Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.
This is the 3rd installment of the Twilight Child story arc. Here are the stories so far, in order:
----Stair Luge Samurai – one shot
and coming later ... Dawn Child
I hope you enjoy it!
With deep thanks to my beta-readers: DeTroyes and Dr. Jekyl
The main idea for using the "Coyote" concept was based on an idea that was given to me by fellow fanfic'er DeTroyes. (Take a bow, DT.) "Coyote" and other trickster figures are prominent in Native American lore and are fascinating to read about. This story takes a new perspective on these figures.
This story does involve some Native American spiritual beliefs. I have tried to portray these beliefs as respectfully as possible while still telling a suspenseful story. I have made every attempt to not portray the Native American characters in a stereotypical light. If you notice any inaccuracies, please bring them to my attention. I will do my best to resolve them.
This story arc leans heavily on Teen Titans history from the Marv Wolfman era to the present day Geoff Johns era. For those of you who have not read the earlier stories, I have tried to include some details in my Author's Notes at the end of each chapter. However, if I leave out an explanation, feel free to send me an private message via my profile. I am more than happy to answer any questions.
Coyote – Chapter 1
"So, where do we go from here?"
The words echoed in her head. Two weeks later, they were still trying to figure that out.
Some things didn't change; at least, on the surface, they didn't. Raven's school was still out for the summer, so the daily training continued. The flying was only part of it, but it was amazing how fast her execution of the Hyk Mar maneuver had improved. There was also the physical training that Cyborg had insisted upon, to keep the muscle tone that her new body possessed intact. And then there was the aikido...and Garfield's acting classes...
It was the tone of the training that had changed.
The sunset vigils continued, but their tone was different, too. Some nights, they were too occupied with talking to each other to watch the actual sun sinking below the horizon...but this night they decided to watch it from the beach below the tower.
Clouds had blown in, and the sky was turning a deep slate gray. It was an evening when the sun was more sensed than seen. The two strolled through the gentle wash of salt water; they were close enough that their hands brushed against each other every few steps.
"Do you think we are ready to demonstrate our new maneuver to Cyborg?" Raven asked.
"I think we could do it tomorrow," he replied. "We just need a name for it. The 'New and Improved Beast Boy Blitz' doesn't mention you, so that's out. How about 'Beauty and the Beast Boy'?
"That still leaves me out," she replied, nudging him with her elbow.
"Was that a joke?"
"Perhaps. But it is not very descriptive of what we're doing."
"Well, if someone calls for it in the middle of a mission, we don't want to give away what we're doing, do we?"
"I suppose not. I am afraid I am not very imaginative."
"Are you kidding? This was your idea. Mostly."
"Suggestion," she said, once more allowing her hand to brush against his knuckles. She shivered at the brief contact; even that small morsel was a balm to her touch-starved soul. She had never felt so bold about reaching out for him as she had during that first long kiss weeks ago. High from nitrogen narcosis at the time, she had had no qualms about asking for his attentions then. After it finally wore off, she still felt the same about him – was still wildly attracted to him – but she had lost that brave edge. She kept looking for it, though.
"Let Bart name it when he sees it. He seems to have a particular talent for such things."
"Yeah, like the 'Stair Luge Samurai?' Of which you are now a member?"
"Precisely, " she replied with a blush and a slight bow.
"You're cute when you blush, you know that? We'll need to do it early in the afternoon, though." He strutted just a little for her. "Yours truly has an audition tomorrow evening."
"Oh, it's a surprise. And it's not a commercial with a talking iguana this time."
"Ah. I was rather fond of the talking iguana."
He brushed a few loose strands of hair off of her face. "The ponytail. That's new. Your hair is really coming back, isn't it?"
She scratched the scalp at the base of the ponytail. "My one vanity. Yes. It is very strange. I was getting used to having shorter hair. I did not realize how heavy it was before." Her voice got quiet. " In my spirit body it weighed nothing."
"I was getting used to the new do, too," he replied. "It made you look...younger." He hesitated.
Nervous? she thought. There is an unasked question hanging in his mind.
"Which leads me to my next question...ummmmm...is it...is it a problem that I'm younger than you are? Chronologically, anyway."
That is not the question.
She pursed her lips. "I have not really thought about it. It has never seemed important."
She picked up a tiny shell and rubbed it between her fingers, reading the ridges and infusing them with the same affection she felt for him. She savored the flavor of his signature, that sour-apple Jolly Rancher flavor that marked his presence. Her eyes studied the ever-shifting waves.
