It's Been A Week

September 27, 2014: It has been a week since Keith has seen Gar, so it's time to catch up.

ESU Dorm

Gar's rather tiny dormitory.



Mood Music:
The Air That I Breathe

The academic life is a wonderful life, but it can consume you whole when you don't expect it. Gar spent an entire week doing absolutely nothing heroic, not even shaving. Of course he cheats about that anyway, some shapeshiftery trick. But the lab cultures needed to be stabilized and replenished and their habitats fixed and then there was the whole issue of having to student-teach a class and having to do a bunch of reading and determine what the State of Science said was true about a particular relationship between three different animals (when Gar was quite certain that it was nothing of the sort, having been them long enough to check) and then of course there's waiting to hear back on the Lair. But that's in legal hell.

So Gar is sitting in his room with a glass of chocolate milk fortified with Bacardi 151 and a half shot of tequila for fire.

Keith was very much aware of the shit-storm that was coming down the pipeline for Gar, starting with that issue with the nudibranches that called him away from the meeting. Tactfully, it just so happened that he needed to take care of the apartment and furnish it with Miguel's help that week, so he wouldn't be able to come by.

This was just an excuse, of course- Miguel needed no furnishings outside of the very basics, due to his powers. But Keith knew the week was going to be important for Gar, and so he arranged for him not to be around so as not to distract the green Titan. He was sure to leave a note telling him that he had the apartment thing to take care of, and he sent a text on Monday, and then another one on Thursday- a brief contact. No calls, no visits, nothing that would be a demand on his time. Because being considerate is meant to be an important part of a relationship. Or that's what one of the bartender girls at the club where he works told him. It made sense.

Which was also why, when Waller's orders came in, it was Keith in Gar's dorm, getting ready to head out for his own apartment. It was only one part of the favor Waller would call on them… and, well, he thought it would be a nice thing to do, to take the first one on his own because Gar already was stressed out.

It was a nice thing, in retrospect. Even if he hasn't been able to get a full night's sleep. The effects of going on a mission with the Midnighter.

The way things work is stress buildup, then distraction. At the end of the week, Keith is ready to be that distraction. And, well, he's missed Gar a lot. He hopes he's made the right call by giving him space to deal with the crap-flood… well, he was going to find out.

Standing outside of Gar's room, at ground level, Keith is now in his Vorpal persona. He is also invisible, because a surprise is a surprise, anyways. He can see inside enough to Rabbit Hole into Gar's room and sit on the windowsill, which is the position he adopts before becoming visible. Although he is in his Cheshire form, he's not wearing his usual get-up but a forest green pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt.

"Hey, there," he speaks up softly, giving Gar a grin.

"Hello, Kitty," Gar says, not quite startled - the rabbit hole makes an odd noise, not to mention the feet on the windowsill - but it's still a surprise, and still welcome. He's sprawled back on his bed against the wall, with the drink in hand.

"Want to share my de-stress drink? It's probably got too much booze in it to be really OK, I was following someone else's recipe."

"I thought I was your de-stressing drink." Vorpal winks and slides onto the bed, moving over to Gar's side. "It's been a tough week, hasn't it?" he asks, reaching out to run his fingers through Gar's hair. Scritching. He knows Gar likes it. "It's been a week for me as well. Nothing too bad, though."

"So, what's happened for you? I did nothing earth-shaking, except that I kept our sea slug population from consuming itself."

Gar offers the chocolate flavored pre-hangover to Vorpal after taking a sip. There's no danger of cross-contamination; it's got enough alcohol in it to sterilize.

The cat takes a sip from the offered glass- though the chocolate is lost on him, as he cannot taste sweet in this form. "Not much. Went on a mission, was interviewed by Carol Danvers over at the Planet. The apartment stuff. Oh, and I made Green Arrow puke his guts out for being a total asshole to me." He slipped the mission in there, but just enough to make it sound like it was not related to Waller. He's not planning on hiding it from Gar- just not going to mention it right now while he's stressed. "Oh… and I do have something to show you so I can get your opinion. But first…" he licks his lips to get the last of the alcohol, and leans forward to give Gar a soft kiss. "… I missed you," he says quietly, slipping his hand under Gar's shirt to stroke his chest, letting his fingers run over his chest hair. "Sorry if I was a little too absent." A good way to find out if he played it right, or was totally wrong.

Gar chuckles. "You were deliberately not bugging me, and I appreciate it. It was very thoughtful. You should tell me more about the mission when I'm a bit more drunk, er, relaxed." He sips down a quarter of the glass; it's not just sugar, it's milk and cocoa, which have their own special flavors, that makes the rum work so well.

