Notes and Caveats: I really like Beast boy, and I hope in the upcoming season there's a bigger focus on him. Over all, I find the show much more rewarding than JL. This is sort of an amalgamation of Gar's history from the comics but I really don't know what they're following for his past on the show. But! According to there's going to be an episode where Rita Far and Steve Dayton appear as Beast boy's parents.Whether they nixed the Logans permanently remains to be seen. But as it stands the Doom Patrol is very much alive in the TT cartoon universe, already disqualifying this piece, so please forgive this (and hey, maybe they'll die!). I guess I'll just have to sit tight and wait. If anything, I'll have something to write about!
For those of you familiar with Geoff John's take on the hero in the Beast Boys and Girls arc, I'll say this is sort of a response to his. I honestly hate that he sets up Gar as wanting attention from a very young age and his mother commenting that he would be a great actor one day made me vomit. I think it is much more plausible to think that his ignorance and self-consciousness stem from the fact that he's had a horrifically abnormal childhood. I'm surprised he functions at all
So this is about Beastboy...and some gayness.
One of Garfield's earliest memories was coming to Africa. It was like nothing he'd ever seen before, but then at that age he had seen very little of the world in general. What he liked most was that unlike San Francisco, Africa was teeming with wildlife. Even back then he'd always had an affinity for animals. Though most little boys had action figures or toy cars or other such things, Garfield had preferred stuffed animals or simple animal figures. His mother and father, being both well-educated and liberal-minded people, were not put off by his less than traditional preferences and saw this in a positive light: the next Jane Goodall, his mother would say. A fascination with biology ran in the family, after all. That was why they had come to Africa in the first place, to where life had begun, to try and find the link between man and animal.
They found it and in barely escaping death, Garfield became it.
Death clung to his skin like the dust in Africa. His biological parents, his adoptive parents from The Doom Patrol, even the jewel thieves that kidnapped him in-between, all of these people died. It was after the funeral of Rita Farr and Steve Dayton when Robin approached him, a cloaked girl by his side.
Robin he knew, everyone knew him; he worked with Batman, "the" Batman. But it was the girl he kept glancing at while Robin explained. She was had the palest face and the most vivid purple eyes he'd ever seen. But it was her expression that caught him and perhaps it was because of her face that he agreed to join them. She looked so numb, but he could tell there was a deep sorrow buried in there, buried so hard and so deep that it left Garfield wanting desperately to do something for her even though they'd just met.
The Titans provided him with a home and …friends. He hadn't been around people his age for any period of significant time and had no idea what to do. He was used to being the child, looking to adults for answers, for instruction, for guidance. Now they were asking him for his opinion, treating him like he knew what he was doing. He felt like a wild animal that had been suddenly tossed in with trained pets and expected to behave. Though most people would remain silent under such pressure, as perhaps Raven did by secluding herself, Garfield found his nervousness manifested itself in a talkative nature. He tried to mask his ignorance with jokes, or if that failed, with brazen stupidity. He would rather they think him an idiot than a boy who didn't know how to be a human.
Sometimes he wished he was an alien like his tall, redheaded teammate, at least she had an excuse for not knowing anything. But still, Starfire may not have known anything about Earth, but she knew about her own Tamaranian things. Garfield, on the other hand, knew absolutely nothing.
When they started to get into actual battles it got worse. He was panicking whenever one of the others looked as if they were about to be hurt. When he panicked, he made mistakes, mistakes led to endangering the others, and the cycle fed itself. Enough for Robin to talk to him. It was after they all headed to bed when he was looking for his toothbrush that Robin slipped into his room, as silent as his predecessor.
"Tell me what's going on," he'd said.
"I… I think I want to quit… I don't think this is for me…"
"You don't mean that. You'd go crazy if you were off the team," he said firmly.
Gar went quiet. He was right… even if he was useless, he would never forgive himself if there had been something he could do, if someone might have lived if he'd helped.
"Tell me what's going on," Robin repeated.
And Beastboy explained, as best he could. "…I just don't want anyone to get hurt…" he finished, staring down at hands.
