Green Boys Can Jump

Summary:
October 4, 2014: Just a moment of calm conversation between two people.

Keith and Miguel's apartment

The apartment is not spacious, but it is adequare for what it is: a place for
two young upcoming heroes. The most noticeable thing is that, aside from two
futons, a book case and some personal effects and essential pieces of
furniture such as clothing storage, the apartment itself is rather Spartan in
its furnishings. It makes sense, in a way, since the owners can create any
piece of furniture they want or need and then simply dismiss it.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
You Make Me


Rule One about being a post-graduate student: Your advisers think you are their slaves. Even when you're not. It does very little good to complain: They WILL make you student-teach a course. For Gar Logan, this has been 'Zoology' and the class, despite being an 8am Tuesday/Thursday class, has been very well attended because for some reason, the students seem to think there will be a superhero there. Unfortunately, Gar stopped wearing the stupid purple mask thing when he was still a 12-year-old Beast Boy, and his greenitude has been an identifying factor. Now, there ARE other green people around, but it's like one in 50 million in the USA, so that means four, maybe five. This means the students had an extremely good chance of being correct. And they were.

This morning, Gar graded the first set of homework papers. They were not good. They were worlds of not good. They were inaccurate, incompetent, incomplete, inchoate, incorrect, incomprehensible, incredible, and inept. Except the ones that were tolerable. But somehow the basic concepts of zoology were completely escaping the majority of students there, and fully half were writing a creationist treatise that was … well, they were quoting the same tracts. And Gar was not happy about that part because it looked a lot like the Universal Church of Humanity — the one Graydon Creed was so big in — had been successful in replacing the texts in Texas, Oklahoma, and much of the rest of the South and Midwest with their versions.

"Is it bad that I want to go on a book-burning spree?" Gar asks, rhetorically, pacing in Keef's living room. "I mean, it would take a lot of time to find and destroy 'em and I'd have to break into too many private homes, because the special chumpkins are home-schooled by and large."

Keith watches his boyfriend pace while sitting on the floor, cross-legged, the book in his hands closed and his index finger pressed between the pages as an impromptu marker.

He's taken a look at some of the papers as Gar graded them. He provided him with food and coffee and other vittles while he graded, so he wouldn't have to worry about any of that, and he flipped through a few. Even if he himself didn't know anything about zoology, it was clear that these kids were on the same page as he was (the table of contents, to be precise) and they shouldn't be.

"Now, now, I've met plenty of sane home-schooled folks, hon. But they're the ones who fly under the radar because they're sane. You get these dorkbells who are visible, though, and that taints the whole thing."

He raises an eyebrow and a corner of his mouth curls up in a half-smile. "I can't blame you for feeling how you feel, though. Goodness knows I would be just like that in your position." he slowly gets to his feet, feeling still sore all over from the beatdown he got from that magician at the Museum last night. He had no new injuries, but he had one heck of a shiner from where he smacked himself against one of the exhibit cases, and bruises elsewhere from taking tumbles and being tossed around by spells.

"You're hurt again. Don't think I didn't notice," Gar says frowning. "I will be punishing you by massaging you with the special herbal lotion after I finish ranting, and enter the summaries. But so you know, the ratio of idiocy from home-schooled to the ratio of idiocy from public-schooled is noticeably higher in this particular group because they self-select their science courses to be bullshit. I know it's not universally true, but this class seems to be more special."

Gar hooks up his headset on his laptop, opens a transcriber session, and starts reading the papers and grades. It takes three minutes or so, during which time the dramatic reading of names and grades is probably something worthy of an off-broadway performance or perhaps a piece of stand-up. But it works; the names and grades register, and it's done.

"Get thee to the futon, oh injured one," Gar says dramatically. He pulls a small jar of something that smells like the evil cross between garlic, mint, and a bottle of mentholated petroleum jelly.

"And take off the shirt and pants. You may leave your shorts on but only briefly."