"So our age difference doesn't bother you at all?" he asked.
She rolled the shell into her palm and closed her fingers around it. She brought the loose fist close to her chest and rolled her face to him as she stopped walking.
"Garfield, I have spent my entire life fighting demons, cult leaders, thieves, villains of every stripe. A boy half my age wants to...wants me to mother a child that will bring about the end of the world as we know it. The Terminator wants to hang my head in his den as a trophy. Most of the superhero community thinks I belong on the other side of the thin caped line no matter what good I do. I have died and come back to life more times than I can count."
She held out the warmed shell to him. "Do you honestly think that my beloved being two years my junior is going to bother me?"
He took the shell into his palm. "Well, when you put it that way..."
"I must admit that I am somewhat confused. I am so new to this...this kind of relationship. You ask as if you have doubts. I sense confusion in you. I am not entirely sure how you are feeling. What are you thinking? I need to hear it." I need to hear all of it.
He tucked the shell into his pocket. The open Hawaiian shirt flapped in the warm evening breeze. He shook his head. "No doubts, darlin'. No doubts at all. I guess I was just wondering what you were thinking. Our bodies have been tossed around so much that I guess we're not even the ages we should be any more. You're right. It doesn't matter. And don't worry about never completing 'Girlfriend 101'. You're doing fine."
He slipped his hand into hers as they continued their walk. The energy of that touch telegraphed up her arm and down the rest of her body. Her skin drank it in. That brave edge, that adventurer in her that screamed for attention, grew a little more daring at the contact.
Seagulls and sandpipers scattered in front of them as they moved through the shallow water. Its movement reclaimed sand from their footprints behind them. He broke their silence. "Do you think anyone else has figured us out yet?"
"I think Cassie and Connor concluded there was an 'us' before we did. I am not sure about Bart, but he did see our little... adventure in the chamber. I do not think Tim is concerned one way or the other."
"You left out Vic."
She bit her lip before she continued. "Victor is another matter entirely. I think he is suspicious, but I am not sure he knows the entire truth, even though we all live together." She squeezed his hand. "He is very...protective...of me. And of you. I am not sure he wants to admit it to himself that there is even the possibility of an us."
"What makes you say that?"
Foamy surf rolled over their feet and receded, rose and receded. She felt the salty liquid pressing against her arches and her ankles. It cooled the ache that haunted her bones more and more every day. "I do not know. It is rather trite to say that I just have a feeling, but that is all I can say. Perhaps he does not think it makes sense."
"I still try to figure it out myself sometimes. I don't think some of the other former Titans that know us both will believe it. They'll think we make no sense at all."
She halted again, turning to face him while still holding his hand. Her voice trembled. "I do not have a lot of experience with my own feelings, but I have felt that of others for many years. I do know this: Love has its own logic. Sometimes what Love does makes no sense at all in the world of pure logic. But that makes what it does no less valid. No less right." One tiny tear shimmered at the edge of her eye. "It makes no sense at all that a person with my heritage would even try to do good in this world. Does that make it any less right that I do try?" The salty drop escaped down her cheek. "Perhaps...perhaps he thinks that after –"
He traced the moist track with his finger. His words were gentle. "No, no. You do just fine, in my eyes." He brushed her lips with the wetness of the tear. "And right now, mine's the only opinion that counts. Not theirs. I believe it."
He touched her cheek again with the back of his hand and looked deep into her violet eyes. She leaned her face into his hand. He spoke again, his voice low. "I believe in this. Now, c'mon over to your hunka-hunka B.B. love..."
Wrapping his arms around her back, he lifted her off the ground and pressed his lips to hers. She breathed in his scent, that dear scent that most people passed off as wet dog but that she knew as his. It was that scent that made her feel welcome. Safe. His honey-sweet lust sifted through that connection as the tip of his tongue teased her upper lip. Her eyes widened then drifted closed as she sank into that touch. That edge grew a little bolder. Just then, a stiff crimson-and-gold breeze blew past Raven's back and toppled the pair into the wet sand. Gar grunted as he collided with the ground, and she yelped as their faces mashed together.
"Well," she mumbled with a chuckle. She quickly rolled herself onto the sand and landed on her back beside him, allowing their shoulders the briefest of contacts. Her moxie hid behind the clouds once more.
He closed his eyes as he struggled to catch his breath. Silent confusion rose in him like the tide. He reached for her hand once more.
"Yep. Bart knows."