"I understand… I worry about that, too…" He blinked up and him, surprised; he didn't think Robin worried about anything. Well, no… Robin worried a lot, but he was never panicked, he was always doing something practical with his worries, finding ways to keep them from happening.
Robin let out a soft sigh, moving to sit on the bed beside him. He was quiet for a while, as if collecting himself. Then he spoke in a voice Beast boy had never heard before.
"My parents died when I was a kid…
Beastboy's mouth had gone dry. When things got so serious his voice lost him. They were both orphans? But Robin was…. totally different. While he thought, Robin continued.
"I used to flinch a lot, used to get distracted… but I learned that if I'm going to keep people from dying, I have to relax, I have to trust them," he said, smiling at him a little. "This is obvious, but I'll say it anyways: we're a team… And the way a team works is that you have to trust that the team can work in the first place. Does this make sense…?"
"Yes but… what if they do get in over their heads…?"
"If I get in over my head, I'll say 'help me'."
At this, Beastboy furrowed his brow, looking doubtful. He couldn't imagine a scenario where Robin would ever need his help.
"No, really, I mean it," he said, cracking a rare smile. "If I ever need it, I'll ask for it. And all the others will, too. Trust me. Besides, our teammates are the type that can get hit by tanks and get right up again so I wouldn't worry too much, all right?"
He returned his smile, nodding, feeling a bit shy. "Okay…"
"Besides, it's like insulting their abilities if you don't believe in them."
"I don't mean it like that!" He said quickly.
"Then trust us."
After that, he started spiking his hair upwards like Robin. If he ever noticed, he never mentioned it. He and Cyborg became close friends; he was so friendly and energetic… and above all he seemed to find him entertaining. Garfield couldn't understand it. Vic seemed to just like him for no reason whatsoever. Time and again he would seek him out, invite him specifically to hang out with him. And soon it became Beastboy that was showing up at the door to Cyborg's room, seeking him out in return.
It was so amazing to him how Cyborg could be laughing at one of his stupid jokes one second, then be repairing a console and reciting specs the next. In this way he still felt separated from the other Titans, the others were so powerful, so useful, so brilliantly intelligent. He looked up to all of them, falling into his role of child once again. It was all he knew.
Until there was Aqualad. He'd been so seethingly jealous of him when they first met; he was beautiful, for one thing. Beastboy had always been acutely aware that not only was he abnormal looking, but he was also not at all attractive. The Atlantean, on the other hand, was at once attractive and strange, friendly and mature. To make things worse, he was also tall, another matter that grated on Garfield's nerves.
But the aquatic boy was unbearably kind to him, even after he'd made a complete idiot of himself in front of him. Not only that but he was pointedly and specifically interested in Garfield. This was someone outside of his team (technically) who could spend his life without any further word to him that went out of his way to call upon him. Starfire and the others weren't shy about wondering aloud about this.
"Why does he not invite me?" said Star in her stilted English. "Or...Or any of the rest of us," she quickly added.
Robin, who didn't like hearing Starfire wish for some tall, dark and handsome boy's attention snapped at her, "Beastboy's the one he hung out with most, he's just closer to him."
Raven's gravelly monotone came from where she was curled with her book, "Atlanteans are a little xenophobic, they like to keep to themselves."
"That's right," said Robin, who was relieved for Raven's explanation, "Beastboy's the first one he's warmed up to, he's just skittish…. And I think he's more anthropophobic, actually…"
Beastboy had quietly left while the others argued Aqualad's various phobias.
In Beastboy's opinion, he attributed this to the fact that he was the only one of them that could breathe underwater and that the Atlantean was unable to stay out of water longer than an hour or so. So out of all of them he could spend time most easily with Garfield.
This was what Beastboy thought every time the dark haired Titan invited him over: Garfield was his only option and Aqualad was just using what was available to him. It stung… but he ignored it, telling himself he should feel grateful for the privilege.
It was when they were looking at coral reefs that the older boy looked at him.
"Hey. What's your real name?" Of course, he didn't say this out loud, he was using telepathy.
Garfield, currently an octopus, looked back at him with eyes like black dotted opals when he replied, "I can't tell you…anyways, it's dorky…"
"Try me," he returned, smiling at him. "I'll tell you mine."
