nicely, I would. As it is, though, I have to get what I can afford… which isn't much. Long story short- my mother died from a painful and lengthy disease, we lost the house and most of everything in it. For four years I've been working a back-breaking job just to even stay alive." He reaches and pats Billy's shoulder, "— I am not fashion-impaired, just monetarily-disadvantaged. As it is, I'm going to blow my last paycheck on getting something nice to wear for Thursday… 'cause I want to look good for Gar. Though it may be all for naught."

He leans back on his elbows, stretching his legs in the sand. "Chaperoning by dad… Oh god, there's a nightmare."

*

Billy Kaplan just blinks at the explanation and falls quiet for a moment. Finally, though, he gives a nod, "You're not going to blow it. I mean, not all of it. I'm going to help you." Apparently, it's decided. "I can magic it, but I think it would be much more fun to just go shopping, don't you think?"

The redhead looks at Billy. "It's ok to blow it, you know. I worked hard for it, and that money goes to something I really, really want. I'm living at the tower for the moment, so I can coast for a bit until my ankle is healed and I can apply for bouncer positions at clubs. I quit my warehouse job."

*

"Because why should you if you don't have to? I mean, I don't have infinite funds, but the least I can do is help after you gave me hints for potential dates. Besides, if you apply for bouncer positions, you'll need hot clothes for that too," Billy points out. Not that he's been to many clubs in his time.

*

"Because you're a college student, that's why, and if I know anything about that—- it's that the university looks for just about any excuse to make you pay. Or make your parents pay. Believe me, I've lived my life trying not to be a burden to anyone, the last thing I want to do is start now." Keith smiles and looks down at his sweatshirt. "I wonder…" He takes off the sweatshirt- revealing a muscular upper body… and something that is, to be frankly, a rather horrible scar across where his heart is. The best way to describe it, for anyone who has ever played Street Fighter 2, is to compare it to Sagat's chest scar that was allegedly given to him by Ryu's Dragon Paaauuunch.

Keith looks at the label of the sweatshirt and laughs. "Heh, the 'R' is now 'G'. You do think of everything when you sling those spells around, don't you?"

*

Billy Kaplan gives a low whistle as Vorpal pulls off his sweatshirt, "Maybe you -will- get those bouncer jobs…" but he does lean over to look at the tag as well. "I…didn't think of it? Sometimes magic does what it wants to. Haven't you ever seen 'The Last Unicorn'? Not that he's transformed unicorns, but magic can be fickle…and tricksy. "My parents won't blink if there's a charge from a clothing store."

*

"Seen it? Read the book. Multiple times. But you're more effective than Schmendrick, I'll give you that." Keith laughs the whistle off and puts the sweatshirt back on. He stands up, skirting the offer again, "I need to take a shower and get all of this sand off me. Wanna head back inside? After I shower I can cook us some dinner."

*

Billy Kaplan flicks his wrist to look at his watch, "I really should get back to campus…" but he really should hang out more with the Titans. Get to know them. "Or we can order pizza or something? Although…I guess delivery out here defeats the purpose. Can you cook?" Well, he did say he had to sort of fend for himself for a while.

*

"Like a god." Keith answers. "….granted, Haephestus. But still…" he's intentionally understating his skill, which isn't bad. Because the joke begs for it. "Maybe we can convince Raven to come out of her room and stare at us for a bit. Or maybe we'll catch Zatanna or one of the others in the commons. We need to get you socialized." He dusts himself off and starts walking up towards the tower.

*

"I'm plenty social, thank you! I can't help it that I'm also trying to maintain my secret identity!" Billy grabs his backpack and shoes before he darts up the path after Vorpal. "As long as we aren't having Pork Rinds. I draw the line somewhere…"

*

"Well… you could wear a mask," Keith grins and reaches over to beep Billy's nose. "Going out without a mask or something to alter your face sort of makes it hard to maintain a secret identity." He heads for the door and opens it, walking into the foyer after making sure he's not trailing sand. Or too much sand, at least.

"What are you going to college for, by the way?"

