The price of success

Summary:
<November 19, 2014>: Vorpal arrives home after putting the Joker away. Gar has a surprise for him.

The Titan's Castle
Still a castle


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
Wow-Kate Bush


The euphoria of catching a famous criminal is exhilarating. It lasts quite a bit, especially when you're a 'rookie' hero who is on the up-and-up. And who has pictures of tabledancing splashed all over the internet.

That euphoria is short-lived, however, when said hero remembers that he took on the Joker by himself. And that there is a certain someone who is bound to have heard of it as soon as the news hit the 'webs, because he has a swearch alert for his name.

It's not that weird, Keith has a search alert for his name as well. It's what hero couples do.

Still, the Cheshire cat makes his way to the castle with apprehension. Coming through the front door is a sure-fire way of being discovered, so instead he climbs over the walls, lands in the courtyard, and Rabbit Holes into the kitchen. The place is dark, not unusual for after midnight… still.

He tiptoes to the fridge. Maybe he can change to his human self using the reflection there?

Not just a search alert. There's that phone thing that keeps waking itself up, the Stalkme app — the one that's been hacked to only tell Gar Logan where that phone is. He's even got the same thing enabled on his phone, if Keith were to actually look for it.

Gar is in the kitchen. In the dark. Waiting.

SPRITZ! A sudden, sharp, WET lash of water and … pine sol?! UGH! … strikes the Cheshire before he can reach the fridge.

"I remember as if it were yesterday," Gar's voice says, "A cat with blood all over him, staggering stoned out of his minds across the rooftops of Gotham. And when I talked him down, the cat was sorry. But this time you went there on purpose."

SPRITZ!! again, this time it misses.

"You went there ALONE. What the hell, Vorp."

Pine sol, the scent was horrible- and the water gave him a shock, making him fall back on his ass as the next spritz hits. He flails to right himself up by grabbing a chair, but only succeeds in falling over with the chair.

And he knows that voice all too well. He'd know that voice anywhere, and what it has to say makes him whimper.

~You didn't think things through~
~You went on impulse, on fury, on rage~
++You turned the reins over to me++

"G-Gar?" he asks, sitting up a little and reeking of pinesol. It's futile to ask, he knows it's Gar of course. But he has to say something while he thinks.

"I'm talking to you too, Cait … You of all beings know how dangerous it is to go after that kind of madness," Gar says, and his voice is slightly roughened. "I know you beat his ass, but people died. They didn't have to. And that whole place was destroyed and it didn't have to be. You went in to punish someone who can't be punished, he isn't capable of learning that way. You messed up, love."

SPRITZ.

"So since common sense apparently doesn't stop you from doing the stupid thing, this time I'm TELLING you. If you ever find yourself thinking you must take revenge, then stop and retreat. Revenge is bullshit. It'll eat you up, it prevents justice, and it never, ever works the way it's supposed to work. You wanted to take revenge for what Joker did to you and what he did to Robin. That's not OK. Revenge isn't for us. We're the good guys. We stop the criminals, the super-nutcases, we don't enable them and try to tease them … not even if we can."

Vorpal brings up his hand to shield himself from the next spritz, but it's not really that bad. It's what Gar is saying that slams down on him like a whip. He retreats , crab-crawling away from the voice until he's against the wall with nowhere else to go. That's where he wraps his arms around his legs and lowers his head, listening to the litany that lays things out in the open, things he hadn't thought about well.

He shuts his eyes and takes a deep breath, biting down on his lip.

Gar puts down the Cat Disciplining Bottle and walks nearly silently over to where Vorpal is curled up. He leans against the wall and slides down it to sit beside the purple cat, legs bent at the knee, arms loosely on the floor on either side, looking into the dark with eyes that work just as well as the Cheshire Cat's. The ambush only worked because he knew that the errant Cheshire would head for the kitchen first.

He looks over at the grey-in-the-dark guy and mutters a faint 'oh dammit' and blows his nose on a tissue he had grabbed on the way. He reaches over with a finger to push gently at the nearest back-of-an-ear.

"You beat his ass. I'm proud of you, but don't do it that way again, please."

"No. You are right," Vorpal says after a few seconds, with a very thin voice. "… I shouldn't have done that. I should have thought more. I should have thought," he brushes his eyes with the back of a hand, blinking quickly. "I'm so stupid."

He went off the edge and he walked a very dangerous path. And people were dead, that was a reality. He turns his head to look at Gar, there's definitely an effort not to cry being made. He overanalyzed things, constantly, and that seemed to cause problems for him. But it seems to have gone worse when he decided to follow his impulse.

"I'm so sorry, Gar," he says, reaching out to put a pine-sol-smelling hand on Gar's cheek. "… I've gone and cocked it all up."

That cheek is already wet … Gar raises a hand to hold the pine-sol-afflicted hand in place on his cheek.

"You are not stupid. You are impulsive, you have a hot temper, your emotional balance has been a little different since you were re-united. But as far as cocked up? Not so much. Nobody innocent died. So. Where's Robin? How's he doing?"