His tentacles fidgeted while he deliberated. There was no rule against names, they could tell each other, Vic had told him his, after all. The green skinned youth still went bright red whenever he teased about his name and hence had refrained from telling anyone else. Vic preferred to shorten it to "Gar" when he could.
"Don't laugh," he returned, hesitant.
"I promise," came back the firm reply, and he could tell he meant it. Aqualad's teasing was rare and very tame. Perhaps it was because he could read his mind and tell when it really hurt.
"Really!" He'd "said" it so "loudly" that Gar had jumped, startled.
"Y-yes…" he responded, clambering out from behind the rock he'd hidden behind.
"And you shorten it to 'Gar', too? That's great!"
"Wh-what's so great about it?"
"I'm a 'Gar' too! My name's Garth!"
If Beastboy had lips, he would have bitten one to keep from laughing. "Garth" was just as horrible as "Garfield"! But the Atlantean was thrilled, grasping two of the other's tentacles as if they were hands and holding them in a motion of solidarity. Solidarity of nerdy names.
"Isn't it great!"
Beastboy shifted to a dolphin so that he could nod his head. He wasn't sure if dolphins blushed… "Garth" threw his arms around his neck (if dolphins have necks) and hugged him. Well, if dolphins blushed, he was most certainly blushing.
"You know… I've been wondering… can you change into any animal on the planet?"
"Yep!" He answered, feeling very perky for some reason.
"So… well you can change into a human, right? So… would you consider an Atlantean another species?"
Beastboy thought for a moment. "I…I don't know…You mean you want to know if I can change into an Atlantean?"
"Yes. Is there anyway to tell if it's possible?" asked the taller boy, leaning closer and looking the green dolphin over as if the answer were written there.
"Oh! Sure! I just… try. And if it works, it works, if it doesn't then… it doesn't." Dolphins could not shrug so it came out as a bit of a wiggle instead. "Do you want me to try?"
He nodded, "Yes! I mean… if it's no trouble…"
"No!" he said more sharply than he'd intended," I mean… no, of course not!" He'd do anything that might impress the other. "Hold still, the first time it's good for me to be looking at another one…" It wasn't necessary but it was the same thing when you thought about how exactly you lift your arm. You can, of course, lift your arm but it's easiest when you don't think about it. Now that Gar was thinking about it, he needed something to let him focus.
Aqualad stared hard, watching the other closely, turning his head this way and that. The other had shifted to what looked like his normal self, his eyes tightly shut and his cheeks puffed out.
"What are you doing," he asked, reaching over to poke his green cheek with the tip of a black gloved finger.
"Uhm…holding my breath…"
"Well, let it out so I can see if you're an Atlantean!" He told him, smiling.
And he exhaled, tried to inhale, ready for the burning, choking sensation of water flooding his lungs. It didn't come. When Beastboy opened his eyes they were pure, inky black.
"How do I look?" he asked, turning his head from side to side. "Hey… I said that outloud…"
Aqualad nodded, still smiling, "Now we can talk instead!"
"Well, we could talk before…" mumbled Garfield. He honestly liked being animals, did the other feel embarrassed hanging around with him when he wasn't humanoid? Fidgeting, he wiggled his toes. "My feet are kind of webbed…" he noticed.
"You've got black eyes like mine, too! You're still green, still have pointy ears and the little fangs though," he pointed out, tweaking the green appendage between two fingers.
"Yeah, my transformations aren't always that complete…" he said, putting his hands over his mouth. He didn't realize his fangs were so apparent…
"Don't be embarrassed," he told him, taking his hands in his own to pull them away. "I think they're cute!"
Beastboy blinked. He'd never been called "cute" by a guy before… Really, the only person who did that was Star and that was when he was a tiny kitten. He didn't know what to say and stayed silent. Aqualad didn't seem to notice and only pulled him a bit by the hand, getting him to swim by his side. Swimming was never easier, something about the way his muscles were formed now, the way his body knew how to move…
"Where are we going?" he finally thought to ask.
"Home," his companion replied.
