Sometimes Those Who Wonder(land) Are Lost

Summary:
September 08 2014: Vorpal has been missing since the previous night, so Changeling goes to look for him.

South Gotham

The rooftops across South Gotham.


Characters

NPCs

  • Danny The Street
  • DTS inhabitants

Mood Music:
I see You


Gar has missed another class since morning, but he's not going to worry about that so much. As a pigeon he has to do too much work to stay in flight, so he shifted into a seagull, since they glide better, and has been sweeping South Gotham for some time, looking for signs of the kind of chaos that Dick's query to his friends in the GCPD returned. Yep. There's Anvil Sign here. One car with a rectangular hole in the top, next to a mysterious dent in the blacktop, and over there, a building… now to search more effectively. There was an ad-hoc musical, so that's something like a flash mob, and Gar decides to land on a roof and check out what he can find online. He picks one of the medium-height roofs, minimal anvil damage since that might be in a ring around the area. It's near but not quite AT the center of the circle.

Standing up as a human, he pulls out his smart phone and starts looking for recent indicators of flash mob in Gotham, and finds one. Yeah, this is the right neighborhood — even Gotham is on G-Maps.

"OK, I know this is the right area. Now all I have to do is find one injured, probably deranged chaos kitty," Gar mutters.

Disorientation. That's the closest way to put it— the LSD dosage was close to wearing off by this point… but what was working inside Vorpal has more to do with what that drug opened up than its lingering effects. Before that night, therre was a very specific hierarchy inside Keith's mind— Keith at the driver's seat, Vorpal running the engine, and the Cait Sidhe looking at the map of the overall road.

Right now? It was all in disarray.

The cheshire cat was wandering along the rooftops, not really seeing much of the world around him as seeing the world inside. His arms and chest fur were stained by his own blood, and two ugly cuts across his chest and one along his arm were obviously the source of the blood. His uniform is in tatters-the jacket is torn, and his tights are missing a good part of the leg below the knee, and the boots as gone as well. At one point, he steps into the void between two buildings, but his subconscious powers must be at least semi functional, as a wavering platform forms under his feet and safely sees him through.

Gar spots a few buildings that were in the badly blurred and composed but totally nonsensical spontaneous musical. He's a bird again as he flies up, and circles … and there's the Cheshire again, wandering. Gar winces in fear as he walks off a building and somehow onto another, which is not a particularly graceful thing to do while flying. He lands near the confused cat, as he prepares to step off onto another building, and shifts back to human and says, "You're a mess, Keef. Come here to me."

Vorpal's foot stops mid-air over the void and settles back down on the ledge. Despite all things, he is still a cat and his ability to stay upright on very narrrow ledges works for him here. Someone else might have plunged to their deaths after losing his balance.

"I know that voice…"

"-too many things must think clearly what is-"

"-Ought to be a simpler way-"

Only one voice is Vorpal's, one voice that he produces with his mouth. The other ones are caused by his illusion powers… giving voice to the undercurrent of his other parts.

"I know that—"

"-where am I? Where did the Joker go? Why am I hurting?, my-"

"-if only there could be a way…"

Gar moves closer to Vorpal, and reaches a hand out to grasp at the nearest of the Cheshire's hands.

"I'm here. Come back to me," Gar urges. His mind spikes a bit in fear… Joker? That clown-painted bastard. Gar considers going all Red Queen on that jerk, but … nah, the Bat hasn't done it yet and he has dibs, this is his hunting grounds.

"Come over here, Keef."

Vorpal tenses when he feels the hand. There is confusion in his face but his eyes are still drawn to an inward world.

"Gar. Garfield. Garfield?"

"Distractions. It's all illusion. Nothing's real. Can't trust it. Must find what's real."

"Hard to maintain calm when all is in turmoil."

Among the voices, the one that mentions Gar's name is sharper, more afraid.

"I'm real, Keith. Vorpal. Cait. The Joker is gone, and I'm here," Gar says. He winces at the blood, the open cut. Keith is made of chaos magic but if he believes he's injured, he will be…

"Keith, come here and look at me. I'll help you figure it out, ok?"

"Garfield. He wouldn't. Who would possibly—-"

"—too good for me, what am I doing? why does he even-"

"Like a ship in a storm."

He seems to get distracted again by the wave of thoughts, and steps forward. This time, there is no platform that appears as he begins to tip forward.

Gar still has a hand, and even though Keef is really pretty strong and heavy, Gar cheats. One 800-pound-gorilla transformation later, and he's got a better hold, pulling the cat away from the edge and onto himself as he rolls backwards. He doesn't want to panic the Cheshire, but he doesn't want him to be too confused either.