Gar considers asking how Angry Bird is doing, but that… the guy will show up and be underfoot and obnoxious when he wants something. Gar's kind of amused at how thoroughly like Robin-the-first the new kid is, if Robin had really been raised by Deathstroke the Terminator. And sad for Slade, the guy wasn't.

"Don't… don't walk away from the subject like that, Gar," Vorpal says, staying in touch with Gar's hand and cheek and looking at him with equally moist cheeks. "Look… I made you cry," He says, brushing his thumb under Gar's eye. "I'm…"

"I had the police band on. I heard them talk about the explosion," Gar says. He shifts over closer. If he has to endure pine-sol smell, it's his burden to bear since he inflicted it in the first place.

"It was almost a half hour before they said anything about the Joker and you dropping him there."

This leaves the reason for aforementioned eye-leakage to the astute deductive skills of the Vorpal.

"…oh Gar," Vorpal reaches over and pulls Gar tightly, sniffing. "I didn't even think… again, I didn't even."

He imagines the half hour Gar must have spent, and squeezes him tightly against him. He does let out one or two sobs, but quickly tries to find something to address the issue-

"We *sniff* need to get a comm system. So this doesn't happen again."

"I'd rather we just not do the whole 'going off by ourselves in a rage' thing instead," Gar says a bit drily, "But yeah, comms would be good."

He nudges Vorpal after he's done sobbing.

"You. Beat. The. Joker. At least briefly. We are going on Defcon 3 for a while, but hey, you did it. I'm impressed. I'd have a lot harder time doing that. I'd have to do something gross like live in his body or do the brain-slug thing. Blech."

Gar rolls forward, pulling Vorpal up with him, and says, "Lights" — and they come on, dim at first. Apparently someone got the voice-controls running.

The cheshire cat doesn't quite smile, he looks at Gar as they both stand up, and puts his arms around his waist. "I got lucky at amateur hour, that's all. You sell yourself short, Garfield. You are … amazing."

He strokes the green hair as the lights come on.

~I'm going to make this up to you, I swear I will. I'm going to get that necklace for you, no matter what.~

"I won't do this again. Okay?"

"OK," Gar says, and smiles to himself.

"I am such a hypocrite. You know why I don't want you to do this kind of thing?"

Gar opens the fridge and pulls out a gallon of milk, and pours two glasses, then returns it. A single scoop of the "Team Titan Green Animal Kid Chocolate Milk Powder" — really, that's the label on the tin, but it's actually just the same stuff that Nestle makes with a bit of different color and less sugar in it because it's Japanese — goes into each of the glasses.

"Nightcap of champions," Gar says.

Vorpal hehs and takes his glass, looking at his boyfriend with a curious expression. "Why is it that you are a hypocrite? I sense a story coming on." He takes a sip. Not bad.

"I told you about That Spy Girl. Did I tell you that the guy who employed her, the one I decided was to blame for everything, that super-crook that nobody could catch? I caught him. I set him up, let him make all the wrong conclusions, I found out where the money was and where the bodies were buried, and I let him spring the trap on himself, thinking he was getting us… and then because I wanted revenge, I crocked it, blew the whole case, gave bad testimony that got him out, so I could hunt him down again and beat the hell out of him… and it was empty and stupid."

Gar sighs. "I even let myself think he was trustworthy once I realized that SHE had been the one coming on to HIM. Oh man that was stupid."

A purple hand slips over Gar's green one and he holds it close.

"You are not a hypocrite. You'd be a hypocrite if you were doing that now, but you obviously learned from it. You've lived a lot and I've barely lived, you know. It's…"

He sips his drink, "Your boyfriend's a rookie, Gar. I'm trying to be the kind of guy you want in your life and a team-mate you can depend on. Obviously I need to work on… figuring out what sort of things were rewired when I got put back together again. I can't let impulses guide me."

He looks at Gar and leans over to kiss him on the cheek. "Thank you for telling me about what happened. You're not a hypocrite… you just don't want me to fuck up. I… like having someone who cares that much."

"OK, fine, not a hypocrite. But that makes me the guy who says 'I TOLD YOU SO' and 'DON'T DO WHAT I DID!' … which is worse, isn't it?"

Gar sips at the choco-milk. "This stuff is best when the milk is just two degrees above freezing."

Vorpal hehs, putting his drink on the counter and his arms around Gar up from behind. He whispers in his ear.

"So… let's leave them cooling in the fridge for the morning, and let me take you up to our room and let me love on you for a few hours," He says, bending down and then picking Gar up- like he used to do to Keith when he had his sprained ankle.

"Sounds like a plan?" the cat says, giving Gar a gentle smile.

Gar grins. It's not a bad thing having a strong boyfriend. Being carried to his room is good.

"OK, but you have to either put me down, or let me put them in the fridge now," he retorts. But once they're in the fridge… it's off to the room!

Which may or may not be by way of the elevator, depending on just how Triumphal the Cheshire wants to be. Up the stairs? Well, Gar just finished them, and Keith's training schedule DOES call for more weightlifting.


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