It's a very very very fine house

September 19, 2014: The search for the new Titans headquarter continues. Or has it come to an end?

Woodland area

Woodland area with a very interesting house.



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Mood Music:
Our House (Crosby Stills Nash & Young)

The price on this one was a bit high. There's a reason. It was pretty much perfect otherwise.

Not like the Haunt on the Hill, this one has a spring-well, certified potable, and all the necessary things for human habitation. Living quarters. What's wrong with it?

It's an old missile silo. It's been cleaned, converted, and refurbished. And it is WELL disguised … the place was owned by a fixer-upper type, someone known to the supers community as Lairmaster.

Yes. Lairmaster. The go-to guy for supervillain lairs and heroic HQs. The Frank Lloyd Wright of Hidden Bases. He lived in it and puttered with it for years before his accidental death in the unfortunate Dr. Nope affair; he'd been making an addition to that villain's volcanic lair when the kaiju Magmadrome decided to erupt the volcano to hatch its egg. Lairmaster's family hadn't known about it and they finally let it go after twenty years of unpaid taxes. Nobody wanted it. Until now. And it's been sitting on the tax books … it can be purchased for a … well, Gar could afford to buy it. With some help from his adoptive father.

The disguise that hides the lair is actually pretty nice. A "castle" styled home, with three towers and a circular courtyard, and each tower had rooms in them so it SEEMED like they were just rooms, and the walls were actually wide enough hallways to use as libraries and so forth, with the glass inside to take advantage of the courtyard. There were several entrances to the "secret" as well.

"This is not going to be the ordinary place," Gar says, getting out of the rented car. "This is definitely not ordinary."


Keith is pretty much speechless when he first sees the home as the car pulls up. When he finds his tongue, he slips out and blinks a couple of times. "Gar, this place looks like Loreena Mckennitt, Enya and J. K. Rowling use it as a meeting place for tea parties."

The redhead walks up to Gar's side, taking the sight in. Well, Robin would probably approve of this place. Last night, Keith had gone to Gotham… why, exactly, he hasn't told Gar. He's managed to get around the reason so far by dancing around the subject and instead mentioning that he met Robin. Or a Robin, at least, one with an accent, who had very pointed opinions about the Titans, and who assumed that they would welcome him with open arms and accept him as their leader.

And then Vorpal had called him a princess. Which is why he had come late back into the dorm last night, despite not being a work night for him. "This is going to be rather… how much did you say it was listed for, again?" He shoots Gar an inquiring look.


"I didn't. But it's under $300K. Titans Tower was 3 mil, I think," Gar says cheerfully. "It's probably gonna need some work… the silo part, did I tell you about the silo? Anyway. The above-ground is just a disguise. This is an architectural masterpiece, Vorp."

The Green Titan bounces on his heels a bit, and says, "So, I got a grant from Dayton Group to cover the costs… we just have to operate the Titans for two years to fulfill it."

"Well, and the rest of the Titans have to agree to that as well."


"Does this mean Kate is going to lose herself commenting on the trim and the mahogany for hours on end?" Keith grins, and then looks at Gar. Dayton Group. The name causes the redhead to raise an eyebrow. "Two years… we can do. But this won't get you into trouble?" He can see, though, that Gar is excited. "If that's the disguise… I can't imagine what the real thing's gonna look like. Shall we?"


"Trouble? What is this trouble of which you speak?" Gar says in an unrecognizable bad accent.

He walks up to the door and unlocks… and presses a series of numbers into a keypad … and unlocks and presses a second series of numbers into a keypad… and unlocks.

"Wow. Lairmaster was kind of paranoid," Gar says quietly, as the door recesses and rolls back along the curve of the wall, revealing a ground-floor room with a 15 foot ceiling, lit by the light coming through a window on the other side. There are a few pieces of furniture, covered by cloths, and from the inside, one can tell that the garden has gone insane in the courtyard.

"You any good at landscaping?"


"Everything green I've ever touched has wilted," Keith says helpfully. And adds, "You're the exception."

