Urg…I dislike the way some people portray Starfire. She's not stupid! Granted, she may not be on the top of my list, but I give her props for being so true to herself.
Disclaimer: Fu…………Ich liebe Eddie Izzard!
Ch. 15: Beating at the Silence
The pastor said, "I'm sorry, I'm not certified to be your physician."
And the physician said, "I'm sorry, I'm not certified to be your therapist."
And the therapist said, "I'm sorry, I'm not certified to be your friend."
She helped him straight into the passenger seat, swiping the keys delicately from his pocket. When he opened his mouth to object, she merely slammed the door in his face with a wry smile. And he didn't question her judgment afterwards.
On the way back to her apartment, she demanded that he lean his chair back and close his eyes – which he only did after she ran a red light in frustration. She was so stubborn that hid drove him mad every time he was with her, and he swore secretly that sometimes she herself may have been the cause of his migraines.
Gar shook his head. Yeesh. He loved her and couldn't stand her. Almost as though they were married. Wait, married?
At the heart-thumping thought, he cracked his lips into a goofy grin. Vesper intuitively noted it.
"What's funny?" she queried lightly.
"If you've never seen an elephant ski, then you've never been on acid," he sang sloppily in response. Hah, yes, telling her he just pictured her in a form-fitting, high-class wedding gown would surely get him back to her place in one piece.
"You collapse right outside of Roy's place and that worried me. Now you're quoting Eddie Izzard, which tells me I was worrying more than I should have." She shook her head. "Well, at least you're feeling better." Vesper patted his leg, which sent involuntary shivers up his spine. "I was worried."
He cocked his head. "You were?"
Her face angled away from him for a moment, and he bet he knew the reason why. "Yes, I was. Surprising, huh?"
"No, not surprising," he shifted his position. "I mean, I always knew you cared, but ya never really said it out loud."
Vesper nodded and her body felt stiff. "Yes…yes, you're right. I do care."
Gar smiled for a moment before letting his eyelids droop, catching him in a moment of unawareness. "I know you do…"
After a minute, Vesper looked to see him dozing away contently. And she fell in love with him again that night.
Rick and Kori entered Cale's with looks of trepidation and concern. He took her hand and kissed it, sensing the worry and unease rippling through her. Slowly, her jade eyes fixed upon his, staring deep beyond his crystal-blue orbs, piercing him with ravishing calmness.
Time sat still but for a brief moment, and her lips parted like the sea. "Dick…I fear for our friend."
"I know, Kori," he pulled her into the circle of his arms right there at the door. "But I think he'll be okay."
It was his surprise only that she shook her head. "No, Dick. I'm worried about Raven."
"Raven?" Vic's voice echoed from their right. Standing between the bar and a large, round table stacked in beer, he, Bee, and Roy, were watching with furrowed brows and quizzical expressions. "What's wrong with her?"
Kori merely shook her head. "It may only be a woman's intuition, but I did not feel something about her was well."
"Like more than usual?" Roy scoffed playfully.
Bee, who was sitting with a hand on her belly and a glass of water in her hand, kicked him. "For all the years you been living with women, Roy, I'd figure you'd know better by now."
"Hey, living with you taught me one thing, Bee, and that's: don't argue; run."
"Which is why you're still alive." Bee grinned and Vic kissed her cheek in pride. As he did, Roy's own sweetheart came over.
But Dick's attention had diminished, and he turned back to Kori, who had chosen not to respond to what any of the others had said.
"So, what do you think we should do?" he asked her.
"Tonight we enjoy ourselves, Dick." She gave him a soft peck on the cheek. "And then we will see if some of your old gadgets still function."
Dick smiled and pulled his darling wife back into the jovial crowd, Dick Clark on the TV screen behind the Tsingtao.
The many apartments on Vesper's level were packed with parties and bashes. As she and Gar made their way off the elevator and down the hall, she felt like she was back in her dorms in college, trying to avoid the drunks and the lechers, watching all of her acquaintances surrendering themselves to the hallucinogenic spell of loud music and bitter alcohol.