"Yessir!" Keith says, his face wearing that half-smile of his as he slips out of his shirt and pants, down to his briefs. "Have you thought that maybe you've gotten an unusual number of non-majors taking the class because, well…" he wrinkles his nose at the smell, but reclines down on the futon, head propped on a pillow, "Maybe they just want to get a chance to be inthe same room as Beast Boy-cum-Changeling? It's a silly reason to pay hundreds of dollars for a course. But… hey. Some of us do stupid things to get the attention of someone we like, you know? Some people attend courses. Other people just… you know, try to keep their attraction quiet and hope they get noticed. And then it turns out they've been found out from day one"

And then he adds, "And no, getting injured is not one of them. I totally would've had that stupid wizard last night if he hadn't gotten posessed by the Stick of Doom."

Keith is as fair-skinned as any ginger is expected to be. He does have his fair share of freckles, and bruises have been added to the colorful palette.

"I thought of that. They wanted me to teach a 9am Monday,Wednesday,Friday bio intro class. I refused. Anyway, the class is only four or five larger than it was last year, so it's not much hero-worship. I do have one or two 'eager young things' but they aren't that bad," Gar says, kneeling next to the futon. He obviously missed whatever Keith was saying about 'being found out from day one' or he'd be … oops. Yeah, he heard it, because the hands are COLD.

Which probably feels good after the initial shock since Gar's laying the herbal-reinforced unguent over the bruises and abrasions first…

It feels like having minty electricity applied. This is the stuff Gar uses when he gets injured, apparently something he learned from his first foster-father in Africa.

"Gnnnrrryah!" Keith says, jumping a bit at the initial cold, but slowly becoming more accustomed to the sensation, exhaling softly. "Oh man… this feels weird. But good. Weirdly good. Hmmmm." He stretches a little, exhaling. The goosebumps subside as comfort increases. He reaches out to stroke Gar's hair with his arm, the rest of him remaining still. And then he smirks, "Hmm, you can stop doing that anytime in the next twenty years. You've got such good hands…" He enjoys feeling Gar's hands. Touch is something from which he was sorely deprived after his mother died, and Keith relishes any moment that Gar is affectionate towards him.

"So how are you going to deal with the issue? Recommend a remedial class, maybe? Though I'm not sure you can require them to take it, which sucks…" He thinks. "When you've got to grade stuff, you can come over here and I'll make you your meals and stuff, anything that will help reduce the rageystress."

Booster Gold heads out to Gotham Arms Apartments.

"I'm going to point out at the beginning of the next class, that we're not testing them on what they learned in highschool, but on what they learn in our class, and that they're required to use our text. If they can't afford it, they can talk to me after class. They have another two weeks before they can't drop," Gar says, opening another jar with a different gunk in it, this one smelling like lemons and fish.

"OK, that stuff has to sit in place for five minutes. Shall I entertain you with the Doom Song, or do you prefer to sit there and let the chemicals burn into you without distraction?"

"Hmm… the burn is… I dunno, it's uncomfortable but soothing? What sort of weird witchcraft do you have in that bottle anyways?" The redhead peeks at Gar.

"You know… I just realized something. And bear with me here… you've offered to pay for my college, you've kept me safe, watch over me, take me out to nice dinners… follow me so far?" He says, doing a very good effort at keeping a straight face.

"It's not witchcraft. It's special herbs from Africa," Gar says, "but yes, I have done those things, so …. what are you getting at?"
Still another few minutes to go before time to change things around…

"Well… and you've taken me to live with you for a bit. And I'm a red-headed orphan." Keith suddenly grins. "… do I get to call you Daddy Warbucks?"
Gar wouldn't hurt him while convalescing, would he? Would he?

Gar smirks. He could never ask Mento that question. Instead he sings at Keef.

"Together at last! Together for ever! We're tying a knot, They never can sever!" (breath) "I don't need sunshine now, To turn my skies TO blue — I don't need anything but you!" … Aww, the five minutes are up. He takes a cloth from the pack and starts wiping off the excess of the previous gunk and shakes the sour-lemon-smelling alcohol-base out into his palm, then spreads it, with a little pressure, over all the skin that's been treated, massaging muscles where there aren't any obvious bruises.

