When everything that ticked has stopped-

Summary:
October 14, 2014: The morning after It was not death, for I stood up, there is some discussion of what to do with Keith's condition.

Keith and Miguel's Apartment

The apartment is not spacious, but it is adequate 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:
So Ghostly Then The Girl Came In


Keith's dreams are forgettable. This has been the first time since his transformation that this has happened. He has also been out for sixteen hours, coming back to the waking world (such as it is for him) at around one o'clock in the afternoon. At first he feels a little uncertain as to the circumstances surrounding his being here, but then his memory catches up to his waking self.

The druids had caught up to him and a glass sword had been thrust into his chest. Vorpal was dead (or…?) and the Cait Sidhe had been set free into the world to cause chaos and mayhem.

And, oh, yeah, he was technically dying because he was now separated from what had become his source of spiritual nourishment since becoming Vorpal.

He groans and looks around the apartment, trying to figure out if there was anyone around, or hints as to their whereabouts. His throat feels parched and his head aches. "Must be Monday…" he mutters.

Gar is not a mage, but he's seen ritual magic done before, and so he has laid out a circle of salt around Keith's futon. It's very faintly active, in the defensive mode. Not to imprison the unlikely Chaos manifestation - just to keep out disruptions that would make him drain out faster. Whether or not it works, it may help stabilize the situation for the severely partitioned Mr. O'Neil. He also has provided some herb tea of a particularly invigorating blend - one of the special blends he learned in Africa from his second father who wasn't a witch-doctor, but everyone said he was. Bigots.

Once he sees that Keith is awake he sits next to him, offering the tea, slightly cooled, in a sipper-bottle.

"Hey. I've called your job, and they know you've been injured by supervillain crossfire, so you're OK until you recover. I've also gotten a sub for my classes. I'll worry about my own studies later. So far, I haven't heard anything that sounds like your other half is loose. But those soon-to-be-re-extinct bastards probably haven't finished toying with him yet," Changeling says, a sort of venomous growl-bark in that last sentence around the word 'extinct'.


Miguel has been incommunicado for like 24 hours, working triple back-to-back shifts at the restaraunt under the gaze of a kitchen manager who thinks no-one under thirty should own a cell phone - so they are banned for the staff and thus the grumbling young Titan has heard of none of this. He slots his key into the lock and pushes open the door, a bag of doggy-bags from the eatery in one hand, a steaming hot coffee in the other, and thus he's apparently worked the lock with his feet. Or two tiny purple blocks of force.

"Keith, I got the juice," he says as he turns into the kitchenette, and begins to put up stuff. Hearing voices he sticks his head out, and blinks. "Gar, hey and hey, what's with all the is that salt all over the floor, annnnnd what's wrong?" he says. "Keith?"

Kate has ways of hearing things. One of the benefits of keeping in touch with several different groups of heroic sorts. And given news around town lately, she's been keeping her ears open for word of strange events. So when she heard something had happened in Gotham, she headed out to meet her friends on that side of things, texting Keith and Gar. « Hey, you guys home? Heard something went down, wanted to check in. »


Miguel's apartment… er… isn't warded against magic. Which means it's possible for is it for a certain Old Wolf to open a Way and step through. At least he's not furry or the size of an eighteen wheeler at the moment. Nor is he brandishing a scary magical sword. He is still throwing off creepy big bad wolf vibes like it's going out of style though. "Hello." He says as he comes through the rend in space and time. "My apologies for just dropping in. I wanted to see how the young one was doing." They're all young, of course but only one's in trouble.

Keith stares at Gar for a few seconds as new information is thrown his way. He's just woken up, so it takes him a few seconds to finally assimilate. He takes the bottle and looks at it, and then at the circle of salt surrounding the futon. Then back at Gar, who was clearly in TCOB mode at warp nine. "Gar… I need to talk to you. About what happened. Can we talk?" Because he figures that he's got things to say, and better to do them now that the whole weight of it hasn't really sunk in.

His phone buzzes and he looks at the message. It's Kate. Okay… what on earth does he say in one message that can sum up more or less what went down?