Luckily for her and for Gar, the doors were all closed, barricading the lewd and rowdy from the (outwardly) stable. When Gar's body seemed to shake from the soreness in his temples, she took his hand, folding her fingers into his, and led him down the hall. Her door had been untouched, where all the others were doused with streamers and well-wishing signs of the New Year. She grabbed the keys and quickly unlocked it, allowing Gar in first.
"Ah," he grinned feebly as he entered the living room. "Home sweet home."
At the comment, a fantasy drifted into Vesper's consciousness, and she bit her lip to relieve herself of the impossibility. Tonight, she knew she would say she loved him. And then he would fly back to California, where his real home was.
"Come." She murmured, placing her purse and coat on a stool. She came up behind him and took his own coat off, placing it over hers. "Lie down on the sofa."
"That fast?" he joked, chuckling airily. "It isn't even midnight yet!"
He was right – it was only 10:49. But that wasn't the point.
She rolled her eyes, grabbing Gar's hand and pulling him to the couch. Sitting herself down near the armrest, she patted the seat, and he did as he was asked. She then took him by the shoulders and leaned him back on the couch so his head rested snugly on her lap. He felt nothing until her cool hands touched his bare cheeks.
She glided her slender fingers up his face, to the sides of his face, right above his ears, and his breath caught in his lungs.
"What're you doing, Rae?" he asked. In the close comforts of one another, he was not to hesitate in speaking his pet name for her.
"Use your brain, smart one," she shook her head. He was cute, but sometimes so dense. "I'm massaging around your temporal and frontal lobes. That's where it hurt, right?"
"Well, I got that much," he quipped defensively. "But what makes you think – ahhhhh…" A deep, rapturous moan teamed with the backwards rolling of his eyes as therapeutic heat generated at the tips of her fingers. She smoothed back her palms, running them slowly, in a pace equivalent to Reiki.
"Being from a different dimension, I can do more than the average woman," she smirked.
"Wow…" he murmured, still in ecstasy. "You got that right…"
He just melted into her as the strokes became firmer and more perusing. Gar felt as though he was in a mental sauna – or highly medicated and sedated. He wondered if any other sensation on this world could compare…
Slowly, languidly, he reached out and grabbed her left wrist, pulling it to his lips, kissing each finger with delicate fervor. Vesper's insides boiled in joyous surprise, but some doubt in her mind kept throwing negative thoughts at her.
He doesn't know what he's doing! He's too tired and weak to think straight. He'd do this to anyone else in your position, you know that.
"G-Gar?" Her voice shook under the tightly-sealed waves of happiness beneath her skin. "What are you doing?"
He just laughed, resting her hand on his cheek like it was a teddy bear. "Use your brain, smart one."
And his eyes opened, catching hers. Something familiar stared up at her – something she had only seen when Dick and Kori were together, or even Bee and Vic (though that look was currently becoming a bit rare). It clicked in her mind before she even really knew it had hit her. Sal had been right – begrudgingly, she admitted this.
Gar sat up leisurely, turning his body around to face her completely. Her fingers remained curled in his hair. For a moment, she feared he was going to pull away and she didn't want him too. For the first time since James had stolen her heart and shattered it, she wanted to be near someone, to bask in his love, and to give it in return.
As his face neared towards hers, she knew she was ready to accept what he was about to offer. Gar's face slanted as his own hands came to her cheeks. The sparkle in his emerald eyes just shined in the moonlight, radiating need.
Their lips merged harmoniously, their eyes closed, and their bodies shuddered at the same magnificent sensation. His warm mouth pressed thoroughly against hers, sweet and soft, as his fingers caressed the skin of her face and neck. Vesper gave back, fingers curling in his hair, relishing in everything he gave.
Their bodies inched closer, leaning into each other. Pressed together, he dipped her back on the couch as his hands ran down her sides. Their lips came apart, they breathed, and came together again. Over and over; kiss, breath, kiss. She was snug and warm between him and the sofa cushions. She felt the elements shudder and shake around her: the unfortunate side-effect of her emotional ecstasy.