He looks at the garden, "Mistress Mary quite contrary, How does your garden grow? Not at all, she said…" He walks in, reaching out to pull up some of the cloths up to look at the furniture. "… but a courtyard garden would be lovely…"


"Now for the fun part," Gar says, clicking the button on the inside of the door. It slides back closed, but it seems easy enough to re-open from this side - it has a handle. The room has half-arched openings along the curved walls, and staircases are set along them leading to the upstairs rooms of the tower, but Gar doesn't go that way. The door opened along a track that abutted a squared-off protrusion into the room, and Gar taps his fingers along the ornately decorated "tree" laid out in jewels on the mahogany (yes) of the inward face. And, it swings open. There's a disconcertingly high-tech elevator inside, and there seems to be adequate power to feed it.

"OK, this is awesome," Gar says. "This place has geothermal power, did I mention? It's totally off the grid."

The elevator cage is easily opened, and has "up" and "down" and "stop" buttons. Down… reveals a hallway leading to the silo. There are lights. There is no trace of the missile originally stored here, which is probably good given the size of the silo. It's free of debris and garbage, which suggests that the water, visible 200 feet below, is supposed to be there.


"Oh my god…" It's not that Keith suffers from vertigo. But it is a rather impressive sight. He won't admit that he clings to Gar's arm as he looks down at the water, two hundred feet down. He's been running a lot lately, that's why his knees feel a little unsteady. "… to make this work into a headquarters… there's going to be a lot of construction and remodeling that needs to be done…" He breathes in.

Never in his life did he think he'd be able to see something like this, though, so this is pretty damned awesome. "… so that would be on top of the purchasing money from yo—the Dayton Group. You're gonna go broke, Gar."


"Nah. Look to our left," Gar grins. "LAIR Master did this place."

There's a steel catwalk grating — wide enough to be a cattle-walk — running the entire diameter of the silo, and to the left, a concrete-outlined hallway goes back. There's a room visible past it, only knowable by the reflective glass surface running along the wall, but and several such elongated rectangles can be seen dimly gleaming in the diffused light. The hallway is lit by a red light, and Gar leads to the opening. Peering back, it's lined with doors.

"If the plan on file was right, there's a power room, the computer that runs the place, and enough rooms to turn into a small hotel. I mean, the guy was used to designing for minions, right?"


"My god, this is amazing…" Keith shakes his head, looking around. "It's rather mind-blowing to believe that someone actually ran a career on this sort of business." The redhead scratches the back of his neck. "… this is definitely a step up from the Bates Motel… no, a step, leap, bound and a cha-cha-cha up." He ponders. "… how exactly did you find this listing, though? I'm only asking because… well…"


"Because it's not in the standard listings. I know," Gar says. "I had to contact one of my Dad's realtors. He has a guy that handles the really unusual places, like, specialty hotels and that kind of thing. Acquisitions. So this was something they'd looked at but had no use for it. It wouldn't be worth it to bring it up to code for a hotel. But it works for a base, right? There's a woods outside, and it's next to federal land so it won't be developed."


Keith takes this in and nods. "Okay. Well, your dad knows how to find discreet people for this sort of thing, so there goes the worry that someone may track us down when we don't want to." Keith nods and looks around. "You were right, this is an architectural marvel…" he looks around, leaning on the doorframe to one of the rooms. "Now we need to put it up to a vote to the rest of the team. The rooms in the towers, though- are they actual rooms or are they merely for show?"


"I'm pretty sure they're real," Gar says. "So we can even live above ground until we get too many people. Wish we could hire a groundskeeper though. Since nobody in the team could make a robot system to do all the work. So, what do you think. There's still repairs needed. I'm not sure how we'll hide our coming and going, but I think there might be a tunnel that would work for that - or we get the magical types to paint us a mural that goes somewhere."

Gar is still a bit nervous about this. There was a time when the Earlier Team got mad at him for spending his Dad's money too freely, but since he turned 21 he's not actually tapping his Dad's money any more. So no free jets.


"Well… I think it's the best prospect we've got so far." Keith walks over to Gar and takes one of his hands in his. "We've got… eight, nine members in the team, so the size is an advantage. The question I have, however…" the redhead reaches over and touches Gar's chin to look him in the eye, "Is how much is this going to set you back financially? Honestly? Don't try to hide the truth from me, Garfield. You know I can smell lies, and feast on the tears of small children." He smirks.