That was fine for Beastboy, "Can we play on that… that thing?" He was referring to that weird, fibrous, squishy-spongy thing that the other slept on; he never seemed to get sick of rolling around on it. Getting there was fast, even faster than when he was a barracuda, he was starting to realize how slow the older boy went to let him keep up. His cheeks reddened, embarrassed by this realization.
The first thing he did was flop onto the aforementioned spongy-thing and nestle into it, squinting his eyes like a contented cat while Aqualad starting removing the blue and black skintight suit to change into something more domestic. He watched idly as tan, well-formed muscles appeared, once again feeling less than comparable to the athletic and tall Atlantean.
"Hey, do you want to get out of that? I hate being in mine, it's really awkward for me…" He pulled a shirt out, and the material drifted about as he took it. It was so weird to think that they were sitting in water, especially when he was in a humanoid form.
"Are you sure?" He felt weird wearing the other's clothes but he hated his own suit too. He was usually confined to it because the special material allowed him to shift to a form then back to himself without being very naked. He reasoned it was sort of similar to wearing glasses your whole life.
The green-skinned Gar toyed with the zipper for a moment. Aqualad was staring at him. could you turn around? I.. I know we're both guys but…"
Aqualad blinked, actually embarrassed for once. "Oh! Oh… I'm sorry," he apologized, quickly spinning around to look at a wall instead.
Beastboy furrowed his eyes at the other's back while he changed but shrugged it off. Aqualad wasn't human, so anything odd that happened was usually attributed to this. He changed so that he was wearing the larger shirt and his briefs. His underwear was made of the same shifting material, actually. He'd hassled Robin for a full week to get a small paw print programmed into a corner of it.
"There, I'm done," he told him. He rolled his shoulders, feeling to be out of the constricting outfit, again making that same contented face. Then he thought of something. "Where's your mirror?"
"Garth" directed him to it. "What do you want it for?"
"Well, I'm checking the transformation…" he said, turning his head from side to side. No gills, he noted with some disappointment. He was most interested in the way his eyes had gone solid black like large, shiny pieces of obsidian.
"You make a cute Atlantean," said Aqualad, coming up behind him, looking at the other by way of the mirror.
Beastboy's face burned again. There was that word again. "Cute". Maybe in Atlantis boys called each other cute? But then Aqualad was gone again, seated on the red spongy thing. He moved so quickly…
Garth reached for him, smiling. "Come here," he said, his black eyes shining. Beastboy wasn't one to deny him anything. He moved forward, tentatively, unsure of what the other would do. But aquatic youth took him by the hands and pulled him until he was sitting with him.
Garfield Logan suddenly liked his name a lot more. For some reason, the way he uttered it, the way he looked at him, made the changeling freeze. He swallowed, feeling the hair on the back of his neck bristle. He remained silent, unsure of what to say.
"You're all tense," commented the taller boy. "Here…" he said, before reaching his hand up to stroke through dark green hair. Beastboy snuggled into the warm body, sitting in his lap, his head against the older boy's chest, easily getting lost in the feeling of fingertips stroking his scalp. Aqualad did this a lot; he seemed to like it. And Beastboy loved being pet, a few times he'd wandered off, shifting to a dog or cat to hassle children in the park for a scratch behind his ears. Younger kids usually didn't have a problem with petting strange green animals, but they also didn't pet very well. Aqualad was a petting champion, a gold medalist petter, and he never seemed to tire of it, somehow being satisfied to just curl up with him and stroke him. Of course, previously he had been a squid or fish of some sort, not in something that was so…boy shaped. Perhaps it was this that was making his heart pound. He could understand being stroked by Star when he was a small kitten or other cute thing, but no one had ever pet him while he was humanoid before.
But Garth apparently had no qualms with cuddling him in this form, even petting him; he was smiling the whole time as if he were the one getting all the attention.
"Why… why do you hang out with me?"
The dark-haired teen didn't miss a beat. "Because I like you," he replied simply. After a moment he added, "Best. I like you best. We get along, don't we?"