The song brings out a laugh, and then he finds himself turning to putty under Gar's hands, his muscles flexing under his touch to find relief. He'd gotten knocked around like a pinball across several display cases, muscles were sore even where there wasn't any bruising. He lets out a hiss of breath, and then he moans gently feeling the relief from the ache. "You know… if I'm going to be in my underoos, you should too. You'll get that gunk on your uniform and next thing you know it'll have shrunk to a Terrier sweater size after another impromptu wash." He smirks.

"And you can't wear my uniform until I get at least a second one made."

"Oh no. I'm fine. I have an extra. You're just hoping to get me nearly naked for other reasons, and it isn't happening because first, this is your punishment for getting hurt again, and second, you need to rest for a while, not make out," Gar says. "Besides we can do that later."

He finishes the massage part on the back of his victim, and using the 'massage sheet' he laid on the futon, folds part of it over to cover Keef's back, then pulls it over and flips so that Keef is lying on his back, still on the sheet. It's a clever trick.

"Now we repeat with the injuries on the front side," Gar says, and begins spreading the first unguent on the burns he sees on Keith's front. And a lighter mix on the bruises around his eyes, careful not to get too close to the eyelids.

And another shudder at the cold, but he makes sure to stay still while on his back. "Aw… I don't like being punished. It's not my thing." The redhead complains. "Oh, yeah, Booster Gold was at the museum last night. I've told you about him- tight gold pants? He saved my ass last night, actually. That wizard send me smacking against display cases and then shot me out like a cannonball at one of the walls. If Booster hadn't caught me…" he pauses. "Well… at the speed I was going…"

"I've seen the webpages. The man does seem to get lots of good shots of his ass in gold tights," Gar notes. "Almost as if he had a special camera following him around."

With another few minutes before the poultice is done setting on the front-side bruises, the Changeling moves to the feet abd begins a fairly strong foot massage, not soft enough to be ticklish, but not hard enough to break bones. Someone has been practicing, apparently. That, or it comes naturally. He may be temporarily a gorilla while he does this.

"That would be Skeets. Apparently he comes from the future and has an-OoooooooOf!" Keith arches his back. It's not pain, but from trying not to laugh and kick at Gar. It seems the redhead is rather ticklish there (revenge?), aside from the fact that the kind of relief from extremely tense, abused foot muscles can often give the same reaction as a strong tickling attack. And if anyone puts a lot of stress on his feet, it's Mr. jumping-around-rooftops-while-barefoot.

"Aaaah… Oh god… I didn't even know I needed this…" he grabs at the blankets, to keep himself from kicking until the muscles are relaxed enough. Soon, though, he is exhaling and no longer having that reaction, so he starts melting.

And then he thinks. "Wait a minute, Why are you looking up Booster's ass online?" Eyebrow.

"Not specifically his ass. He's been self-promoting rather hard, so my usual find-and-forward setup has been noticing him a lot," Gar says. "It's also been noticing you, by the way."

He waits for the referred tension to go away, then he's moving back up to clear off the bruise cream and put on more of the citrus finisher… the massage is every bit as much into the deep muscle as Gar did on the other side, but he's aware of anatomy so there's not any actual injury as such.
"ROK, now that you've done that," Gar says, "You need to sleep for ten minutes."

He pulls the sheet back over, and lies on the other half of the bed, turning into a python for bolstering purposes. His phone will PING in fifteen minutes.

"Why has it been noticing me?" Keith asks, frowning a little. He forgets to use his words afterwards, though, with the deep tissue massage. He vocalizes, mostly. When Gar instructs him to sleep, he's not that far from it, having reached a level of relaxation he hadn't known in years. "Mmk…" he says, and in very few moments he is falling into unconsciousness.

Fifteen minutes shouldn't be long enough for him to enter REM, but there is such a thing as Guests in his head.

++Daddy Warbucks. Really?++

He spends the next fifteen minutes in his sleep trying to explain the humor to the Cait. He's mostly unsuccessful.

And then the alarm goes off. The thing about the "spa" treatment is that it does actively stimulate healing, and the herbal components send chemical messages into the muscles and skin to reduce inflammation and speed repair, while the citrus-scented rub is an odd balancing agent that also works as a bit of an antiseptic on the abrasions. Gar-thon slithers off the bed, growing a human torso, and slides into the kitchen to make some tea. He has a mix of the stuff.