*

Billy Kaplan waves a hand in front of Vorpal, "These are not the droids you are looking for…" even as he grins. "I don't think most folks are looking at faces. Besides, the mask just doesn't go with the outfit." He's no longer wearing it, but he has the circlet…as if that's enough. He brushes sand off of his feet and pants legs, "Undeclared as of yet. I haven't really decided. Probably Humanities of some sort."

*

Gar wants to talk to his twin, again, but he can only do that in his sleep, at the Tower. So he's put together a bribe. He's stopped for chinese food and gotten enough to feed five Vorpals and one Gar. There is even moo goo gai pan, whatever that is. the Changeling isn't sure. He's not bothering with the car. He's flying in - a Pterodactyl can easily carry off that much food. Landing on the roof, he shifts back to himself, and everything is red again, yay. Back through the roof door and down inside, and "Oh, hi Wiccan, Keef. How's it? I have Chinese."

*

"What do you mean, aren't looking at faces? What are they looking at?" Keith heads for the kitchen. "Heh… 'What did you major in?' 'Curses, potions and hexes' 'Oh, the humanities!'" He opens the fridge, gauging to see what he can cook after quoting the Addams Family. Gar's voice makes him turn around, and his face lights up with a grin. "Gar! And food! Two sights for sore eyes and hungry stomachs. How was your day?"

*

Billy Kaplan grins, "I wish! I'm thinking about Anthropology and focusing on folklore and the like. I mean, it's about as close as someone can get without going to Hogwarts." He moves in to lean against one of the chairs, "I -wish- I could have gone to Hogwarts!" When Gar comes in, all red…and carrying Chinese food…and greeting him, his eyes widen and he moves towards Vorpal, "He knows who I am! Ohmygodohmygodohmygod…"

*

Keith grins, "Billy… breathe, you're going to turn purple and faint. It's a fetching color, mind you, but the fainting part is not that good." The young man leans on the counter and raises his right foot off the ground to keep pressure off his ankle. "… it just dawned on me… couldn't you sort of, you know, wish Hogwarts into being?"

Bad Idea Keith wants to know.

*

Gar looks at Wiccan curiously as he starts to unpack the chinese food.

"Keef? Is this the normal Wiccan reaction to meeting other team members? Because if hiding and hyperventilating is going to happen a lot, I'm pretty sure we'll need to get a doctor for when he meets Zatanna and Zachary."

Gar puts the little bag with fortune cookies on the counter separately, and offers a hand to Billy to shake.

"Hi, I'm Gar Logan, formerly known as Beast Boy but now awesomely known as Changeling. You may know me as the voice of Ratso Zoot on the cartoon Little Rats, and as (ugh) Officer Tork on Space Trek, 2022. Or, you know, that other thing of being one of the original Teen Hero League of Titans etc. etc. SO GLAD we had the 'Teen'-ectomy."

*

Billy Kaplan does take a few deep breaths, "I won't turn purple…" unless something weird happens to him as he spends more time in the Alternate Reality of the Tower. As Gar offers a hand, he gives it a shake, "I know who you are…I watched your TV show…followed you on the news and all. I can't believe we're on the same team!" Although, "Is there anything wrong with being in one's teens?"

Looking back at Vorpal, he opens his mouth, pauses, considers, "Ok. I maybe -could-…but if putting the Tower back caused all these problems, I probably shouldn't."

*

Keith laughs and limps over to Gar, ruffling his hair. "Nah, that's just the effect you have on people." When he saw Gar walk into the tower for the first time, he had A Moment. However, having some cat to him helped him not… well, pull a Billy.

Not to say that the fanboy-out wasn't adorable per se, but he was glad he was able to keep himself from going 'Oh my god do you know who you are?' on first sight. He grabs a cookie and hands it over to Billy with a smile. "I totally understand, don't worry," he tells him. Well… he -was- carrying a torch for Gar, however hopelessly he feared it would turn out to be.

"I haven't seen Zanna around today, she must be working on her show with Zachary."