«Things have gone to hell in a handbasket. We're at the apt.»
"Anyways, I'd like to—" and Miguel comes in. Usually, Keith is delighted to see his room-mate, but just like Kate, he's not entirely sure how to tell things to his fellow Titan. He reaches out to grab Gar's hand and-

And there's an Apocalypse Wolf in the room. On two legs, but a wolf is a wolf is a wolf. Keith gives Fenris a rather unsuccessful smile and says, "Hello, Fenris… I'm awake. But that's about it."

"The salt is there to provide a very mild barrier to magical noise," Gar tells Miguel, "Sort of like curtains on a sick-room door."

He texts back to Kate, «Yeah. Keith has lost his elf-cat. It's critical but not immediate.»

"OK, this appears to be visiting hours. We can talk in a bit, unless it's urgent," Gar says to Keith.

Miguel leaves off putting things up by the simply means of shoving everything into the fridge and then vaulting the kitchenette bar to go over to the edge of the salt cirle. He's about to open his mouth with The Wolf walks in. The talking Wolf. Purple blocks start to form out of the air, until he sees neither of the others are reacting badly to this. And Keith greets it. Blocks pop back into nothingness, and he crouches opposite Gar, not dring yet to touch his friend. "Dude, what?" he says, to Keith, once Gar explains and then texts.

Kate makes her way up to the apartment in short order, knocking at the door. "Hey, it's Kate," she calls in. "You guys unlocked? You shouldn't be, you know, it's not safe. But in case you've got the door trapped or anything, I'm not going to try the lock."


The door, Fenris is relatively certain, isn't trapped. But then he uses them so seldom, he'd not know. Still, by way of an answer he snaps his rod up and blows enough wind from Kate's side to open the thing. It might slam. A little.

"Ah if it isn't Freya's lost daughter." The Old Wolf jokes gently. "Come in. Keith I may be able to ease the sensation of fatigue and… hollowness. It won't grant you any more time, but it may allow you to make better use of it, for a while. Will you permit me?"

The young man looks at Gar, and then nods, "Yeah, we can talk after-" and then he turns his attention to everybody else, taking a sip from the tea bottle.

"Miguel, Kate. I'm sort of kind of, well… dying. Fading away."

An intrigued look at Fenris, followed by a nod, "Please, feel free. Although the constant mention of my impending doom may not do a lot to ease the fatigue," he retorts with a rather sour expression.

He knows he's left things unexplained to his two other friends, so he quickly adds, "Got the Cait Sidhe cut out from me. He's loose out in the world, and without him I'm sort of… yeah."

It's possible that these people have never really seen Gar Logan when he's truly angry. He has become rather angry over this debacle. His eyes, for instance, are backlit red, most of the time, even without red light to reflect. His teeth are sharper, he's shaggier, and he's emitting a vibe that one generally only finds in members of two species: the wolverine and the honey badger.

"Yeah, I am definitely not going to just let this happen," Gar says to Mig and Kate. He looks up at Fenris, when he makes his offer. "Will it make him burn out faster?"

Miguel frowns at this news, the perpetually sunny youngster apparently knowing when to be serious after all. "We'll beat this," he says, jaw firm. "We just need to find your cat and stuff him back inside you, correct?"


"Like hell you are," Kate snorts to Keith's announcement, stepping up to the salt circle and crouching just outside of it. There's a brief smile for Fenris, a nod for Miguel, and Gar…gets a little extra space as she walks over. "C'mon, Keith. Impossible is sort of our thing. Also, seriously. How many magicians do you have on your contacts list?"

Fenris steps carefully across the circle of salt. Without any reinforcements it's not strong enough to keep someone like him out. He raises his hands which begin to glow veridian green. The magic he's using is similar to that of the Druids, but rather than tapping the Green for power, he's tapping his own nature. Though linked with the apocalypse, he is a God-Wolf and thus all things wild have some connection to him.

The light begins to stream into Keith, filling him with vitality. Fenris can't replace the missing parts of his soul, can't give him more time. But make him feel more alive? That he can do.