Yet a twitchy string of magic flowered in her hands, and they shook against his scalp. And her sight went white.
"Hello, old chap, what's for tea?"
"…we'll be like brothers one day."
"Yes, you're right. Well, I'd like to apologize to you, if you don't mind."
"…make it an evening worth remembering, you beast."
It was a mix, a tumultuous, poisoned blend of desperate smiles and joking over alcohol. A chuckle and a snide remark back. As friends would do. As allies and buddies would be…
She pulled back with ferocity and fear, breaking the kiss. For a moment, Gar breathed in his senses and frowned down at her.
"What's wrong, Rae?" he asked.
Merely she stared, gazing hard into his brilliant eyes. "Y-you…spoke to…James?" Vesper's voice came out in harsh rasps, anger and betrayal laced between breaths. Her thoughts were crumbling to pieces around her.
His form retracted a little, pulling some of his weight off of her. His face was contorted in surprise and nervousness, yet with an underlying sense of courage. "Yeah, I did…Rae, I only did it because –"
"Because why, Gar!" she cried, sliding out from under him. How could he? She told him to stay away from James. What would Gar do if he found about Slade? She was doing this to protect him! To protect him! Wasn't that what one did when she was in love? How could he? "I told you not to talk to him, that it was over!"
He got off the couch quickly and stood before her. "He called me, Rae! It was supposed to be quick and to the point! Then I was gonna leave that sicko behind! You think I wanted to hang with him?"
She shook her head. "Then why did you? Why didn't you just say no?"
"He threatened me with you!" Gar threw his hands up. "I was doing it for the sake of your identity!"
But she just pointed at him. "I don't need to be taken care of, Garfield Logan. I can handle him myself. You have to stay away from him! I told you to; now listen to what I say!"
"And how am I supposed to answer that? 'Yes, Mom'?" he snapped back. Now he was angry – livid. "I did it for you! Doesn't that mean anything? And what about Kelly and the baby, huh? Isn't he going to stick with them, now? Huh? So what's the problem?"
Glass shattered behind her in the kitchen. But she still grew red in the face, heart pumping like mad. "The problem is you! You! Damn it, Gar…" She put her hands against her cheeks and closed her eyes. "If you had only listened to me…"
But his temper had reached its climax. Gar broke like floodgate. "And do what! You don't own me – you don't own anyone! I did it for you, Raven! I'm not a child, you idiot, I'm your boyfriend! You think I'm the problem? From what I see, you're the only one with the issues around here! So sorry I screwed your life up!"
By now Vesper was shivering, tears running down her face. It had gotten out of hand – plaster cracked. She had let them get out of hand. "God, Gar…you're such a damn beast…"
And the lightening struck.
He collapsed on the floor, waves of shuddering, fierce pain surging and pulsing through his head. His fingers gripped his scalp with violence. The air, it seemed so…nonexistent. He couldn't breathe…the pain…it was killing him alive…The world died out, the view went black, and he only heard the sound of his screams…
And her…he heard her, too….
Vesper saw him go down no more than a second after she spoke. Following his tumble to the floor came a raw, agonized roar breaking from the bowels of his lungs. She gasped in horror, rushed to his side; saw him digging away at his skull with blood running out his ears.
"Oh, no, oh, no, Gar…"
Another bloodcurdling scream erupted and she was grateful for once that there were New Year's parties around them. She grabbed his shoulders, immediately turning him over, screaming his name and trying to calm his head with her magic. To say she was terrified was an understatement. The man she loved was possibly dying…
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she tried to ease his pain, but his body went limp in her arms. She just sat there, draped over him, crying onto his face. She then frantically checked his pulse and breathing – he was alive, thank goodness. Vesper just hovered over him, helplessly kissing his forehead, squeezing his hands, begging him to wake up. Pictures hanging on the wall rattled under the weight of her inner trauma, but nothing exploded.
As she closed her eyes for a long second, she let her lungs quake and shudder and another tear roll down her cheek. Whatever James had done to Gar, he would pay. With his life.
Then, as her breathing calmed, she heard a deep groan. Opening her eyes, Vesper saw Gar stir, but something was wrong, and she noticed it immediately.