*

"The problem with 'teen' is when people in the press feel compelled to point it out, in every single news article and blurb. Anyway, I apologize for the dialogue on that show, I … we had a problem on-set with the writers and a seemingly endless supply of drugs and alcohol. They called it the Studio System. Oh - by the way, Wiccan? I think we may end up having to ask you to undo the tower, because it's doing weird things to the neighbors. But don't be too quick, we have some stuff we need to do first. Like, get everyone's gear out."

He pulls bowls and plates - the dura-plastic ones, apparently WallyFlash's bought out a five-and-ten store for supplies.

"Food is food, gents," he says, and begins dishing rice into a bowl. Let us see if 'moo goo gai pan' is food for man and beast.

*

"I wasn't watching for the dialogue…" Billy murmurs before he steps out of the way of the two as they move around the kitchen that he doesn't know. "I know about the Tower. The thing is…when I get rid of it, I think the stuff goes too. Since it was originally destroyed and all…unless you brought new stuff in since then. I'm working on it." There's a little bit of a dejected sigh at that. He tried so hard.

At the spooning of rice, he looks at the spread, "Are you sure there's enough?"

*

"That was two of us," Keith adds to Billy's comment about the dialogue. He lets Billy serve himself first while he contemplates a few things.

"Wiccan, you did a fine job. You did not know this would happen, and you did your best. That's all anyone can ask for, you know? You're young and coming into your powers." He gives the younger hero a smile.

He had figured out that the things brought back by Billy's spell would fade away when they were dispelled. That meant that, despite Gar's best intentions, the physical things would vanish… but the photocopies, hopefully, would remain. He shoots the green-turned-red hero a smile for that.

Though if the tower must come down… he ponders. He -could- crash with Gar in his dorm room… but he doesn't want to. Well, he DOES want to -because it means spending that extra time with Gar, but ultimately he wants to show everyone that he can take care of himself, as he has done all of this time. He may have lost the apartment due to bad timing, and any means to have an apartment right now… but he could tough it out. There were shelters and hostels, and none of his teammates needed to know that. Especially Gar.

"Nobody here will condemn you or chastise you for what you did. If anything, you gave me a few more days to say goodbye to my mother's mementos, and that is very valuable to me."

*

"Hey, I'm not upset that you did it. I met my cross-universal twin brother, he's red but otherwise an awesome guy. This is actually his body I'm in here — I have a few scars and things that are different. Anyway I can only talk to him when I'm asleep though. And if you hadn't we'd never have found out about the mouse-eating fractaloculeggus who has moved in behind the fridge."

He looks at the food, and counts. "If Flash doesn't get at it, we should be good."

He tries a small amount of whatever that moo stuff is, and then adds a stir-fried veggie thing to his bowl. And an egg-roll.

*

Billy Kaplan takes a plate then and looks over the offerings. He'll take anything that doesn't look like it's pork. There's another pause as Vorpal mentions his mother's mementos and he looks down at his plate before murmuring, "I'll see what I can do." Maybe it won't all disappear? He's still working on it. "Even if I'm still learning and all…I mean, if I'm supposed to be some sort of hero-type, I should know more about what I'm doing, right?" He looks over to Gar, "When Flash is in here, he's a slob with a gut. That's just really wrong."

"What is it with hero-types being hard on themselves all the time?" Keith says, rolling his eyes. "Wiccan… c'mon. Don't make me slap you with a trout. In this tower, I'm sure I could do that."

Keith smirks, and then looks at Gar. "So you actually trade bodies? Kinky."

*

Gar had them label all the dishes, and all but one are free of pork (the one being barbecue pork). He's not fond of eating pigs. He's been pigs and they're too smart to be comfortable eating.

"I thought I told you that. Yeah. While I'm here, because it's mostly his universe we patched from, I guess, I'm in his body. My powers're still my own powers though."

*

Bunker keys the door and walks in, having levitated up on some glowing bricks to avoid the construction work he's been helping with lately. Now, though, the teen boy is hungry, and his stomach growls as he enters, the food smelling so wonderful….