"Me? Keef. I got my inheritance from my first parents when I was 18, and my adoptive parents gave me an endowment when I turned 21. I could buy this place outright, and it wouldn't be a terrible hit. I'd rather not, so, I'm paying half, and the rest is really coming from a grant, because I want the team to incorporate and own it as a group."

Gar rubs his nose between his fingers, from the bridge down a bit.

"It's going to be a dollar buy-in to join the team, for legal purposes. I think. I really … Dad's not been easily available to talk with about this, he just send me a note saying 'do what you think is best, I trust you.' That's kind of not entirely helping, huh?"


~Smooth move, O'Neil. Why not ask him about how his parents died? Maybe ask him to do a little diorama?~

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to dig something like that up." He's never asked Gar about his financial situation, nor has he really cared to look it up. It is a general, and safe, assumption that he can live comfortably.

"I'm behind this. If the team likes it, then it's ours. I just didn't want you to have to take a hit for the team… wanna take a look at that garden up close?"


"Hey, it's all right. I had a good therapist, and it's a long time ago," Gar says, figuring that if Keith wants to know something, he'll just ask. After all, that's kind of what Gar told him to do. (Silly Changeling, you didn't really say it directly.)

The trek back to the elevator is relatively short. The ride to the ground floor is also short, but it's possible to go to the second floor above as well.

"OK, I think the … hmm," Gar says, noting that somehow, plants are overgrowing against the downstairs door. "We may need to go upstairs and out the window."


Keith blinks. "Did the plants just—" the redhead narrows his eyes. "Dear, did the agent tell you whom the Lairmaster was building this lair for?" He looks at the windows. Were those vines there before? Now he wishes he had paid more attention.

"Let's check the upstairs… quietly," Keith suggests and makes for the stairs. Pausing a second, he takes off his shoes. Just in case. Vibrations.


"The papers said he was working on it as a hobby site, living here himself with his kid from his first marriage. She's the one who signed it over for back taxes."

Gar hasn't noticed any unusual plant movement, but then he's part of the Red, not the Green, so he has no special sense to tell him if Lairmaster was growing something he oughtn't have — then again, he did have some mementos stored here, which were removed by the family years ago. The ones they knew about anyway.


"That must be one heck of a strange family tree." Keith mutters. Going upstairs, he looks at the detail and, well, the craftsmanship. "You know, I wish I had Kate's education. She'd probably be commenting on the finish and the polish, and here all I can say it's that it's purdy." He wants to take a look at one of the tower rooms, to boot. "… you know, I've been thinkin' about something. You've got your public image and your fan club, and you're very popular with the ladies, yaknow?" he asks, letting Gar lead him to the room while he looks at the finish on the walls.


"Well. With the ones who can overlook the lovely complexion," Gar says. "But what're you thinking about?"

Gar looks at the upper window. Behind, there's the upper part of the elevator, and this landing is here, and there's a fairly large room, a bit oddly shaped. The door is open - it's a single large bedroom, with a bathroom attached, and a walk-in closet. The landing overlooks the downstairs room as well, but the window actually opens to a small balcony.

"OK, that's openable," Gar says, and opens it. Below, there's a tree, and plants. The tree looks as if it fits in the "bowl" that was formed by a dome-shape above the shaft. The overgrown plants, from here, look like overgrown brambles of Himalayan Raspberry. Invasive, obnoxious, and with tasty fruit that isn't worth having them around. Large parts of the bramble appear to be dead, while the tree isn't necessarily happy. Whatever was supposed to keep the random seeds from getting in, apparently didn't work.


"Oh, Gar. It is a lovely complexion." Keith smiles a little, "What's there to overlook?" he reaches out to run a hand across Gar's cheek for a brief touch. There was something about the color that called out 'touch me' to Keith. He didn't know why.

The young man smirks. "Let me put it this way: It's your life that I've stepped into, and you've got interests riding on your image as an actor and celebrity. I know there are public figures who hide who they're seeing because they fear the repercussions they might have. Like that 'Oh my' guy from that other show."

He steps out onto the balcony and looks below. He looks very closely, and then exhales with relief. No, no plant movement. It must have been the wind. He has to admit that the place will look a lot nicer and friendlier once some things end up getting cleaned up. He could get used to a place like this.

