Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.
Coyote – Chapter 22
Charlie sipped his coffee and flicked his eyes from one young face to the other.
"So, young man, what are your intentions with my cousin, now that you are not trying to have me for dinner?" But he said it with a smile.
"That," Gar replied as he slipped his arm around her shoulders, "is entirely up to her. Raven," he turned to her, "I need to call Vic. He's going to throw a rod worrying about us. You okay?"
She nodded and watched him amble from the kitchen.
Her cousin stared into his mug with a furrowed brow. "I guess it would be useless to lecture you about wandering off on your own. I think your Mr. Logan beat me to it. But I do want to thank you for...for doing what you did for Thunder Horse. For helping him find some peace at last. For dealing with Coyote...my Coyote."
She rested her hand on his wrist. "Charles, none of us expected it to be him. But even though I was afraid, I am...not happy, exactly, but honored, to have met this man. He was not what I had anticipated, not at all."
"How was he?"
"Charming. For a wise man, he was...charming. I only wish I had been able to stay a little longer. But he saved me, I think, as much as I could have saved him. I see now why you honor him so."
"Tell me. Tell me everything."
Gar slipped into the great room to find a quiet spot. In the background, he could hear the calm rising and falling of Raven's voice as she explained the previous night's events to her cousin.
His burning anger towards Vic had since boiled down to irritation. Time to call home, he thought.
"Gar?" Vic's voice sputtered across static.
"It's me, rust-bucket. I found her, and she's okay."
"Thank God," Vic replied. "That you're both all right. You were right, salad-head. We figured out it was her---"
"Grandfather. I was wrong. Close, but wrong."
The picture frames in the house began to rattle against the wall. Beast Boy grinned as that familiar high-pitched vibration rumbled through the house and Cyborg's signal picked up strength.
"But her grandfather—Thunder Horse –he's supposed to be—"
"He is now. Look, it's a long story. I'll tell you when I see you."
"Well, then, you can tell me now. Look out the window."
A weak smile played across his lips. "Yes, the drug. I certainly can't let that same thing happen to you, little sister. I promise. No more Compound 27."
Karen gave her a wink. And I'll see to that, the wink seemed to say.
"We'll call in some earth-moving equipment today, see if we can recover his remains. So I can take proper care of him." Charlie listened to the whining of jet engines overhead. He paused for a moment. "Have you given any thought to my offer? To stay?"
Shining arms gathered the petite empath into a rib-crushing embrace, nearly lifting her into orbit.
"I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry," he muttered into her shoulder. "I've royally screwed the pooch this time, witch." He gently lowered her to the ground. "The tower's too quiet without you, you little party animal. Are you okay? Are you really okay?"
She chuckled softly and rested one slender hand against his dark cheek. The images she had used to defeat her grandfather's wall still floated in her mind. "My Victor. My dear, dear Victor. You only did what you have always done – try to take care of me. You have always taken care of me." Her feet left the floor as she floated up to look him in the eyes. She removed her hand and kissed him on his cheek. "If I had the power to choose my own father, Victor, I would have chosen you."
He wrapped his arms around her again as she hovered in front of him. "Look, Raven, about you and Gar." He held her away from him so he could explain to those wide violet eyes. "I know you know why I did this, right? But I was wrong to second-guess you two. Love? I don't know if anybody ever really knows when it's real. But you have the right to figure that out for yourself without me messing around with it. Can you forgive this rusty-brained pile of spare parts?"
"Aw, now, you two are gettin' all mushy on me," Gar's voice wound around her and between them. "Dr. Sommers'll get jealous!"
"Gar!" Cyborg yelped. "C'mere, greenie, you're next!"
And in moments, gleaming metal was chasing jade fur around the ranch house.
Raven gave Charlie the smile of a mother watching her twins wrestle. "Well, things are certainly back to normal, now."
Beast Boy could hear Superboy and Bart bickering in the rear seats of the T-Jet as he settled the empath into the seat next to him.
"Jedi!" Connor said.
"Vulcan!" Bart replied.
Vic leaned over them from the next row of seats. "Rave, I've already contacted Robin and Cassie back at the tower. They're already looking into a return trip to the CADMUS lab. If your grandfather was right, we could be in one for an interesting ride." Vic jerked his head at the arguing boys. "They've been going on like that since last night."
"What are they arguing about, Victor?"
"Oh, it's just something silly, Rave. They're trying to figure out which fictional character type you are. Jedi or Vulcan, based on your powers. Yeesh." He wandered up the aisle to the cockpit. "Up front, Conner. You're learning some more of those controls today."
She could feel Bart's eyes boring into the back of her head. A strange new admiration curled out into the space between them. She made a mental note to discover the source of that feeling later.
She turned to Gar. "Jedi? Is that something from your old show?"
"I wish. You mean you've never seen Star Wars? I guess I'll have to add it to the list. They sure hated to see you go," Gar continued in a low voice to the head resting on his shoulder. Their soft conversation was punctuated by the debate behind them.
"Jedi! Mind tricks! Hello! Jedi!"
"Fascinating," she replied, gazing at the arguing pair. "They wanted me to stay with them. For good. They offered me...a home."
"She is so Vulcan! She meditates!"
"What did you say? I mean, you're on the jet..."
"So do Jedi!"
Tapered fingers intertwined with his green ones and rested on his thigh. Her words wandered up through her hair to his ears. "I told them I have a home."
The corner of his lip twitched. He pulled the seashell, his new companion, out of his pocket and placed it in her hand. His fingers traced the lines in her palm around it. "It's real, isn't it?"
"Mmmm-hmmmmmm," she hummed in reply, burying her face deeper into his shoulder. His arm snaked around hers as he sank back into the seat, just breathing in her scent as he felt the T-Jet shriek into the sky.
Gar shook his head as he listened to the debate and studied the ceiling of the jet. He had found her. The first part of his task was complete.
"So," he whispered to her, "ever hear of a little thing called the Arjh-no-ree?"
I hope you enjoyed the story! Please leave a review and let me know what you think. The next story, Nadir, has been posted and is ready for you to read. The Arjh-no-ree will become clear soon, as we find out the story behind Raven's backstory in part 4 and part 5. Thanks for sticking with me.