*

Billy Kaplan eats politely, "Vorpal, you don't hear what some of the other mages are harassing me about. But thanks. I guess…I don't want to be someone 'in-training'. If I'm going to be here, I'd like to be -here-. Not a sidekick…although that sounds like sidekicks are bad. They're not. Just…ugh." He digs into his food and eats, merely listening now.

When someone else he doesn't recognize comes in, he blinks, "Hello?"

*

"Aw, c'mon Wiccan… I'm pretty much in-training myself. I've only been alive in this self for five months, so to speak. Gar and Flash are the ones with the most experience among us, and that's not a bad thing …" he pauses "I spy with my little eye… something purple that isn't me." Keith quips, taking a bite out of his bowl. He hasn't met all of the new recruits yet. "Who are you? Please don't be an enemy, I'm too hungry to fight!"

*

"Hey, I saw this guy in the latest email. You're Bunker, right?" Gar asks. Gar is, let it be noted by the newcomer, also called Changeling, and rather than being his usual lovely green, he's an equally lovely red color tonight, because it's Christmas… wait, no. He checks the food count. Yep. Still enough. NEVER under-purchase for the Titans.

*

Bunker is hesitant, for just a second, then he smiles and walks into the room like he owns it. "Yes, Bunker," the masked boy says as he smiles and waves at the others. "I wasn't sure if there had been an announcement, or.. anything," he says. "Hola! You are Changeling, yes, but I do not know the others?" he says. He speaks English very well, but with a definite and gentle Spanish accent.

*

"We got emails about people?" Billy asks before he pulls out his phone to check. Did he get any sort of email? Maybe it's not getting to him because of the Alternate Reality bubble? Yeah, that's it.

Of course, as he looks at his phone, he looks at the time, "Aw, crap! I have to get back…I have class tomorrow and I didn't read the chapters." He quickly stuffs a few more bits of food in his mouth before he stands and grabs his backpack, "Amazing to meet you, B…Changeling! Thanks for the talk, Vorpal…and hi! I'm Wiccan! Talk more later…" is waved to Bunker before he waves a hand and murmurs some words that sound like 'Backtothedorm!'.

Teleportation is an awesome thing.

*

Keith doesn't get any of the emails because… well, he has no computer. "Bunker, nice to meet you. I'm Vorpal… I don't look very Vorpaly right now because I'm in my not-so-secret identity. But I approve of your outfit." He grins. Gar would understand why, obviously. Bunker hasn't seen the Purple Wonder yet.

"You'll have to excuse Wiccan. He's in college and I think he's majoring in Stressing Out."

*

"Bye, Wic… Hm. He's got travel skills. I wish I could do that sometimes. Would save on gas," Changeling says. "Raven can do it but it's dark and slightly scary the way she does it."

He waves Bunker to the counter where a slightly-devastated repast waits — chinese food, several different kinds, including the ever-present rice, fortune cookies, eggrolls, and so forth. There's the mysterious Moo Goo Gai Pan (chicken and sliced mushrooms, but the name is so weird that Gar was afraid to open the box) and there's also a vegetable something and four or five other things. Gar is actually used to what happens when someone brings chinese food.

"So, welcome. Pull up a plate."

*

Bunker laughs. "Si, I understand exactly," he says as Billy vanishes. He walks up to the counter and takes a place. "And thank you for the invite; I'm starving," he says as he ladles out basil broccoli and tofu and some of the moo goo gai pan onto a plate, on top of a small mound of rice. He thinks about it for a second, then he undoes his cowl and stows it on the side of his belt. He smiles at the others, eyebrows flashing up. "So, I am Miguel," he says, before he digs in.

*

"Keith. O'Neil. Big surprise- the redhead's Irish." Keith smirks and thumbs at Gar, "And this is of course Garfield Logan, Changeling, TV star, supehero, and very colorful. Currently sporting the Donna Karan line of autumn skinwear. Notice how well it accents his dimples." He grins.

*

"This red-head isn't Irish. But I guess I'm a redskin. Currently. And no, that doesn't mean I play baseball," Gar says, "I object to any team being named after me without my permission."

