Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans.
This is the 4th major installment of the Twilight Child story arc. Here are the stories so far, in order:
----Stair Luge Samurai – one shot
I hope you enjoy it!
There is a one-shot that I have planned that takes place between "Coyote" and "Nadir" that I have not been able to complete yet. I have no idea when it will be ready. However, "Nadir" makes sense without the story line there. Basically, it is the story of when Raven meets Matt Logan, Gar's cousin. It will get posted, some day.
This series is based on the comic series and not the animated series, so if you have only seen the animated version of the Titans, you may encounter situations and characters with which you may not be familiar. Hopefully, though, there will be enough author's notes along the way to fill you in on the gaps between the two versions of the Titans.
The "Twilight Child" series breaks continuity with the current Geoff Johns series at issue #20. Any events in the current series after that point (including Infinite Crisis and the One Year Later storylines) do not affect this arc.
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. I prefer to use author's notes rather than use lengthy as-you-know-Bob explanations that would bog down the flow of the story. However, if I leave out an explanation, feel free to send me a private message via my profile. I am more than happy to answer any questions, and I love getting email. If you see anything that is wildly inaccurate (or if you just want to talk Titans), please let me know, and I will do my best to correct it.
I am enjoying the current series very much. If you haven't read the comics yet, I encourage you to check them out.
With deep thanks to my beta-readers: DeTroyes, Pliskin MacReady, and SixStringSamurai. I could not have done this without you. Also, I send a special thanks to all who have read all of the stories up to this point and to all of my friends on the RBSU Forum. Thanks for sticking with me, guys. I have enjoyed hearing from all of you. It brings me a lot of joy to get your reviews and PM's. Your encouragement means a lot to me.
Deep appreciation to artificial-smile on deviantArt for supplying me with research materials for several chapters in this fic.
For Mama and Pops, who have always encouraged me to be creative and never, ever separated me from my beloved comics when I was growing up. For my brothers, who introduced me to a love of comics and science fiction in the first place. And for my husband, who now shares my love of the genre (and puts up with my hours slaving away over the keyboard). And for my grandmother, who only ever wanted me to be happy.
And now . . . without further ado…
Nadir – Chapter 1
"Now, focus on this, Raven. This is a very important skill I'm teaching you. What's that one look like?"
Raven shaded her eyes with a slender hand as she gazed into the sky. "Oh, dear…cotton balls? Or is it cotton candy?"
"Good start, but look at the outline. What does it remind you of? What does it make you think about?"
"Well, that one makes me think of mashed potatoes." She leaned back into Gar's shoulder and rolled her eyes up at him. "What do we call this activity, again?"
"Cloud busting," he replied with a sigh of mock exasperation. "It must be lunchtime. You're imagining with your stomach."
"It has been a while since breakfast, beloved," she chuckled. She curled her legs closer to herself, enjoying the warm sunshine as it worked its way into her bones. The long grass beneath their blanket rustled with her movement. She felt his arm tighten around her as she buried her cheek into his soft gray sweatshirt.
"Well, my little Nightingale," he muttered into her hair, "it's all part of my mission – Operation: Recovered Childhood. You're going to pick up some of the things you've missed out on."
"And cloud busting is an important thing?"
"Major. Almost as much as humor assimilation. It makes you use your i-mag-i-na-tion." He sang out the last few syllables and chucked her under her chin. "And it kinda tells you what's on your mind. What about that one?" He pointed at another mass of white floating by.
"Let me think. Oh, a buffalo?"
"Ah, good! Since you're a vegetarian, I'll take that as your first non-food answer of the day." He planted a firm kiss on her temple. He brushed the back of his hand against her cheek. Closing his eyes to the deep blue sky, he listened to her breathing.
"And that one looks like…like a rather large dog." Her voice was as clear and bright as the day.
A single green eye snuck open for a moment to gaze at the image. "Dead ringer for Old Bill. You missing your cousin?"
Her hand wrapped itself around his as she played mindlessly with his fingers. "Yes," she said, "I heard from Karen yesterday. They…they have finished clearing the rubble from the landslide."
"Wow, two weeks. That took them a while. Did they find your grandfather?"
"No, not yet. They are trying to sift through the rocks again. I offered to assist, but Charles wanted to do it himself."
"What do you think happened?"
"I—I do not know – can we discuss it later?" She started to shiver.
"Sure, baby, sure," he replied with a slight mental cringe behind his eyes.
Reaching over with both arms, he pulled her to him. Reclining into the grassy rise behind them, he pillowed her head on his chest. Her head slid up to plant itself in her favorite spot so that her ear could hover just above his heartbeat. Green fingers wound their way into her hair as she tugged the far corner of their blanket over her. He could feel her relaxing into him; every time they curled up together, she relaxed more rapidly. A drowsy breeze blew across them both, and their relaxation slipped into a light nap.
