By Emotion Betrayed
Part One of Two
"This is all your fault, you know." This statement came from a purple-eyed, black-haired teenage boy, known by most as Aqualad, lounging on the floor of a cell. Glass-like walls rose from the ground to the ceiling, fifteen feet above their heads.
"Is not." The other occupant of the cell, a read-haired teen called Speedy, was seated on the opposite side of the cell, reclining against the wall.
Aqualad smiled. "So it wasn't you who decided to mess with Cyborg's stuff, despite warnings from Bumblebee, Raven, and myself?"
Speedy flushed in embarrassment. "Don't know what you're talking about," he muttered.
"And so it obviously wasn't you who, after pressing a random button on something you had no idea what it was, decided to go outside, alone I might add, to see what you had called down." Aqualad continued, smirking.
"No one asked you to follow me!"
"Like I was going to let you get yourself killed without me there," retorted the Atlantean boy.
"Aw, fish-boy, I didn't know you cared!" Speedy chuckled, leaning his head back against the smooth wall.
"Hey, if anyone is going to kill you, it's going to be me. I haven't put up with you for all these years to let some alien beat me to it."
"Of course." The archer sighed. "Any ideas yet as to how we're getting out of here?"
"Speedy, we're probably millions of miles from home, in space, on a spaceship piloted by an alien. We're trapped in a cell whose walls we can't even scratch, there's no water anywhere close, and you don't have any weapons. I'm having a little bit of difficulty figuring out how this could possibly get any worse." Aqualad's eyes drifted closed lazily.
A suctioning noise came from behind Aqualad, and Speedy paled.
The Atlantean opened one eye to stare questioningly at his cellmate.
"It just got worse."
Both eyes shot open in surprise, then narrowed again. Aqualad sat up and turned to face the same direction as Speedy.
"Oh, shit," he swore.
Standing at what was apparently the door to the teen's cell was one of their captors, a large, green-blue alien, it's bulbous head far too large for its slender body. In its limbs – they seemed to be an awkward mix of hand and tentacle, it held a metal tray.
"Dammit," Aqualad cried again, stumbling back to stand next to Speedy at the far end of their cell.
"Not only do we get abducted by aliens, but we're abducted by creepy aliens with scary probes!" Speedy announced, starting to get a little hysterical.
"Speedy, please calm down." Aqualad sighed, turning the archer to face him. "We'll be fine."
"How the hell can you say that?" Speedy was quickly passing through "hysterical" and moving straight on into "a complete mental breakdown".
"We're going to die!"
"Roy Harper! Look at me!" The shown of hearing his true name seemed to dispel some of Speedy's hysteria. His breathing slowed and he stopped twitching.
"Roy, look at me." Aqualad turned his friend's face up towards his. "We'll be fine. No one is going to die."
"How are you doing that?" Speedy asked, almost back to his normal, although still slightly off-kilter state.
"Stay so calm. All the time. It isn't natural!"
Aqualad smirked. "What, you think this is the first time I've been abducted by 'creepy aliens with scary probes'?" He slung an arm around Speedy's shoulders. Butterflies fluttered in his stomach. Damn nerves….
Throughout all this the creepy alien had held the scary probes in its tentacle hands, watching the exchange between the two boys with bright green eyes. As Aqualad's arm encircled Speedy, the alien let out a screech, throwing its tray of tools into the air. The teens dodged the array of flying objects skillfully as the alien fled the room, its feet making a squelching noise on the floor. The cell door slammed shut behind it.
"Er…what was that?"
Aqualad shook his head, speechless.
"Hmm?" The Atlantean turned to face his friend. They both started as they realized simultaneously that Aqualad's was still holding Speedy.
"Sorry," he muttered, removing the offending limb from his friend. The butterflies had begun to dissipate. Stupid aliens.
"I'm sorry, too."
Aqualad frowned. "For what, exactly?"
"Tweaking out like that. I'm sorry."
"Hey, no worries," Aqualad assured him. "I told you we'd manage." He chuckled, sitting on the floor and mimicking Speedy's earlier positing, knees to his chest, back against the cell wall. His arms wrapped themselves around his knees.
"Speedy?" he asked after a moment.
"Yeah?" The archer sat beside Aqualad, legs stretched out before him.
"Why did you freak out so badly, though?"When Speedy didn't answer, Aqualad elaborated. "I've seen you face the Brotherhood of Evil without flinching; you've fought against countless villains and super-villains without breaking a sweat. What's so special about these aliens?"
Speedy sighed, shifting positions slightly. He let his head fall back against the wall before answering.
"When I was little, I used to get nightmares. A lot. Most of them, and all of the more vivid ones, revolved around alien abductions. It kind of freaked me out. More than kind of. It really freaked me out. I stopped having them years ago, before I started working with Green Arrow, but even now…I don't know. It still bothers me, more than I'd like to admit. Seeing it here, happening…I'm not sure what would have happened to me if you hadn't been here, hadn't snapped me out of it when you did. Thanks for that, by the way." He smirked at Aqualad, who grinned back.
"Anytime, Speed." The Atlantean sighed heavily, moving back from the wall to lie down again, head resting on his clasped hands.
"That's another thing, though," Speedy continued, looking at Aqualad. "How did you know my name?"