"Mm…" It was unclear if the noise came from the soft fall of Aqualad's hand on his head or from his words. It was a little of both. When was the last time anyone had told them they liked him?
He'd gotten to the point where he felt nothing when he thought of her. Only numbness. The thing about petting someone is that you're so close that if the other's demeanor changes you sense it. Or maybe it was Aqualad's telepathy… Either way, he picked up on the subtle change and leaned his head downwards to speak in his ear.
"What is it?"
"What?" his ears pricked at the question, shaken from his thoughts. "Uh, nothing! Sorry!" He plastered that fake smile on his face.
"You know I can read minds, right?" he said, returning the fake smile with a kind one.
"Good. You know… sometimes I think you're so sad…I noticed even when I first met you…Do… do I cheer you up at all?" He was wearing a look of concern.
Gar was starting to think that Atlanteans were perhaps empathic to each other. That would explain why his emotions were going all over the place. He'd never seen the other look so… self-conscious before.
He nodded vigorously, "Yes! I feel so much better when I'm with you," he heard himself blurt out, "Really! You're so nice to me and I was so stupid when we first met, I feel lucky just to… to know you…!"
He felt the other exhale, his shoulders relax, "You know, you really are cute…"
Beastboy was about to get embarrassed again when he suddenly found himself on his back, his friend above him, still smiling. It was hard to look at Aqualad from this angle, light haloing around him, his black hair hanging down… But he didn't get much time to think about this, because soon Garth was tilting up his chin and kissing him.
Garfield Logan had never, in his life, been kissed before. But his partner apparently had, because the way he did it left him sort of stunned, so stunned that he didn't really kiss back, his lips just opened in surprise.
"Heh…" Tan fingers brushed over his green cheek with affection, "You ok?"
Wide-eyed, Gar nodded, his face bright red, his heart feeling like it was trying to desert his rib cage.
"I've been wanting to kiss you for so long…And now I really can…we can do so much more together when you're this way," he said, laying down beside him and pulling his slim frame up against his own.
"Do…do you usually do this with your friends?" He asked, exhilarated and bewildered all at once.
"Hm? Well… sort of. Kissing's optional. Atlantean boys, when they reach a certain age, tend to…help each other out. Girls do it, too. It's a really great way to bond and learn about your body. It relieves stress, too…" he mused, touching Beastboy's ears idly, "I take it surface dwellers don't?"
"I…I don't think so…" he started, hesitant.
Garth blinked at him, "You don't know?"
"…Well.." Beastboy was frantically recalling every time Robin and Cyborg had ever been left alone together. It wasn't hard to imagine them leaving him behind on something like this, he was younger and they were always saying how immature he was. He felt his heart sink. He didn't know about any of this, no one had ever told him, there was no one to tell him…
"I… I grew up kind of weird, I guess… When I was growing up with the Doom Patrol, they never mentioned anything… anything like that… and there were no other kids my age…"
"Oh! Well, that's all right!" he said cheerily, "I'll show you, don't worry!"
"Sh-show me?" His voice caught in his throat, "Wh… what are you…Ah!"
"Shhh…" he coaxed, "You're never done this before?"
Beastboy couldn't speak so he only shook his head in reply.
"No wonder you're so nervous…" he murmured, kissing his neck. "Hold onto me," he suggested, his voice husky. Beastboy complied, putting his arms around the broad shoulders of the swimmer, burying his face in his chest.
Afterwards, Beastboy laid there beneath him looking shell-shocked, small anxious tears had gathered at the corners of his eyes but were indistinguishable from the water around them.
"I… yes…." he realized all at once, dark emerald eyes shutting halfway. He felt like a piece of the spongy thing he was laying on.
"Want a nap?" suggested the Atlantean, snuggling up next him, still smiling, petting his forehead a little.
"Mhm…" he murmured, curling against him, he couldn't remember ever falling asleep so easily.
End notes: There's another chapter to this that I'll write if people are interested, really this is just the beginning of the whole thing. Also, this is the edited version, I didn't realize MA stuff isn't allowed! So if you're very interested email me and I'll send you the unedited doc. Honestly, it's not... porntastic in the least, it's very sweet and I think it explains the story better.