Keith exhales as Fenris' magic works over him. It is remarkable, the things magic can do- he begins to look better almost immediately, more alive and less pale. It's only seeming and feeling, but it does help some.

"Thank you, Fenris," Keith says quietly, "My debt keeps growing, it seems."

Gar's anger causes a look of concern and not too little shame to cross Keith's features. It was precisely that anger that he wanted to talk about, and his involvement in it. He looks down at his bottle and takes another sip, sparing a wan smile for Miguel and Kate.

"Yeah. Gotta fix this. Rain went out to look for John Constantine… I haven't heard from her since, which worries me. We need to send someone to look for Doctor Strange. Zatanna and Zachary haven't checked back yet. I hope Shadowcrest hasn't eaten them," he says, a weak attempt to lighten the subject, but in retrospect a bad choice. He touches a hand to Gar's shoulder.

"There's time, so that's at least something, right?"

Gar looks bleakly at Miguel, offering the simple expedient solution. It's one that he's considered, but there's one drawback.

"Yeah, just stuff him back… Except at the moment the Cait Sith is kind of a monster in the classic sense, and has no desire to be stuffed back inside him. He's like that feral cat that you hand-tame and then one day he accidentally gets out and he's off getting every queen-cat knocked up and fighting with every tom, and spraying every dog's favorite tree, and then he either gets hit by a car or savaged by wild animals unless you can lure him back, but he doesn't want to come inside because he knows he won't get out again," Gar rasps. Rasps. He's so close to going snikt-crazy that he's even rasping instead of talking. And that wolf nearby is not helping, tugging on the wilder parts of the Red…

and elsewhere, the Parliament of Bones is still outraged at the way the Parliament of Trees has failed to prevent these depredations from the Green side into the Red that has given them power over animals, a power they have not paid for.

"Fenris, were you able to find this Doctor Strange person? I couldn't find him anywhere," Gar asks, once the glowing fades. He leans into Keith, and offers him an attempted smile.

Miguel sits back on his haunches and regards the old Wolf, watching the wild man pour power into his friend. He bites his lip, and absorbs what the others are telling him, his dark brows slightly knitted as he considers the problem. "All gatos want something; we need to find what it wants, and use that to lure it back. Set a trap for it, except the trap is Keith," he ponders out loud. "Mystical catnip, or something like it?"

Kate arches a brow at Gar, wary. "Heck of a metaphor, there," she drawls, pushing a hand through her hair. "But cats are still cats. Make it curious enough, put out the right can of food, and you might be able to bring it back." She points a thumb at Miguel, nodding approvingly with a wry smile. "Keith, you've been sharing a body and a mind with it for years, right? What sort of things always drew it out of your mind before?"


The spell ends, though it leaves Fenris looking briefly a little leaner, his features more lupine. There's a sense that it's only a seeming, a veil, that they're seeing. The human that stands with them isn't real, and even the fact that he looks that way is a fragile illusion at best. Drawing upon his divinity tears the veil and lets the predator within show through. But then it's gone and he is Jeremiah Wolfson once more, tall, dark and scary.

"I have begun to hunt for him. I know he has a Sanctum here in New York, however I have not been able to get a message to him, nor locate him outside it." He shakes his head. "Wizards are often like that."

"Yeah, they're all like that. It's the 'mysterious' bit in their contract," Keith comments… and then he looks at Gar. That he leans on him is a good sign, and Keith takes full advantage of that by sliding his hand from one shoulder to the other, effectively putting an arm around his boyfriend.
"Hey," he whispers quietly and quickly, with a gentle tone, "I need you here, okay?"- if anyone overheard, it would sound like an extremely selfish and thoughtless thing to say to the man who has done so much for him, and who continues to do so much. But there's a motive for it- Keith's concerned about Gar's anger, and how his anger might trigger him to do something where he would end up hurting himself.

That's what happened, after all, to Keith. He was heedless enough to think the druid had killed Garfield and he let the feline side take over, full of rage. His guard had been down, and they just slipped that sword through him.