His body began to convulse hysterically and she immediately retried to soothe him. But as her arms came down to him, his hand caught her wrist in a near bone-crushing grip, and threw her off of him. She tumbled back.
"Gar, no, please, let me help…" she clamored back to him. But as she neared him, she saw a monster.
His eyes had gone red as burning coals. His teeth had been elongated and a filthy grin was plastered to his face. Gar's mussed hair had grown many inches and the weight and power of his physique had increased so much that his body was straining his clothes. Like a devil, he propped himself up and glared down at her startled form.
The door closed, the room was quiet, the sky was black like blood from a liver. James heard the ticking of the hall clock as he neared his room. It was a timer, a countdown, a beating of drums as he walked to the guillotine of shame. It was his reminder of life and death, his messenger of duty. His signal.
As he laid his coat on the chair in his study room, the sound of the hall clock stopped.
James took five steps back.
The shadows moved, tilted, and coalesced, forming an entity in the middle of the study. Slade came forward, armored boots clunking under his dead-like weight. Out he stepped, his one visible eye from behind the new chrome mask pressing down like metaphysical burden on the young, blonde man before him.
"Why, Ethridge, I've found you've stirred up a bit more trouble again," the villain said in his sickening tone.
"Y-yes, sir, I did." James raised his head almost proudly. "You said I'd get to trick the green chap, and that's what I did."
"Mmm, and a clever trick it was, Apprentice," Slade folded his arms. And by now, James knew that with a compliment came a low blow. "But I don't recall killing Raven a part of the plan."
All the color washed out of James' face. He stared dead ahead at his master, eyebrow nearly twitching out of self-revulsion and embarrassment. The world felt large and dizzy for a moment as his mind tried to encode what had just been said to him. And he knew underneath that mask, whatever Slade looked like, it had to be something smug.
"I don't understand, sir…" he murmured as he held on to what was nearest to him: a bookshelf.
"I know what your intentions were, Ethridge. You hate Beast Boy with every ounce of your being. I applaud you for your devious plot, but did you not think for one second how it might put the half-demon's life on the line?" Slade's voice grew darker, his body more overpowering. James felt himself shrink. "If she dies, it will be your fault Terra never comes back, Ethridge. How else can we power the conduits that will revive your sister's body?"
James' head raised and he glared Slade right in the eye. "Is that what we really need Vesper for? She's merely a tool to bring my sister back?"
Slade caught on quickly. "Just think on it, Apprentice. Who do you love more? Raven, the woman who killed your sister, or Tara herself?"
Her body was slammed against the floor for the third time as the Beast took her by the arms and tossed her like a rag doll. Her back was throbbing in pain and blood was running freely out of her nose. With a roar, the creature grabbed her bare leg and made to break the limb into pieces, but Vesper kicked it in the gut with her other foot and crawled away.
Her face was covered in tears as she screamed at him to get away, but the Beast kept pinning her, clawing her, ripping her clothes, and throwing her. She loved him, oh how she did, and that was why she didn't raise a bit of her magic against him.
For Gar was as much the victim as she was.
To see him contorted as a cross between himself and the Beast within broke her heart. But the creature didn't seem to reciprocate the feeling, or else she'd not be in such anguish right then. The lights overhead shattered from the black dispelling of her torment, spilling glass all over them.
This time when the Beast came again, it had wounds of its own.
"Gar, no, stop!" she cried out as she dodged another blow. But it roared in response. "Gar, please, please stop! Stop it!" At first she had just demanded he cease, but now she was reduced to begging.
Its clawed hand reached out, ensnaring her skirt, and pulled her down to the floor. It grinned ecstatically as it towered above her, raising a fist to perhaps bash in her head. But the tears came harder, mixing with the blood, dripping to the floor. Her fingers dug into the carpet. The moon watched her suffer.
"No, Gar, don't…" she whispered as the creature tightened its fist. "Please….I love you…"
And the Beast paused. A grumble bubbled from deep in its chest, but it shook its head and made to strike her as it had originally intended. But it was too late – Vesper already caught the hesitation.