He puts the cup down when Vorpal demonstrates kissing technique, and enthusiastically replies with the appropriate response technique.

Vorpal shivers at the contact. Gods, he's missed being near him- not really realizing how much until now. He's gotten a little more adventurous with his kisses, too… the first few times, he kept things simple. Now, he's more likely to open into a full french kiss… only he does it very lightly, and very briefly because he is in his cat form, and therefore raspy tongue. He keeps the contact close when he breaks the kiss, forehead to forehead and a hand to hold the back of Gar's head.

"You can read me too well. Am I that predictable?" he whispers with a grin, rubbing his nose against Gar's. "I know I can be very distracting. You were doing important sciency stuff. Distractions and science don't work well together…" he says, slipping another arm around Gar. Warmth.

"Predictable? Maybe a little, but I can kinda read your body language too. And it's not that important … it's not going to find out anything new that I didn't already know, won't even make a lot of difference in what other people know, except to give 'em a better idea of why things work the way they do."

He pulls Vorpal closer. He left the window open because it was hot earlier, but now the air coming in is full of sea-air and coldness, so the warmth is extra-welcome. Gar even grows a bit of fur to help.

Vorpal purrrs quietly. He enjoys the sea air, he's always had a thing for water, hilariously enough considering… "I like being known by you. " He smiles and slips away from Gar's hold with a bit of mischief. "This'll only be a second…" he says, to assure Gar that he's not leaving his hold for long. "That thing I told you I wanted to show you?" He slips off the bed and takes a few steps back.

"Well…" It's easy to slip off the sweatpants and the sweatshirt. When they hit the floor, Vorpal grins and puts his hands on his hips. The black, red and silver uniform on him fits him like a glove- functional, allowing for a great range of movement, but also quite flattering.

"What'd you think?"

"Awww," Gar pseudo-pouts, "You won't be going into combat nearly naked now."

He grins at the colors, but doesn't mention that they match a bit too closely, and doesn't mention also that it's similar to one of his own favorite designs that he uses in summer. Because he's planning to borrow it at least once.

"I think it's gorgeous and the model isn't too shabby either," Gar says around a second sip from the cup. OK, that's enough of that stuff.

It's hard to blush visibly while covered in purple fur, but the inside of Vorpal's ears do acquire a certain reddish tint. "Oh, you…" he laughs and climbs back onto the bed, this time straddling Gar's legs and leaning forward, his padded palms resting against Gar's chest. "You're looking pretty good yourself, Mister Logan," he whispers and leans forward to nip playfully at the side of Gar's neck, chuckling.

"I'm getting a bit flabby. Need to train again," Gar objects, poking at the miniscule layer of fat on his belly, or rather, the non-shrink-wrapped parts. It wouldn't show at all in spandex. When the nipping gets too much, he nips back lightly but then just pulls Vorpal closer.

"I did miss you though. I sleep better when you're here, even if I'm hanging from the ceiling."

He shudders again, and smiles, and holds Gar as well. "I'll stay here anytime you want me to. And you can sleep over at the apartment anytime you want to- the futon there is actually meant for two people. I know. I chose it precisely for that reason."

His chest rumbles with his purring, and he chuckles. "Flabby. Riiiight. We can start training together tomorrow, if you want. I'll be your drill instructor," he says teasingly. "And I dictate you need to train in your underwear."

A purple hand slips under Gar's shirt again and he strokes Gar's back, tracing his padded fingers up and down.

"Time to get new underwear. A&F's having a sale," Gar murmurs. His heart rate is slowing, and his breathing has gotten deeper. He'll be asleep in no time if the Cheshire Cat keeps up with that stroking and purring business.

"Sounds like a plan," the cheshire grins. Falling asleep is tempting… but then there's also another temptation entirely. Purple hands pull gently at Gar's shirt, figuring that the cold air coming in will keep him from falling asleep yet. "C'mon, I haven't seen you in a while."

"Awww, spoiling my nap. OK, fine, pushups."

Gar rolls off onto the floor and does fifteen pushups to wake up.

"So tell me about the mission," he says, delivering the punishment for not going to sleep.

Vorpal pouts. "Aw, come on! I wanted to…" the cheshire sighs, giving Gar a resentful look, tempered with a slight smirk. "The mission. Well, had to deal with someone in the drug dealer chain. Tied to that horrible drug they're peddling to Mutants? Waller had me pa—"

Oh fuck. "Paired up with Midnighter." Way to go, O'Neil. He couldn't blame the booze on the carelessness, he hasn't had enough. He's just gotten used to sharing things openly with Gar. Didn't think fast enough.