When Kate speaks, though, it draws his attention. "Six months, actually… but now that you mention it, he is a fae, and he is true to his nature. Riddles… he loves riddles. Can't resist them. He's also a creature of chaos… he can't help but meddle. Every time I'd walk to work, I'd pass by that fancy store where they sell all the fine crystal? I'd have to resist the urge to knock down their fine wine goblets display… all arranged neatly like that, in a pyramid. He doesn't like things like that. Wants to make them different. I guess that's his catnip?"

"I know, I'm not going anywhere without you," Gar says quietly. He looks up and shrugs to the others.

"So that's an example of what to look for, I guess. Things that are highly lawful, or puzzling, or too orderly." Like his lab at the university, Gar thinks. Going to have to find a way to fae-proof that… some cold iron might do the trick.

Miguel shoots a concerned look at Gar, as well, then back to Keith. "So… logically, it would look for the most orderly place in the city, escept it's not that kind or order it wants." He tries to think, remember what little he's ever read of magic and such. "The museum of science. It's practically a temple to order and the idea that we can order things the way we want them to. Solve the riddles of the universe. It might head there, to inflict a little chaos…"

"Sounds reasonable to me," Kate nods to Miguel. "And then the next question, of course, is how we actually put the cat back in the bag once we've got him." She grimaces, looking back to Fenris. "You don't really…that's not the sort of thing you have a problem with, is it?"

"The Cait may also target symbols or agents of order. Courthouses, Police, SRD, City Hall. Of course, it may equally target the mafia. Criminals impose their own kind of order. It'd absolutely love/hate the derranged people who run around in Bat costumes around here. It's not going to have a shortage of targets."

Kate's question gets a quirk of the brow. "Is it something I would object to, or is it something I could accomplish?"

"In other words, if it's going down.. it's gonna go down in Gotham, because everything is weird." Keith nods. "As for putting humpty dumpty back together… last night he said something about mirrors, conduits, something like that. It sounds like something a wizard would know, so we need to find one fast, or someone with a library. John Constantine has a library. No, he has the mother of all libraries, and all her sisters living under one roof. If anyone could find something, it could be him."

A pause. "So that means we need to do research somehow. Maybe that Pezzini lady's withcknife knows something of that sort of magic, too…" the redhead pauses and looks at Kate. "Robin was supposed to look for her, but it won't hurt if two people look. Unless… you've got any magicky friends you'd like to ring up…"

Raven could be an option, but Raven was more along the lines of demons, not the fae. He couldn't think of anything less fae-like than Raven.

Kate points a thumb toward Fenris. "He's really the only magic sort I know," she admits. "Him, and your magic friends. Which is a lot of people in aggregate, but maybe not the exactly what we're looking for. And," she continues to Fenris, "I meant more the…" She pauses, making a face. "I don't get the feeling you really suffer from the whole dual nature thing."

"The Zataras also have a massive library in Shadowcrest, I've heard them mention it. And they might also know this Strange person," Gar says.

The green guy leans into Keith again, nudging him to sip from that tea, because it also will help, and he considers the people he knows. Unfortunately he's originally from a team of science heroes — weird science, but science nonetheless. He considers borrowing his stepdad's helmet again, but that thing messes him up if he uses it for more than a few seconds.

Fenris shakes his head. "Not in the same manner, Kate of the Lightning Arrows." Yes, Fenris is teasing her by playing with sobriquetes and false lineages. "I have a single nature that I must conceal from others so that they do not, for example, run screaming down the street whenever I appraoch. The problem is similar in some ways, but the similarites are largely superficial."

"Running screaming down the streets when you approach. I get the same thing when I haven't had my morning coffee," Keith says. Hey, at least some sense of humor is a good sign, right? At the nudge he sips the tea slowly, making sure not to drink too quickly.

"Thank you for checking up on me…" a little strange, to be honest. He's not used to it, having lived like a hermit for so long. He looks up at Fenris. "You'll let us know if you find either wizard, right? At this point, anyone with a wand will do. A real wand, mind you."

"I'm going to make a few calls," Kate muses, straightening from her crouch next to the circle. "See if I can get some useful information here. But you're going to be okay, Keith," she nods firmly to the former cat.