But he wasn't going to cancel the lease on his apartment if they got this place. He learned that lesson the hard way. If anything, he'll have a place here and a place in Gotham. And Gar's dorm, because he wasn't going to stop visiting.

"I guess that what I'm thinking about is that I haven't asked you what you want in that aspect. If you'd rather present to the outside world that you're not seeing anyone because otherwise it might affect your following… that's within your right to ask." He turns to face Gar and leans on the balcony railing. There is a minute creak that is almost inaudible. He takes a deep breath to get a feel for the air in the area, with all of these invasive plants.


"My image as an actor … I do voice work. They don't see my face. I still do the conventions for fun, and because it gets me a free membership," Gar says in a quiet voice.

He leans back against the support pillar and pulls Keef to him.

"The Titans … back in the old days before it was the Titans … it was almost a social club for legacy kids, sidekicks so to speak. There was Robin, Speedy, Wonder Chick, and Kid Flash, and sometimes Aqualad. The sidekicks of the guys who were in that early team-up, the one that eventually inspired the Justice League. You know I was with that OTHER early team that kept having to deal with weird doomy stuff. So, our team was kind of weird. It was very … junior high. To be the leader, you had to be part of a power-couple. Sort of. Robin… had a girlfriend on the team. But Robin was like the Baby Batman … and a lot like the guy you described. He just assumed we were all following his lead. Which we usually did because he was pretty well trained, except that Speedy got sick of the 'power couple' deciding shit and Kid Flash would leave whenever it got irritating. So when this girl showed up with elemental earth powers, I vouched for her, because she was a jerk, and kind of weird, and reminded me of me a lot. So … we weren't the power couple. And Robin was a terrible leader in some ways — he had abso-fricking-lutely no emotional awareness. You think I don't talk about feelings? I express them. He just didn't have any except how dare you not do whatever I tell you even when people were hurting. He's grown up a lot, but it kind of messed us up. And my 'power couple' girl tried to kill us all and ended up killing herself. Which also sucked a lot."

"So the reason I'm not trying to point out that we're together is that I don't want any of that 'power couple' dynamic happening again. It's the wrong instinct. It's wolf-pack bonding, not family the way we need to be."


Keith allows himself to be pulled to Gar, resting against him. "Pfff, I don't mean I want advertisement, Garfield. All I wanted to know was whether or not you'd prefer I refrain from being affectionate with you anywhere except behind closed doors. The team is… Actually, considering the friendships I'm making, it is my only family. As are you. I think the dynamics in this team are different since we don't have a natural Alpha trying to dominate… and believe me, if that Robin tries to pull that, he's not going to be very successful. At least, as far as we have interacted as a team, we listen to each other and we make our voice heard, there's no one voice that weighs us all down."

The redhead shrugs a little and indulges himself a bit by resting his head on Gar's chest. "My personal preference is I wouldn't mind interacting like a normal couple. Not, you know, eating face in the middle of a meeting like I've seen some do — had that in higschool in the middle of student council, oh my god what the heck was wrong with them? — but, you know, not afraid to hug or stuff like that. It's up to you, though. And I know that if I'm ever making the wrong call, you're going to let me know about it. None of the pack mentality thing of 'I need to stand by my man, right or wrong.' We're going to disagree on stuff."

He looks up at Gar with a smirk, "Like the Waller plan. We've gone over that- but it's an example on something we've disagreed on… besides, the only other couple I see forming right now is either Bunker and Wiccan… or Zachary and Wiccan. Depending on who gets the nerves to ask first." Impish smirk.


"Seriously? Zachary?" Gar blinks. "OK, sure. Why not."

He has to think for a few moments, and spends them nuzzling, not cat nor dog, just generic mammal.

"OK. Please do not refrain from hugging or otherwise being affectionate with me if it seems like an appropriate thing to do. Obviously it's not appropriate during a fight, nor during student council meetings, but yeah, hugging, holding hands, and being physically close is perfectly fine."


Keith chuckles at this, and nuzzles back. "Even if that might end up on a tabloid somewhere? You know, 'Beast Boy Seen With Purple Cat: Getting Wild?' They keep getting your name wrong."

"The Enquirer mentioned the fire. Called me Wildcat. I think I'm better looking."