Gar puts a very small piece of chicken and piece of broken fortune cookie down on a small plate and leaves them on the counter by the refrigerator, totally for no reason whatsoever. It's not like the Tower has a cat, other than Vorpal who already has food, and sometimes Gar who has food, so what the reason for this might OHMYGHOD there's a long, thin, hairy leg reaching from behind the fridge, forked into two and again into four with an eyeball at each of the forks, and it's picked up the chicken and the piece of fortune cookie and YANK! It's gone back behind the fridge. There's a faint snurfle chomp swallow and it's silent again.

Gar smiles to himself.

*

Bunker has the fork halfway to his mouth when he sees the … appendage …. take the plate by the fridge - he stumbles back from the counter, hands encased in glowing purple bricks. "Madre de Dios!!" he exclaims, pointing behind the fridge. "What was that?"

*

"Oh, some dimensional Octoleg-something-or-other. It's harmless, except to mice. We don't mind it. And I think Gar has made a pet out of it." Keith reaches for some water and sips slowly. He looks at Miguel… a rather handsome fellow. He remembers Billy, who wanted to go with someone to the mixer. "Saaaaay, Miguelito. Are you going to that mixer on Thursday with the X-Men?" he asks, in a totally innocent, dewy, almost Snow-Whiteish way.

*

Gar just smiles and eats. Vorpal is being a yenta. Well, let him yent.

*

Bunker calms quickly when he sees no-one else is concerned, and… well, while in Rome… He settles in a seat at the counter again, eating and chewing. The mixer comment gets a headshake. "No, I had no idea this was going on. I've never met any of the X-men," he says. "I'd like to go, though." He sees not the deep machinations of the Vorpal.

*

Oh, if he were in his Cheshire form, he would grin. As it is, he simply smiles. It is a friendly smile full of puppies and sunflowers. "Well, then you can totally come with us! I'm going with Gar— but you see… little Wiccan over there, the adorkably flustered young wizard, he's got no-one with whom he can go. He was planning on going stag because of this… but I wonder." He leans on the table, green eyes smiling. "Are you against going with a boy? Because, I mean, it's totally ok if that's not your thing. But I thought… you are new, he is relatively new…"

*

Gar watches that expression, and listens to the patter, and oh, if Keith were green and had just a head shaped slightly more like an onion, Gar would be hearing those dulcet tones in the voice of the Grinch convincing Cindy Lou Who to go back to bed because the christmas tree will be back in the morning. Not that he thinks the guy is evil or anything, no, this is just where his brain goes when he hears his new friend go into con-artiste mode. Surely, there cannot be anything at all dangerous in this action.

*

Bunker looks at where Wiccan was and blushes a little, shakes his head. "No, I'm totally cool with going with a boy. Especially someone as cute as he is," the youth says wit a twinkle in his eye. He thinks about how handsome the other boy was and he smiles slightly. "So what is a mixer like, here? Where I come from, it was a big party with dancing."

*

"I'm not sure if there'll be any dancing—" Keith says, "But if there is, I'll dance." Ankle be damned. A chance to dance with Gar? Like hell he was going to miss that! "But usually they range from subdued to pretty wild. I guess we'll see what's what when we go there. I hope it'll be lively. I'll have a chance to add to the dance lights." He grins, obviously pleased that his scheme has worked. "This is wonderful! I'll tell Wiccan he's got one heck of a cute guy for a date. He'll be thrilled! Just remember- he's a little shy, but I'm sure you'll be able to get him out of his shell."

He crosses his legs on the stool, an opportunity which he uses to rub his ankle. It's feeling much better than it was before. It won't be healed by the mixer… but maybe if he begs Zatanna, she could wiggle her nose and mend the sprain faster?

"Where is Back Home, Miguel?" Keith says, "Aaaand while we're at it, are you one of those fancy gymnast-martial artists, or do you have some sort of power?"