"We'll need to do some training soon. Oh, and the paperwork is in place on the base. I'm hoping I can get a couple other sponsors. The Dayton Group funding is mostly coming from me, and that's tying up my re-investments."

Keith blinks a couple of times as the alarm goes off, and finds himself too much in the 'zone' to push off the bed just yet. But some things do call his attention.

"Really? We'll get the base?" He sounds excited at the prospect, but when Garfield talks about the money, he ponders for a moment.

"Actually… can you make it to the meet and greet tomorrow with Rand? I mean, we've got a billionaire willing to train us… why not see if he can fund us as well?" He closes his eyes for a moment, basking in the sensation of his relaxed body. And then he jerks awake- no sleep, no sleep. Get up. He reluctantly does so, sitting up on the futon is as far as he's going to go for a minute or two.

Gar nods, and says, "Sure. I'm happy to share. I'm gonna talk to the Bat as well, maybe also to a few others, folks with a vested interest."

The hot water pot hisses and steams, and he pours it into the pot with the mix of special tea. This isn't one that needs to be in a superheated pot, so the cool ceramic simply allows the water to reach the right temperature.

"Stay where you are for a moment." Gar slithers back out to the living room with the teapot and two cups. The smell of the tea is building slowly as steam wafts through the pour spout.

"I'm not really very mobile right now. My body feels like it's made of spaghetti and it feels so good…" Keith keeps his eyes half-closed. "Man. Have I been walking around as a ball of tension and stress and not really noticed?" he sniffs, trying to place the scent of the tea.

"Yes, and that's part of why you've been getting hurt. You need to spend time relaxing. When you're purple and furry you need to spend at least ten minutes purring, for your own health," Gar says, pouring a small cup of the tea. There's no strainer; a few tea leaves manage to escape. The smell is jasmine, ginger, golden hyacinth, green and red and white cha leaves, and a bit of anise blossom. There's also traces of saigon cinnamon.

"That smells heavenly…" Keith mutters, smelling the scent. "How come you know so much about being a cat and I don't? Do you get, you know, instant knowledge about the animal you turn into?" It had been a question Keith had meant to ask for a while, but had always forgotten. "Because if that's so, I need to sit down with a notepad and take notes. When I become Vorpal, there are some things I just know… about my powers. The acrobatic thing comes second nature, but I don't have any little flags that pop up that tell me what I need to do."

"I'm not sure where it all comes from. Partly from having practiced for years, partly from instinct, and partly from 'this is what a cat is' when I select the change," Gar says. He returns to human form, kneeling in seiza, so he can metabolize it properly without having his temporary snake parts do weird things.

"You probably lost some of that when you merged - Cait Sith is not quite a cat in the usual sense, but I can find something pretty close to what he was in order to shift into it - but I wouldn't become THE Cait Sith, just A Cait Sidhe, which is a slightly different beast."

"I'd rather you didn't. I get the impression the Cait Sidhe wasn't exactly nice when he was free. I think I'm sort of his anchor, and he sort of makes me more… well, all that showing off stuff that got me hit, it sort of comes from that part of me. I didn't use to have that." Keith takes the offered cup and sips it . "I've seen how you keep a little bit of a creature after you've been them, I am not sure it'd be good for you to be a fairy cat known for being fearsome and terrorizing most of the British Isles." Keith grins.

He slides off the futon and sits on the floor, cross-legged. "So… I've been thinking. About that college thing you talked about."

"And have you made a decision?" Gar asks. He flickers his tongue into the tea quickly, with a bit of leftover python, just to tease Keef.

Keith laughs. "I do know I want to go, but again… you know I don't ask you how much money you make. It's for a reason, Gar. I know you're… probably very wealthy, I mean everything indicates that you are. But I kind of feel- well." He smirks. "It's hard for me to know what to study, I don't really have a driving passion, outside of what I currently do, so I don't know what I'd gel with. I don't want to waste your money just toodling around to see if anything sticks- there's girls that have dated you just for the status of it and I'm not them. But I would feel close to being that dirty if I spent your money foolishly like that. I'd ask you how you knew what you wanted to study… but would I be wrong in assuming your powers were a big part of the interest?"