"I love you." She said, this time with conviction and courage. "I love you. I love you."
Chills shook the Beast as it moaned and groaned like a whipped dog above her. It wanted to finish her off, she knew it, but something held it back. Something deep inside was stopping it. Gar…
"Garfield Logan, I love you!" she yelled through her sobs. "Please hear me, I love you!"
A splintered vase's pieces froze in the air, like time and space had stopped. Miraculously, its fragments began to reverse themselves, making the vase whole again. 'My curse,' Vesper thought faintly, 'Sal, the curse is done.' As for Gar, the Beast above her began to convulse again, harder than before. It trembled above her, and she listened to a whimper pour from its mouth. And she wasn't feeling so well herself. But her hand reached back behind her back, feeling the hardness of his leg, and rested her palm on it. Her cheek rested on the pile of blood on the floor.
"I love you…"
It gave a shudder, tipping itself towards her. She heard the unsteady huffs of air above her ear as it leaned down upon her. Then its face dipped into her back, nose nuzzling her ripped shirt and scratched skin. His body lessened underneath her hand. As she felt the world around her fade, his human whisper echoed in her mind.
"Raven…I love you, too…"
Heavy breathing and slight bits of muttering reached her ear as she felt the world around her come back into focus. She felt her body hovering, the pains from earlier nearly gone entirely. It was obvious what had followed. Even unconscious, reasoning was vivid.
"God, Rae," she heard him say more to himself than her. "I should have listened to you. I should have known better. I'm so sorry. So, so sorry."
Vesper's eyes opened a bit. Her voice croaked: "You apologize a lot, you know that?"
"Rae!" he gasped out. She floated back down to find herself lying on her bed. He must have carried her to her room. Gar moved to her, brushing hair out of her face and taking her hand in his, kissing it. "Oh my God, Raven, are you ok?"
"Never better," she rolled her eyes, but smiled at him. "How am I, doctor?"
He smiled back. "I cleaned up the blood on your face. It was smeared all over the place. And I cleaned the room – as much of it as I could, I promise. And you began to heal yourself the moment I laid ya on your bed." He paused, smile slipping. "Rae…"
"Don't," she cut him off. Her fingers curled around his. "Don't say you're sorry. You didn't do anything wrong."
Gar shook his head. "Rae, I almost killed you. I almost killed you! How can I not be sorry? I would have never forgiven myself for losing you."
"You weren't going to lose me, Gar," she looked him straight in the eye. "You'll never lose me."
"The moment I regained consciousness," he sighed, "I saw what I did…I cried so much…and you were there, under me…bleeding and hurting…I'd done that to you…"
"No, you didn't, Gar…" she said back. "It wasn't you, it was the Beast. It wasn't you, you had no control. Remember all those times when we were younger and I let the demon inside of me take over?"
He nodded, easing closer.
"It's like that." She continued. "I would wake up and everything was different. I knew something bad had happened and I had been the cause. And you know who told me it wasn't my fault?"
A light was rekindled in his eyes. "Me."
Vesper nodded, swallowing. "You made me see the truth in myself. That the demon wasn't me. You saved me, Gar."
And the denial in his face returned. "But I almost killed you. I can't even save you, Rae."
"Tonight you did, Gar." She smiled at him. "You saved me more than you'll ever realize."
A breath of a laugh escaped his throat. "I guess we saved each other, then. I only wish I knew why it happened, though."
"Not all things can be explained." Vesper said almost quickly. She knew the truth. He wasn't going to hear it yet. "I'm just happy you're alright." Her fingers grabbed his wrist and she pulled him down to her side. Gar followed without question and curled up against her, his arm tightening over her bare stomach. "What time is it?" she asked lazily.
"Quarter after twelve," he replied, breath hot against her throat.
"Oh…" she frowned. "We missed midnight."
"Still six hours to morning, though." He grinned. She smiled, too. She knew what he was intending. "So, did you mean it?"
She turned to face him, wrapping her arms around him. "Yes, I did. Each and every time I said it."