"The lightning arrows. Also the lightning exits," Gar notes, as Kate manages to leave the apartment without slamming the door this time.

"I don't know what the big deal is with people running screaming. I've gotten that many times, it's just like applause."

"I rather like it not to be accompanied by the marshalling of armies and such. It's such a hassle." Fenris chuckles. "Would you two like some privacy?" The Old Wolf knows that look, and that talk. He is, after all, over twenty centuries on this world. "I can see myself out if you'd like."

"Only if it won't be rude," Keith speaks frankly. Having a timer over you makes you realize the need for honesty. "If I make it out of this alive, you are going to have to call in all the favors that I owe you before it becomes too big a debt." Keith smiles, standing up a little slowly and holding out his hand to Fenris.

"I am sorry that my foolishness has landed this trouble on your lap," because it had been Fenris who told him not to act on his fear. And look where he was now.

"Actually, I think it's the foolishness of whoever managed to bring back the Snake-Eating-Its-Own-Ass cult," Gar says, "and if I get the chance to meet them, I will be sure to thank them just the right way."

He smiles at Keith, eyes still a bit red-glowy, and very carefully remains as human as he can. Because his beast forms reveal a lot about what he's thinking.


Fenris takes Keith's hand and shakes it firmly. "Do not apologise. Some foolishness is endemic to being mortal, or mostly so. Your own William Shakespear said it best. I shall endevor to keep the Cait contained and find this Doctor Strange for you. Both are likely to be tall orders. I should wish you luck, but the Norns have a cruel sense of humor. Rather, then, I shall wish you courage and skill. You shall have need of both, but I do not think you shall be found wanting." And with that, the one who is fated to be the Destroyer turns, opens a way, and is gone.


Keith waits until Fenris departs. Then he turns around and kneels in front of Gar, careful to stay within the circle of salt. Resting his hands on the green guy's knee, he breathes a little and then says "Gar… we've got to talk." Now, before, oh, Batman comes through the window, or Wonder Woman knocks at the door with a pizza, or something of that sort. His eyes are fixed on Gar's red-glowy eyes. Keith's own eyes are paler than before- the same shade of green as a human's, no longer the vivid wild green they used to be.

"Yes, we do. You go first though," Gar says. His eyes would be green if they could, it's just that deeper tap into his power… and he hasn't rested, not really. He stayed human, but he didn't sleep deeply, he didn't sleep long, and he spent the morning phoning and talking to people who could do what was needed. He's apparently not tired, either. Possibly drawing on some animal aspect he's not precisely revealed.

"First things first, this is my fault. Yeah, the Circle and whomever brought them back are the primary movers, but last night I did something incredibly stupid." Full disclosure, he doesn't want anything hanging between them. If there's going to be a problem, it is best that it be dealt with right away. "I thought you were dead, and I lost it. I just dropped the reins and pointed myself at that Druid, thinking- no, I wasn't thinking."

Keith presses his lips into a thin line, and continues, "I should have trusted that you could handle yourself but I gave into fear, and it brought ruin."

He looks away from the other at this point, finding the circle of salt particularly interesting. " 'I'm sorry' doesn't really cut it, though. Not only have I doomed myself, but It's also harming you. And I see you are angry and I fear for what you might do, thinking it might help."

Gar shakes his head. "You acted out of rage and pain. That's human. You don't get to blame yourself for anything I do, and you don't get to let your imagination run wild trying to think of the many horrible ways I could die because I dramatically lose control of myself. I will tell you what I plan to do, and you get to veto it if it's stupid, if you can explain why it's stupid, and I'll listen. I'm angry, yes, but I'm not a Jedi, I won't fall into the dark side because of love and anger."

Gar hugs Keith close, and looks at the circle. It looks different to him than ordinary salt - he looked at it with the eyes of insects, of birds, and the echo of a bat, and it does have an effect. It's more peaceful inside. Watching it from outside, it looks like random noises, surges, flashes, all touch it but what goes inside is calm. Gar speaks quietly.

"I accept any apology you need to make, and forgive you anything you truly did that might harm me. I apologize for any hurt I've given you as well."