Gar can't tell Keith about the time he brought Dick home and the Ward of Bruce Wayne was boggled at the size of his (stepdad's) house. He made all the jokes, but it didn't really detox things. He's pretty sure that it would mean about as much to the Cait Sidhe as it did to Gar - something extremely convenient and useful as a tool, but not really a defining part of his self-image as such. Yeah, insanely rich by some standard of insanity.

"I'm not worried that you're out to rip me off. On the other hand, I can completely understand your reservations, because I had them myself, when I first met my adoptive parents." The green guy pours more tea. "So, yeah, it was partly the powers, and partly… I went into acting because Mom - my adoptive Mom - was an actress. My first parents were biologists, and I have my powers making that even more so."

"I guess I just want us to work out, you know?" Keith smiles, holding the cup in his hands. "And I don't want bad decisions getting in the way. You know, Gar, you're the best thing that has happened to me in a very long time. I'd like to take some time and make sure I'm doing the right things to keep our relationship strong before I throw in a crazy variant like college and you funding me. It's a lot of responsibility, and I want to be ready for it." He reaches over to stroke Gar's cheek with the back of his hand.

"Am I crazy? Mom didn't really have a career, she worked as a tailor. She was very good but… nothing really that I liked. She never mentioned what it was that dad did, either. I'm afraid he must have been someone who couldn't keep a job." He tilts his head. "Sometimes I worry that I might turn into him."

"You never met your dad?" Gar's not sure which is worse, never having a (human) father and having had whatever the Sidhe had (probably something rather distant and violent), or having lost two of them and nearly losing the third to madness and estrangement. He leans into the hand and smiles.

"Our old friends Nature vs Nuture, then, heavily modified by self-examination and introspection. You probably have a lot of him in you, but you are so determined not to be a bad person that I think you've probably avoided many of his flaws."

Keith's hand remains there, and strokes Gar's cheek. It's a small gesture, but it communicates a lot. "He was dead by the time I was three. Mom says he died in a plane accident but- it doesn't really mesh. I never found any mention of a plane crash in that year and month."

"I probably overthink things a lot. You've noticed, I know. But it's only because inside me I've got a … very, very chaotic voice. Sometimes I get rather bad advice from it, and I need to think. Sometimes the advice is very good- he told me I should tell you from day one." Keith smirks. "But most of the time, I have to think about things a little if I have time, to make sure it's the right course of action. During those four years… well. There wasn't a lot to think about. Just work, eat, go to bed. Now that I'm back in the world of the living… well, it probably makes me rather boring, doesn't it?"

"Well… you've also been in shock and grieving, Keef. And some of the weirder things you've been told to do were probably because you were in a rut, and there's nothing that a chaotic cat would hate more than being part of a rut." Gar pours fresh tea and adds more hot water to the pot. Second pot smells different, less sharp, but mellower and earthier.

"The other thing is, you were alone. It is NOT GOOD for humans to be entirely alone. It's not even good for Cait Sidhe to be entirely alone, though it's sometimes good for those around them if they were. I personally think a bit more chaos is OK, if it's balanced. So, boring isn't really the right word. Now, your current life. Eat, work, sleep, patrol, cuddle, you need to add more art but other than that, you're definitely making advances. Maybe you'll get 'play' in there soon. I suggest mixing it in with patrol and cuddle, and 'training' is part of play, by the way."

Play. Hmm. "Of course, it makes a lot of sense." Keith looks at Garfield, taking another helping of his tea. "You're wise, my dear Greensleeves. I have been neglecting play a lot." He takes a sip from the tea, appreciating its scent and taste, and then thinks. "I'm all bruised up and I'm supposed to rest and all… but you know, I used to be okay at basketball at one point." He grins. "… what do you think we start our training with a bit of agility?"

"White boys don't jump. But I'm GREEN. You got a basketball? Never mind, we can get one."

Tea is over, Gar helps Keef back to his feet and throws a pair of sweats at him from his own drawers; his "costume" works fine for that purpose. They will at least play Horse. And not the shapeshifty way.


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