"Waller had you paired up with Midnighter? Wait, Midnighter. I've heard of that name."

Gar sits down at his laptop and does a quick search. "Huh. Not a lot about that name except an alias for a black ops agent from some years back. Which is consistent with Waller wanting us out of the building. OK. What did you end up doing?"

Gar's got that whole weird 'calm' going again that he gets when something inevitable and horrible happened and there's nothing to do about it but just get on with things.

Meanwhile, Vorpal is like a kid caught doodling on the walls. But with a breath he tells himself that he came here to help Gar relax, not tense him up further. So… "We had to take out this guy. Galante. Midnighter took care of… the disposal. I simply knocked people out. Galante, though, I managed to get alive and well. And then we were off chasing someone else… but we were ordered to fall back."

Vorpal can't quite hide the discomfort of remembering, though. Midnighter did kill people- thugs of Galante's. Murderers and mafiosi. And while Keith saw his fair share of violence and a few deaths due to the gangs back in Morrisania… this was different.

"Hon, I'm ok, alright? It wasn't pleasant, but I didn't kill anybody." He's also had nightmares for a good part of the week, although they are getting better. He walks over to Gar and reahes to grab one of his hands. "You're doing The Thing, you know," he says. "You might as well tell me what you're thinking, you know?"

Gar looks up at Vorpal, eyes a bit distant. "I am? Hm. So I am. Well, mostly, I'm thinking that Galante is pretty much like some of the crime bosses I ran into as a kid, and it's too bad his people got off without having to make reparations for the rest of their lives, but sometimes … well. They got off easily. I'm pretty sure this is connected with that new drug that's been killing people, the Smooth, it's like instant addiction with all the bad effects of heroin. Anyone who's chose to use that on other people has to be put to the pain."

Gar's tone of voice is not particularly angry, but neither is there a trace of mercy. "They have to be made an example of, to the people who might think it's OK to do that kind of thing."

"He didn't get off easy. Waller has him." Vorpal smirks. And then he reaches to put his hand under Gar's chin. "And it's going to be taken care of. There's one or two more favors that she's going to call on us. Just don't… go dark on me, alright?" He says softly, lifting Gar's chin slightly, and slips over to sit on Gar's lap. "They're going to pay for what they're doing to people. But right now, we're here in your room and there's good things happening." He leans forward and kisses Gar's forehead, smirking a little. "You know… Raven decided to track me down… she's back. And she asked me what my intentions were…"

The revelation that Waller has Galante is not necessarily a good thing for Gar. He doesn't fear or hate her, but he doesn't mistake her for being safe, nor by any stretch of the imagination a good person. Selfless, yes. Dedicated, to the point of obsession, and just the far side of megalomaniacal.

"So the Paladin of the Bureaucracy of Expediency has one of the men who knows about making that drug. Lovely," he observes, very quietly. "Yes, a good number of them will pay. Sadly it won't happen in the open where it can heal."

The idea of Raven tracking Vorpal down… "Did she hunt you or was she just taking spooky action at an opportunity?"

Gar almost wishes he'd been a fly on the wall for that one… but Raven would have known he was there.

"Trust me," Vorpakl says at Gar's interjection, "I don't think she would use that drug. There was… something about her. This was more than just a favor. This was personal." He sighs softly and nods at the rest of it, though. "We'll do what we can to help it heal afterwards."

He raises an eyebrow and adjusts himself so he is sitting on Gar's lap more comfortably, arms around the green guy's neck. "Well, I think she looked for me. Because one moment she wasn't there, and then she was. I apparently started frequenting her restaurant, which is apparently a no-no." His smirk softens, though. "She was very direct, pointing out that I was full of chaos energy, and asking me right out what the nature of my relationship with you was."

"Chinese place? Dim-sum all day? Lots of vegetarian offerings?" Gar seems to know about the place. Or maybe it's an archetype that she seeks out wherever she can.

"What did you tell her?" Gar asks, curious. He's already pretty sure that since Vorpal is here, not locked up in a box in Azarath, that Keith doesn't actually mean him harm. But beyond that? Well, it would be interesting to hear.

And sometimes, Keith lets Vorpal's impulses take him over. Sometimes it is with terrible results.


He draws out the word, letting the sibilant 's' snap like a snake. "I told her it was steamy, hot, guy-on-guy, knots of limbs, passionate lovemaking."

And he looks serious, too. Perfectly and completely serious without even a hint of mischief in his face. "I even gave her details on what positions, and about that little sound you make with the back of your throat when your eyes roll back…"

It's worth it, though, just to see what Gar's reaction could be. And probably to see what Gar's reaction would be when Gar imagined what Raven's reaction to that information might have been. Even if it never was.