Keith hugs Gar back, tightly. There is a muted sniffle, and one hand comes up to stroke the back of Gar's head. "You don't need to apologize for anything. Even if you had to, you'd be forgiven. I love you."

He stays holding Gar tightly, and then finally asks after letting his emotions calm down, "What do you plan to do?"

"It depends. I plan to do whatever it takes to keep you safe and alive for as long as possible. And I don't intend to lock you up here in a ring of salt just because it's quieter. But I also think it's going to be bad out there, the Cait Sith is going to be trying to cause trouble and he probably won't think much about avoiding harm, especially with those dickweed druids inciting him."

Gar looks at Keith, swallows, smiles again. "And eventually, we're going to go after those dickweed druids and give them a very, very, very bad solstice. Or equinox. Whichever works best for us and worst for them."

"Alright," Keith nods. "I can work with that. One modifier, though- do whatever it takes, but come back to me. I don't intend to just fade away just like that, but we're a team. I don't want to die, Gar… I'm terrified," he admits, "But I'm trying to conquer it because there's no time to waste on that crap. Kate is right- we're impossible, there's a chance that we can fix this mess I got us into by working together and being smart. That means…" he gives Gar a look "… actually resting and not burning yourself out. If you don't have anything else to do at the moment- phone or message-wise, you could rest a little. You're looking a little… wily."

Keith smiles though, "And I love part two of the plan. I call dibs on the asshole who called me a prison of flesh."

He looks thoughtful for a second, and then says, "I mean it, though. One of us in mortal danger is just about as much as I can handle right now. Can you hand me the box? The one you brought from the Market? It's in the last drawer of the dresser."

Gar smirks at being called 'wily'… hey, the coyote is one of his role models, although mostly in the 'durability' not the 'success' side of things. He brings out the box, and hands it to Keith.

"Again, not a mess YOU got us into. It's entirely their fault, even if you did lose it for a moment - they would've found a way to zerg-swarm us eventually," the green guy says. "And yes, I will actually get some deeper sleep now that you're out of pain. Couldn't sleep while you were hurting, it just kept me wakeful."


Putting one hand in Gar's, the redhead says nothing but there is a lot expressed in the gesture. With his free hand, Keith opens the box, revealing his mother's herilooms inside: small trinkets, jewelry, some photographs, the things that they preserved from that alternate-universe Titan Tower. It had been Gar's gesture of venturing into a dangerous realm to find something that would preserve his mother's memories so they would not fade away with the tower that moved Keith to kiss Garfield in an impulse. In a way, things had kicked into higher gear for them that night.

Letting go of Gar's hand to get to work, he reaches into the box and takes out a necklace with a locket, which he opens to reveal a lock of hair as red as his- his mother's. This lock he instead places pressed between two photographs. There is a small pair of scissors inside, which he used to cut some of the white frames of the photographs so they would fit better, this pair he grabs at the same time that he grabs a hold of a handful of his own hair.

*snip*

It's done quickly, and Keith quickly twirls the hair into a lock, stuffing it into the locket.

"Even if the worst were to happen," he says, "and I… run out. And I am not saying that this is going to happen… but if it were to happen." He twirls the scissors to change his grip, and with one of the tips he opens a small line on his right thumb with a wince, several drops of blood falling into the locket and the hair. "… what little I have read of this sort of thing… this is in case I am no longer here, Garfield." Keith looks at the green man, closing the locket and placing it back into the box, "I'm not letting go. Know that right here, in this box, there's something of me that will still be here even if I disappear- kept safe by this token from you. I know that you will find a way to use these to bring me back. If I go."

And then he leans over and plants a kiss on Gar, holding him close after closing the box. "But that's not going to happen, okay? We'll fix this and then we'll kick ass. I just want you to know it's there. Just in case."

Gar smiles, and his eyes stop being red for a brief instant, and he whispers, "Thank you. And yes. We will."

The red comes back, but it's hidden, because Gar pulls Keith close and falls asleep. There's still plenty of tea, and Gar will have to let go eventually, but for now he's catching up.


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