"Hey, it's ok, come over here away from the cliff. Cats shouldn't leap before they look."

Vorpal is pulled from the ledge, and that is the first jolt- when the world outside interferes with the world inside. He falls back and loses his footing as Gar pulls him. He'll hit the floor if Gar doesn't catch him. This time when he speaks, all three voices formulate uninteligible questions, clearly pulled to attention by what is going on.

Catching was indeed the intention, and providing a large, safe surface to land on. Oof, knee, but a gentle implacable hand holding against the small of his back, Gar says quietly, "You're safe now. I've got you. Look at me, Keith."

Vorpal shudders and closes his eyes. The chemical has stopped playing with his system, so this is entirely what happens when you give a fractured soul a psychotropic. He puts his hands over his ears and says, very loudly, "Stop it! Stop it! Stop talking, goddamnit!" All three voices say it. It's not addressed to Gar, but to the dozens of barely-audible whispers that his powers are giving voice to.

"Ok, Keith, I want you to sing, OK? What's your favorite song?"

If he says "awimawep" Gar is going to cry, but really, the intention is to get all the voices aligned, because doing something that takes all of him into the same coherent space is probably good.

Song? There's a question being asked, and at least one part is listening. Song. The voice wants a song.

It's harrd to focus. Tendrils of thought ebb and flow and it is hard to hold down to anything for too long. When he finally does grasp onto something, it's at the very middle of a song. With an unsteady voice, Vorpal sings against the cacophony, "…With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand….He's been stabbed in the back he's been misunderstood…It's a comfort to know his intentions are good…."

Gar struggles to remember that song. Wait. The cadences sound like Billy Joel. OK, pull the phone out of … somewhere, do not think about it too hard or it will be freaky … search for the lyrics… Yeah. There we are… Play the song it just found…

//There's a place in the world for the angry young man

With his working class ties and his radical plans

He refuses to bend he refuses to crawl

And he's always at home with his back to the wall

And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost

And struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross

And likes to be known as the angry young man//

Gar can't sing along with it but he hums the tune, in the unnervingly deep hooting voice of a gorilla.

Little by little, one voice joins another, and the others grow silent. It takes several minutes, but Vorpal fially becomes coherent as the refracted parts of his personality latch onto the one common thing. Roles slowly fall into place and—

"…. G-Gar?" he says, his eyes coming into focus and seeing a… gorilla. Well, a green gorilla. So what are the odds?

"Are you back in the world again, Keef?" Gar strokes the hair away from the Cat's face, and rubs at the base of the cat ear. "I hope you are, because I can't live through another unfamiliar Billy Joel song right now."

The cheshire frowns and looks around, and winces as he moves. He looks down at his chest, at his arm. "… where's the Joker? What happened, Gar?" he looks at the green one with fear and confusion in his face. The wounds are real, alright. They closed some time ago, but they're still tender.

"You tell me. Why did you come to Gotham?" Gar is very curious about that one. He traces over the faint red lines with one big green leathery finger. At least the Cat remembered to turn off the phone at the right time.

Vorpal winces and looks down, and he slowly begins to remember. "I was chasing… someone. Suspect o' something. Then I realized I was in Gotham … and there was an alarm and…" he puts his hand up to his forehead, closing his eyes. "Oh god, it was the Joker. Robbing a hardware store. I didn't even…. he slashed me… and then I was coughing… and the world went… …"

"Joker likes to play games with people's heads. He was apparently being nice to you and just used LSD or something," Gar answers. "He'll do that instead of his fatal laughing poison if you make him laugh and he's not too psychotic at the moment. Sometimes."

Gar is careful not to lick the cat. It might still be on there. Shower, necessary. Not just for the blood.

"But… why are you here?" Vorpal frowns, looking at Gar. He's obviously still a midge out of it. "… you were in class when I headed out…" he looks down at the knee, and smiles a little. "You can change back.. I'm.. I'm not going to jump or anything. I was… so screwed up. I kept hearing voices… mine… Flash's… Joker's… you telling me that…" breath. "It's ok. I'm ok now…"

Gar reverts to his human shape and smiles.

"I was worried when you weren't in the tower or my room this morning, and your phone said you had checked in at Gotham Station. This is not a safe town to be a vigilante in," Gar says seriously. "The Bats have raised the bar, and the vils here are nasty, nasty people. With your ankle and that burn, I was afraid you'd attract attention."

And, well, he was right.

Vorpal looks at Gar and takes a deep breath, blinking back tears. He feels like an idiot- like the Rooki flash said he was. "I didn't mean to come here. I was so intent on getting this guy that… " he exhales. He wasn't used to the fact that someone could actually notice now if he went missing. Sometimes he would sleep over in the warehouse when he was too tired to come back to his apartment. There'd be nobody to worry, and he didn't need to notify anyone.