She would often nap like this. Sometimes it would be with her head on his shoulder while they watched a sunset. Other times she spooned up beside him on the couch as they watched another movie in his attempts to cultivate her sense of humor. She slept as if she had never slept before.
His steady green eyes studied her as he continued to caress her hair. Such trust, he thought. You trust a guy like me…
The grass danced in the breeze. He did not mind her nodding off. It was their only chance to really rest with each other, since they were not allowed to share a bed at the tower. Cyborg was paranoid that some of the mentors would pull their sidekicks out of the Titans if they spent too much time together behind closed doors, possibly setting a bad example that might spread to the younger members.
He continued stroking her hair. A soft grunt rumbled in his chest as he felt her sense of relaxation seep into him.
Their private agreement to wait on intensifying their relationship had remained just that – private. But there were questions, questions that they both had, that begged for answers…
Bart peeked out the window at the sleepy pair in the distance. A crooked grin inched across his face as he returned his attention to the game controller clutched in his hand. Its hypnotic music held him in its grasp as he completed another level. Thumbs and fingers danced across the controller in a jerky rhythm. Closer and more frantic, faster, his hands moving faster than the console could keep up . . .
Bleep. The communications console invaded his imagined world.
He paused the game.
"Okay, okay! Don't get your circuits in a wad." He pressed a button. "Titans Tower, how may I help you?"
"Baaaaart!" A deep and cheerful voice answered him. "That you? How's it goin', little buddy?"
"Hey. Vic around? I need to talk to him a minute."
"Nope." He's out with Lenina, Bart thought. He won't be around for a while.
"Yo-kay. Howzabout Raven? She might be able to answer a question or two."
Bart's eyes slipped out the window to look over at his friends again.
"She's…er… taking a nap, Roy. I really don't want to disturb her."
"Ah. The little green guy available?"
"He's, uh, taking a nap, too."
Bart jumped back from the speaker at the sudden increase in volume. "Umm….uh…"
"You trying to tell me something?"
"Weeeeell, noooo…Roy, um…"
"Woo-hoo! Gar, that old dog! What's he got that I ain't got?"
"Uh . . . Roy?" Bart scratched his head.
"Yeah, Bart. She shoots me down every time I ask. Long, long story. Look, kiddo, just have Cyborg call me back when he has a chance, okay? Don't bother the lovebirds."
"Okay, Roy, I'll – "
Bart wrinkled his nose. Weird.
"Weird," Roy cackled as he shut off his phone. He tried to picture the green shape-shifter and the empath together. He could barely hold his sides in. "Really, really weird."
He tried to stand up. The image flooded his mind again, and he slapped his knee with gusto. "Now, that's funny as hell. I've gotta tell somebody."
Trying to catch his breath, he dialed the phone again, making sure to scramble the signal before the other end was answered.
"Whoooooo! Dick! Old buddy," He wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. "you're not gonna believe this . . ."
Bart was deep in another round of the game. He was so deep that the rest of the world – the sleepy couple outside, Roy's gutter-bound mind, the needy communications console – was light years away. A single goal -- to beat this unbeatable level without using cheat codes-- floated in front of him on a haloed cloud. So close—
Bart sighed and paused the game again.
"Dude!" Another voice rattled the speakers. "Is this Robin?"
"Uh, no. Kid Flash on watch today. Hi, Matt," Bart droned.
"Hey, little guy, sorry about that. Is my cousin around?"
"No, Matt, he's – "
"Out with his chick-a-dee, I bet. Good for him. Hey, just let him know – some of my L.A. insider friends told me there's a story on him on Superheroes Tonight at seven. He might wanna watch."
"I'll pass it on."
"Great, kiddo. Oh, and remind him that I still wanna come up there and ride the stair luge with you guys. I've only done six stories . . ."
In case you've never met these guys before:
Roy Harper/Arsenal: Roy used to be Speedy, the sidekick of Green Arrow. He started out as an archer, but he has since expanded his repertoire to include other weapons. He was a member of the original Fab Five Titans and was a reserve member of the Wolfman-Perez Titans. He tried to ask Raven out at least once in the WP era #26. I'm sure she would have turned him down anyway, but Dick put the kibosh on the question as soon as it was asked. It was a cute little panel. He is quite the Casa Nova at times. He and Raven have always had a friendly (even if not shippy) rapport during the few times they have interacted.
Matt Logan: Gar Logan's paternal cousin. We met him in the Beast Boy mini series a few years ago. He is a delightful character to write and is much loved by many Titans fans. He has no super powers (at least, none I am aware of). I think he deserves to appear in the pages of the Titans once again. He is too good a creation to fade into obscurity.
Lenina: Dr. Lenina Sommers is the doctor that we met in "Deeper" that helped Raven and Gar while they were in the barometric chamber. She is not a very prominent character. But I did think Cyborg could use some lovin'.