"The team files. 'Bee had me enter everyone's data into our computer. Seems I'm the only one she trusts not to blab." He prodded Speedy at the last comment, chuckling.
"Hey, that's not quite fair. And now you know my name, but I don't know yours."
"No one does."
Speedy waited for him to continue, but Aqualad remained silent.
An uncomfortable silence reigned for several minutes, the only noise the rustling of the teen heroes' clothing as they repositioned themselves.
"What?" Speedy started. He had finally began to adjust to the quiet.
"Garth. That's my name."
"Oh." Speedy paused. "Just Garth? No last name?"
"Yeah. Just Garth. Garth of Shayeris, if you're getting technical."
"Well, then." Speedy held out his hand. "It's nice to meet you, Garth of Shayeris."
"You're high," Aqualad – Garth announced, staring at the proffered hand. "Or drunk."
"Perfectly sober. Promise." Speedy smirked.
"Fine." Garth sat up, facing Roy. He leaned forward, pressing his lips softly to first his right cheek, then his left."
"Well met, Roy Harper."
"Wai – wha?" Roy stumbled over the words.
Garth smiled at his friend's confusion.
"It's the Atlantean version of shaking hands."
"Oh." Roy did not look very comforted. He turned to find Garth studying him carefully. When Roy met his gaze, however, he quickly averted it, flushing slightly.
"What is it, Garth?" Roy asked finally, the name sounding slightly odd on his lips.
"What do you mean?" Garth retorted, returning to his previous position on the floor.
"You want to say something. I can tell. So spill."
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Garth protested, staring at the ceiling.
"You were scratching and your neck. You always do that when you have something to say and you're not sure how to say it."
"How in the world would you know something like that?" Garth sat up for a better view of his fellow prisoner.
Roy shrugged, uncomfortable under Garth's penetrating gaze. "I just know."
"Impeccable logic, that," muttered Garth, sarcasm dripping from his words.
"I thought it was."
"Which, roughly translated from Speedy-Speak, means that I'm not going to get a better answer, so I might as well just change the subject."
"Or you should just answer the question."
"You're not answering mine," Garth pointed out.
"Touche. So. We were changing the subject?"
Roy shrugged. "You were the one who wanted a change. You tell me."
Garth shook his head and opened his mouth to reply, but stopped short.
"What was that?"
Roy looked around, confused. "What was what?"
"I thought I heard something."
"And I think you're hallucinating."
Garth shrugged. "It's possible. It wouldn't be the first time."
"Not a story you're going to be hearing anytime soon. Or ever."
There was a loud rumble that echoed through the ship, which shuddered for several seconds before stalling.
"Okay, I know you heard that one!" cried Garth, jumping to his feet as Roy did the same.
"What the hell was that?" the archer demanded as he tried to regain his balance.
"The cell door swished open once more, admitting the alien from before. Or, at least, Garth had to assume it was the dame one from earlier. He had no idea how to tell the stupid things apart.
As soon as he caught sight of their visitor, Roy yelped and moved closer to Garth, his hand gripping the Atlantean's wrist rather painfully. Garth repressed the urge to pull him closer – for friendly comfort, of course – as the alien screeched at the pair of them. This continued for several moments before it turned around and left, the cell door remaining open behind it.
"Well, that was decidedly odd," Garth commented as soon as the squelching sound of the alien's feet had faded. Roy only nodded.
"Shall we explore a bit, then?"
Once again, Roy's only response was a quick nod. Transferring his startled teammate's hand from his wrist to his own hand, Garth led them from the cell and into the ship beyond.
The only door out of the prison room led to a winding hallway. Every door off of the hall that Garth tried to open was locked. After about seven failed attempts, he sighed.
"I get the distinct impression that we're being herded…" he muttered, turning away from door seven.
"What do you mean?" These were the first words Roy had uttered since they had left the cell.
"I think they let us out on purpose in order to usher us somewhere else. They've blocked almost every door."
"Then we unblock them," Roy declared, tugging Garth by the hand, which he still held, to the next door. He reached for the handle with every intention of forcing the door open, when it swung in without protest.
"Huh." Roy stared at the door for a minute, startled. "Well, that was anti-climactic. Come on." He pulled Garth into the next hallway.
"Roy, I think you missed the entire point of my comment," Garth remarked, following the archer.
"Probably," Roy agreed. He kept glancing towards the walls of the hall, looking for doors. "Ah!"
He pushed at the door for a moment, frowning when it wouldn't budge.
Garth smirked. "Here," he said, reaching up to push at the top of the door. It still didn't move. Glaring at the door, Garth pulled his other hand from Roy's grasp, regretting the loss of contact – couldn't be too careful, you know – and shoved again. A hissing sound escaped from the door, and it began to lower, drawbridge-like, onto the ground outside.
"Is that what I think it is?" Roy asked, peering around Garth.
"I hope so. Come on." He grabbed Roy's hand once more, pulling him trough the door, into what seemed to be home but couldn't possibly be. The aliens couldn't be that stupid.
Garth ignored these thoughts, looking around. He sensed water not far away.
"Hey, Garth, look!"
The Atlantean turned, following the direction in which his friend was pointing.
"Titan's Tower West!"
Garth breathed a sigh of relief, following Roy through the open field to Jump City, and the Tower headquarters of Titans West beyond.
End Part 1.