Things had changed, though. Now there were teammates who would notice. Gar would notice.

He looks at Gar. "I'm sorrry. I scewed up majorly-"

"And you're alive, and not crippled or mutilated or turned into a supervillain, so," Gar says, "this is all good. OK?"

Now how to get Vorpal back to New York? Hm. Well, might as well do it the fast way. Gar looks over at the door to the stairwell, and grins, and sends a fast text message to a friend.

"I'm going to introduce you to a friend of mine named Danny. You'll like him, I hope."

The text is answered, and Gar opens the door to the stairwell which for some reason isn't locked.

"Come on through."

"Wait—-" Vorpal says, getting unsteadily to his feet. He can walk, he's only weakened from the blood loss and… well, tripping balls.

Gar supports the Cheshire Cat as they step through the door into a broad, bohemian street. There are ruffles and flags everywhere, looking for all the world like the entire street is in drag, rainbow drag. The streetsign at the intersection says says "Danny St." and "Babycakes Ave." and there is a big sign in the store window behind them reading "Try our SPA Treatment" … across the street is an army surplus store and the mannequin outside is dressed in pink camo.

"Keith, I'd like to introduce my friend and sometimes teammate on the Doom Team, Danny the Street. Danny, this is Vorpal."

"… It's a … pleasure to meet you?" Vorpal says, looking around. A street? Gar's friend was a street?

He was a big Cheshire cat in spandex. Some things, you just take for granted. "How do you… communicate?" Vorpal whispers to Gar.

Another sign goes up in the window behind them, "FREE SPA TREATMENT FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS" and in smaller letters, "Please come in so we can clean the blood off."

Gar points to the sign. "Danny usually finds a way," he says, grinning. The door opens and Felicity James (the name badge says) comes out wearing one of those frocks that spa workers wear to cover their good clothes while giving mud baths, and a feather boa.

"Dahlings, come in quickly, Danny has street sweepers coming through in a minute," and she pulls at both of them to go inside.

There's a shower (the sign says) where one can clean up before the spa treatment. And a complimentary croissant and mimosa. Gar smirks but doesn't say a word.

Vorpal just… goes along with it. "You're friends with a … sentient street. You know, every time I think I've got my mental image of you down, you go and surprise me like this." Okay, even when he was high as a kite, he didn't come up with a sentient street. WHY didn't he? He felt like an underachiever.

"Sure, thank you, ma'm…" He's grounded now, if only because all of the bizarrerie HAS to ground you, or else you just go fully unhinged. "I'll be along in just a sec…"

He stops and looks at his mimosa. "Just one second, ma'am…" Vorpal says, very politely, and pulls Gar to a quiet corner of the locale.

Then he looks at Gar. "You came for me." Captain obvious states the evident. But he steps forward and seems about to hug Gar… or more, but he stops himself. He'd get blood all over Garfield, so instead he takes his hand.

"Yeah, of course. You're important to me. We should get inside though, the street sweepers can be aggressive," Gar says, pulling in for the hug. He doesn't care about the blood.

"I'm good with feelings, but I'm not very good at talking about feelings," Gar says quietly. "Words don't always make sense. I was worried you might be dead."

At the far end of the street, a sort of chorus is audible, "sweep, HUH!, brush, HUH! clean that dust, clean that trash!" and a chorus line of muscular men and women with push-brooms can be seen.

"We better get off the street unless we want to be swept up in that."

Vorpal smiles, holding Gar close. His ears twitch when he hears the sweepers. "You're very important to me." Vorpal says, and leans in to kiss Gar quickly. "And if you're ever lost… I'll come for you. Just remember that." He enjoys the hug as long as he can before he pulls Gar by his hand back into the spa, to avoid the cleaners. "… we're going to get teased for this, aren't we?"

The door closes just in time to prevent the sweepers from sweeping anyone else into their number, and Gar shrugs.

"I get teased anyway," the Changeling answers. "I just laugh at it because if they're doing it to hurt me I don't care what they think, and if they're my friends teasing, they're my friends."

He allows Felicity James to order him into a barber's chair — they also do haircuts — and while the marvelous Feng Smith-Smythe does his tonsorial magic, Felicity James shoos the cat into the shower, then into a smock and off to the mud bath. There is of course a full-length mirror if he wishes to revert to his less furry self so the mud is easier to cope with.

The treatment takes a good hour and a half, and Gar has to go ahead, because he's gotten a text from Kate. But Danny knows where to send Keith when he's recovered. And he even has a nice set of clothes waiting — Danny seems to think Keith should have a feather boa, but then he thinks everyone should have a feather boa.


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