*

Gar can almost HEAR Vorpal begging Zatanna to heal his ankle by wiggling her nose, and being terribly terribly disappointed by its failure to do a damn thing because she didn't say it backwards. He watches with interest (and a mouthful of food) as Keith asks about powers. He saw the Building Block Gauntlets appear, but Keef must've been looking elsewhere.

*

Bunker doesn't really known the meaning of bashful, when it comes right down to it. He flashes a bright smile at Keith. "The village of El Chilar, Mexico," he says. "Small place, but very homey and nice."

Miquel steps back from the counter, and forms up his psionic bricks around his hands again. "I've had my powers ever since I got the first hairs on my chin," he says as the bricks float and shift around, then form into a chair for him to flop in to, legs splayed out. "I can make things out of these mental constructs, and do a bunch of stuff with the,…"

*

"Purple… and he makes constructs." Keith looks at Gar meaningfully, and then at Miguel. "Are you SURE you're not alternate-reality me?" He says, looking both thrilled and amused.

Because if there was another purple construct maker, that means they could train together and come up with gas strtegies for their powers combined, I AM CAPTAIN PLANE… wrong show.

"This is one hell of a coincidence."

*

"Yeah, but is it a Wiccan-level coincidence? I heard of Bunker from Flash outside of the tower," Gar points out. "Also, he's a guy who embodies the virtues of Minecraft, while you're the Cheshire Cat. The differences, man."

NOMF NOMF NOMF mmm rice.

*

Bunker looks thoughfull from where he's sprawled on the purple mound of squishy psi-constructs. "Hih. That would be very weird," he says. "I hope that's not the case, though. Though… that WOULD be very cool…" he muses, suddenly.

*

Keith slides off the stool, carefully, "Here, let me show you!"

The young man takes out a pocket mirror out of his sweatshirt and looks into it.

"We're All Mad Here!"

The clock strikes eight p.m. at that exact moment.

And then, something goes very, very wrong. The mirror falls from his unchanged hand and shatters on the floor, and his hands slowly come up to his chest.

"—ow!" he says quietly.

A dark red stain appears on his sweatshirt, right over his heart, and grows larger.

"—-OW!" Keith says, face contorting in pain. "What…"

*

Gar's food drops to the counter where he was standing and he's over next to Keith in two heartbeats, and he smells blood… his hands and arms bulk up huge and he grabs the sweat-shirt, tearing it down the middle, getting red all over his hands… there's a shape, a slot that's the negative of a giant shard of glass like a broken mirror where the blood isn't. Around that blank, the blood is welling.

"Keith! Vorpal! Dude, remember you're still here, no dying!" his voice is growlish and urgent.

*

Bunker jumps up and moves to Vorpal, the boy's previous construct vaporizing without his concentration - he sees the /slot/ and takes a chance, forming a purple construct in a narrow wedge shape and attempting to slot it into the sudden wound and block it, stop the blood flow. "Madre, please let this work.." he says, mentally shaping the construct in a manner he doesn't normally do…

*

Keith is a little out of it at first- it's strange, that it *feels* real, but at the same time he knows it isn't, that it can't be real. Then Gar is tearing his sweatshirt apart and Miguel is trying to seal the wound.

And he's dead. But he's alive at the same moment. He remember his watch striking eight o' clock as the shard went through his heart, he remembers dying— and then being born again.

And he takes a deep, shuddering breath and falls back against Gar.

"I'm okay! I'm okay!" he croaks out. The blood lingers for a little… but then it disappears off Gar's hand, and his vestments. The negative space disappears, and Bunker's construct slowly is pushed away as the memory of the injury disappears and then becomes…

Keith's torso is quite exemplary- it is a body honed by adherence to martial arts, it is strong and, to some, it might be pleasing. However, it has one glaring flaw— a horrific scar right above his heart, where Miguel's shape had previously been trying to plug the flow. But the scar is old, and the wound is old and closed.

"I'm fine…. I'm fine. Holy shit." Keith says, clinging to Gar but giving Miguel and Gar a weak smile. "… that was something I thought I wasn't going to go through again!" His voice is trying to be lighthearted, to ease his friend and new teammate's worries.