He realizes why he may have had an ominous feeling about the plants. In a way, this is a sort of luxury. Granted, for the whole team, but in a way it was also extended to him as part of the team… and there was something in him of pride that rebelled against that.

~Maybe it's ok. Just this once.~
~Once is fine~
~But I'm not going to be a dependant. I'm not going to be a burden to Gar.~

"I like the place. I hope the team does as well. You got a good scoop, Gar." He squeezes Gar and nuzzles him back. "I'll pitch in with the manual labor to clean this up, if the team likes it."


"Seems good to me too. We still need a public face, but for now, this'll do," Gar says. "Anyway… you know how it is with tabloids. If you see anything there you know it's a lie. Last year it was "Is Changeling Bat-Boy's Father?" … that one was REALLY annoying. They got the codename right in the stupidest headline."


"Hey, I remember that one. It was the one where they had the alleged interview with the dog from the future who warned us of an apocalypse." Keith laughs. He'd seen it in line at the grocery store and just had to flip through it.

"It's getting late. Do you wanna head back? We could bring the kids here tomorrow and see what they think." He pauses, "Also… this is a bit of a weird request. But I'd like to have a training session. I think we need to start having those as a team so we all know what we're capable of, and we learn how to work off each other's strengths. But for the first one… I'd like it to be you. I'm green as can be and you've got more experience, there's a lot I can learn from you."


Gar closes the window, and makes sure it's properly latched - don't want any problems if this doesn't go through properly, after all. He stands at the top of the stairwell, and looks back at Keith.

"Sure. What do you mean by 'training session' though?" Gar asks, grinning as he fast-foots his way down the stairs. fidadidadidapidapidadadadipadawhump!

The front door opens easily and closes and re-locks with only a single button sequence.


"Just a way to test our powers. A friendly spar, nothing too intense." Keith can't help it, he does slide down the banister. A little. "You guys had that with the other team, right? I figured… football teams go through drills, I am not entirely sure what super-teams do, but I always thought it was something along those lines."

As the front door closes behind him, he takes a few steps back to look at the castle-like domicile.


"We did. The very first thing we need to do is to get everyone to show what their general abilities are, and tell what we're NOT going to do because it's too dangerous. The second thing we need to do is to have everyone explain what their limits are, like, I am pretty much always green, and always animals, and you have to have the full length mirror to change to human, and enough to see your own eyes to change to cat-form," Gar says. "But we don't need to explain everything. That's a trust issue. So I won't be explaining what happens if I over-use Dad's helmet. You don't need to explain the scar."

The rental car is MUCH easier to fit inside. Poor little Smrt Cr is in the shop, having the hamsters ground or something.

From the driveway, the castle appears to just be the one front tower with the curving walls and (from the right angles) the tree inside barely peeking over the wall-tops.


"Right. Taking care of business. Getting organized and getting us well-oiled and greased." Because Keith was not going to let some entitled Robin walk into his family and turn it into a dictatorship. "I want us to do things right, I want to be good at what I do. It's how we stay alive… and maybe…" to make his mother proud?

He looks at Garfield. If Alanna O'Neil had known what her baby boy would turn out to be… in more ways than just purple, how would she have reacted?

He wanted to think she'd have understood. But then again… she was very Catholic. It was one of the reasons why he never said anything.

And Gar's adoptive father was distant. He might as well be dead. Themes that repeated.

"What would you call it when you feel… pleasure, or a good feeling, when you look at the achievements of someone you care about?" He slides the seatbelt around him with a click, looking at the castle as Gar turns the engine.


"Vicarious pride, maybe?" Gar says. "There's probably a throat-destroying German word for it, taking joy in the accomplishment of loved ones."


One consultation with an elderly phone later, Keith smirks. "The internet claims the word is something like 'Familiestolzempfindung.'" He butchers that, horribly. "But I think someone's trying to pull my leg." He puts his phone away and rests his hand on Gar's, on the gear shift. "Whatever the exact term is. I'm proud of you… do you want to go by the dorm and see if Miguel's back from his route? We could take him out for Mexi — " pause " — chinese?"


"Chinese sounds very good right now," Gar says. "I kinda forgot to eat as a human today, and I don't want to tell you what I was when I did eat."

Well, it wasn't anything TOO creepy, honestly; Gar's just being a tease.

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