There's a half-second of strangeness to Gar's eyes as he shapeshifts, growing goat eyes and ears and curly horns and goat-legs. Suggestible, or just covering up? It certainly hides any expression of shock or confusion. Shapeshifters are so untrustworthy…

"Oh, please, you didn't tell her about the chirping noise? Man, that's so personal," Gar says. Well, it was that or drag out that old like about pull the other leg, it's got bells on it. No, it's not too much work - his left hoof DOES have a leather ankle-strap with tiny silver bells on it.

"What did she say when you said that?" Goat-Gar asks.

At this, Vorpal does let out a laugh. "Teach me to try to pull one on the shapeshifter." Vorpal transitions from Gar's lap onto the desk, leaning back on his hands. "If I had told her that, I'd probably be goodness-knows-where. For being flippant and invading her restaurant."

His mirth winds down, and he says in a more reasonable voice, "She expressed concern, because of what happened in the past. And she told me not to hurt you. That she wants you to be happy… and that I was goofy enough to probably give you that. I told her the truth, about what you mean to me."

He tilts his head to the side. "… you don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but did you two have… you know… something going on in the past?" Because it had been rattling around in his brain. Very close friends, or more. Raven did not seem the type to take the trouble of actually interacting with a human being and deliver a warning unless there was some investment of hers in there.

Gar shakes the left foot so the little bells jingle before he reverts from satyr-like form — he'll have to save that one for a special occasion — and listens to the words. There's a faint twinge as he recognizes what could have been a hint of echoed loss.

"We could have had, but we didn't really dare. She needs someone whose feelings aren't all out there where everyone can see them. Mine were always very loud. And I learned not to vent like a broken steam fitting but I used to do that a LOT when I was younger. We both knew we'd feed on each others' reactions, and make things worse, too often and too much. So, it's more of a, we really care about each other, more than some of our former teamies understood. It could've gotten really bad if she wasn't as strong as she was."

Gar doesn't even realize the bullet he dodged there. Red Garfield had a different story, too, but some of the alternate-Gars they almost felt on the edges of that chaos-pothole, are still crazed demonic monster things in willing thrall to Trigon's Dark Daughter.

Vorpal nods. "It makes sense, in a way. You and I both have rather strong emotions." The cheshire thinks about this for a second. There was a lot of history behind Gar's friends, it feels as if he's landed in the middle of a book in medias res. He can find out what came after, but only by being tactful and respectful. He knows Gar will answer, if he asks. But he also wants to be considerate.

"I- well. I realize I am extremely lucky." He swings his legs around so he can jump off the desk and stand next to Gar, a hand going up to tease the other's green hair. "You know I don't ask about a lot. I know you were hurt, and that it was bad enough that even Rave had to come and tell me 'Don't you dare.'"

He grows quiet for a few seconds, stroking Gar's hair and looking at him. "I don't know how bad it was, and I'm not going to ask you to relive it for the sake of my curiosity…" he bends one knee, so he's at the same level as the sitting Gar. "Maybe I'm even afraid to find out. I don't like the thought of you in pain— and sorry, that just sounded extremely selfish, didn't it?"

"I don't know. Maybe, but I don't blame you. It's natural not to want to be hurt," Gar says. "I've been hurt in different ways all my life though. I'll admit the line between self-deluded and sucker were crossed a number of times."

He hugs Vorpal again, bringing him close to rub noses. "It's kinda part of being alive, but I'm not one of a pain junkie, I can live without my morning flagellation."

Vorpal hugs back, rubbing his nose against Gar's. "Good. I want you to be happy." He reaches over with a hand and toys with the cheshire pendant around Gar's neck, "Because you've got a great smile, fangs and all."

"Y'know… I've heard you joke about your skin. I don't know if you mean it… but those bitches who called you a freak got what they deserved: they missed out on you. You're not a freak. You're green, handsome and great, and I love every bit of it." Vorpal smiles softly. "… wanna go take that nap? I'll stay in this form, to keep you warm. We can sleep in as late as you want, too." Because he suspects Gar hasn't been getting enough sleep, this week having been what it was.

"I wouldn't give it up for the world either, but it's cool having you tell me," Gar says. He yawns. "Nap, yeah, good idea. Several in a row."

Gar takes another sip off the now-cold chocolate-and-booze drink, which will doubtless undergo some horrible chemical transformation into pudding or worse overnight, and turns off the room light and lies back on the bed again, pulling Vorpal close so he can assume the teddybear position.

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