*

"That's some flashback there. I see why you wouldn't take off your shirt at my place," Gar says, gently stroking the outline of the scar. His giant beast arms and claws revert as he does so, back to ordinary Gar parts, factory issued. He looks at Keith, and says, "You know that cuckoo clock in the upstairs rec room? It went off just as you started bleeding. What time was it when you died?"

Not that it would seem like a logical thing to Changeling, but it fits the screenwriter tropes.

*

Bunker's glove hand spreads over Keith's chest, over the heart, making sure what his eyes are seeing is in fact truth; he presses there, and then slowly removes his hand. "Oh, whew," the unmasked boy sighs, shaking his head. "Keith, that was… it was very unusual.." he says. he looks ar Gar, eyes wide, and then he settles back into his constructed beanbag chair, baffled but glad that Keith is unhurt.

*

Keith smiles and squeezes Miguel's shoulder, and then looks up at Gar when he strokes his scar. "Eight O'Clock. But this hasn't happened before. Except now when I tried to transform."

His hand goes up to place it over Gar's. If only to take the attention away from the scar. "I guess that chaos magic interacting with chaos magic tends to be… unpredictable. I'll make sure not to transform in the tower anytime near that time…" he nods. There are tears down his face, but they were just from the pain, not because he is sad or crying.

"I'm sorry for scaring you both… and your food's all over the place. Geez, let me make you something to compensate."

*

"It's just a little rice, Keef, I already finished most of it," Gar says, half-convincingly. He takes his hand back, and turns into a dog and starts licking his spill off the counter. Humans have the 5-second rule. Dogs have the 5-minute head start.

*

Bunker shakes his head. "Nah, mi amigo, it is fine; I have eaten enough anyway," he says with a gleaming smile. "It is good enough to know my new friend is OK!" he says. He looks at the tender gestures between Gar and Keith, and an eyebrow raises. "You two, are together?" he asks, concerned.

*

Keith looks down at his shredded shirt. It's kinda breezy. "One sec, lemme get another shirt." Good cover for the fact that he's blushing. It's not a good look for a redhead, to blush. Still, the shirt is a perfectly good excuse to not answer that question himself-

"Be right back!"

And he moves down to his room. A little faster than he normally would move, with the sprain.

*

Gar Logan's FaceScroll Relationship Status: It's Complicated, with chance of showers and afternoon clearing.

"We like each other," Gar says. "but I'm thinking we have to get to know each other better. He's never been more than friends with anyone, and I was burned twice and had a series of stalkers back at San Diego when I was at school there, so now I'm seeing what happens after we know each other better."

True Romantic Confessions of a Serial Loser.

*

Bunker nods as he hears this. "Is terrible for both of you, that things like that happened…" he says quietly, reflecting that the quiet accepting village he grew up in would have treated therm better. Or so he could hope. "I am certain it will be so; you are very nice together."

*

Keith comes back wearing black pajamas, buttoning them up. They're actually rather nice, for Keith's budget. They look like silk- but they really aren't. But they are, however, an incredible life-like simulation.

"I hope you don't mind, but that turn has sort of tired me out. It's rather early but I think I'll head to bed." He smiles at Miguel and Gar, stopping at the counter an equal distance from both. "You'll head out to the campus, right? No need to stick around the haunted tower for you," he says to Gar, and to Miguel, "Room eight is free, Miguel, if you need to crash here. It's got a great view of the bay. All of them do."

Bunker nods as he stands, and pulls his cowl back into place before venturing out where non-Titans might see him. "Si, and muchas gracias," he smiles brightly. "I shall be certain to do so," he says to Keith, and waves a goodnight to them both. Then he takes the elevator down to the campus level.

*

Gar nods… he didn't drive, he flew under his own power. So he goes out, still a dog, and he trots across the bridge and into town until he feels the change in his fur texture, and he goes back a few yards, finds a tree, and turns into a cat to climb into it. A catnap to allow him to dream without the circuses that come in the tower.


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