And Gar kissed her again. "I love you, too, Raven. I love you."
That night faded into morning, but without their realization. Fingers were laced, words were shared; deep, passionate sharing and bonding resulted. Cool sheets and sweaty bodies curled around each other. Soft and fiery kisses came and went, actions were fumbled, and love was taken to yet another ecstasy. He held her close to him, whispering to her all the sweet nothings of the world, and they taught each other how to give love, how to return love, and how to connect in one of the most intimate ways known.
As the sun rose, newfound lovers drifted to a long overdo sleep.
Yes, they made love. Be proud of me. (Please?) I made it T and I plan on keeping it that way. But, wow, I never wrote anything so publicly intimate! Whether it was good or not doesn't matter to me in the end; I'm just happy I actually tried it. And, yeah, I know a lot about alcohol. When one of your best friends is an alcoholic and you've spent several summers in Germany, you pick these things up.
Ok, guys, next chapter up as soon as I can possibly manage! Vesper/Raven's mission is finally ready to start, but things are more complex than she realizes. Another sad note: Gar goes back to CA.
Review thank you time:
Velveteen Rabbit - Thank you so much for sticking through this with me, really, it means so much. Staying committed is something I am always proud to be. I may not always be able to keep promises or follow through with all agreements, but I always make sure I finish what I start – plus, I make good friends like you in the process! Thank you! James is a butthole, hehe. As for the relationship, I know they're superheroes, but they're people. I like things real. Real is true. And I always gotta have everyone! There's always that other level to each of them that you can't see at the beginning. Thank you so much, again. I swear you make it fun. You take care, too! You frost my cake:)
Shadow and Nightmare – Ok, whatever you say, good sirs. O.o Didn't mean to offend ya both.
Shadows are Prettiful – I know! NYC in winter is such a pain! But it's a really cool place, I agree! Yes, I can fly – I've gone all the way to the moon, too. Lol.
BooYah'sTheWord – I like Speedy, too! I don't know why everyone makes him gay. He seems pretty straight to me! Thanks!
Shay Bo Bay – How did you know? Heehee :) You're spot on. And thank you!
Mura-chan – Welcome to the TT ring, then! I like Spirited Away – a good story! I hope you find more TT stories that you like. There are several. Thanks for checking my story out!
Fernnu – Mister, you are too kind for your own good, I swear! Doesn't life just love throwing curveballs at you? I can't believe how many things have come up in my life that almost seem that they were written in a fictional story. So I can sit in the same boat as you and say I completely understand what you mean. I'm sorry you, too, seem to be in a rut of such. It's a horrible hole to climb out of, I know it. When it comes to life, writing a story for fanfiction seems almost obsolete. And as for the writer's block, putting in happiness when you feel the complete opposite is an unsafe thing to do. Staying true to both your mood and your story is something to be proud of. I know you can pull through it and I'm always here to talk, promise.
I'll be honest, too: this chapter even threw me off! I had typed half of it and put it away for about a month and when I came back, I kept thinking: "I don't remember what they're talking about," or "This sure came on fast." Thank you so much for pointing out the realism in the work. I like to think of myself as an observer – I just love to watch people. And I have this (somewhat unnerving) ability to just read into people immediately. When I write, I always want people to feel intuitive, involved, and in cahoots with my own personal angles. And for you to say that you can see these angles and are involved with me in feeding admiration or disdain is such a wonderful compliment to me. As for James, I do have a spot of liking for him. Though, you're right. He's a snooty bastard and high-class prick. But I stick true to that belief of layers – that there's always something underneath the surface that you just don't quite pick up at first. I hate men who get too cocky for their own good. And in that sense, I tried to convey Gar's personality to host humility and chivalry. Women love a gentleman.
Please take care of yourself, and I will keep you in my thoughts. Take your time updating – as you said so yourself, we are human. Thank you so much – your words are always a joy to hear and read. Truly. Yet I feel like I've written you a novel! I should stop now.
And to your PS: Gah, computers make my head spin! I need an Excedrin whenever I walk away from one of these things…
I'M GONE NOW! GOODBYE! frolics off