Disclaimer: If I owned them, I would have pushed for the Doom Patrol to show up in the fifth season finale.
Author's Note: After seeing a funny Negative Man doodle by Titans director Ben Jones, I thought about how not only Negative Man, but also the Doom Patrol isn't covered in the fandoms at all. Therefore, I thought to give it a stab and write for someone who would appreciate this as well.
Beta: My beta is busy, so patience.
Dedication: Here is your birthday present, Neoinean. Since I don't have the money on hand to mail you a real present currently.
Timeline: A day after Homecoming Pt 2.
While twilight descended upon the sky, Mento crouched himself on a cliff high above a factory in the middle of a forested nowhere. He used his artificial psychic powers to scan the factory and note the Brotherhood of Evil insignia on one adjacent door. He sensed a rustling behind and cocked his head— it was the bandaged member of the Doom Patrol, the aptly titled Negative Man.
"What are you doing here? I said I would scout this base myself," Mento snarled.
"I don't know myself. You shot down Rita and Cliff after we left the kid and, then, took off when we landed, so that leaves only me." Negative Man shot back in his monotone.
"I shot them down because I don't want to do what Rita wants me to do— talk about my feelings at the moment." The leader of the Doom Patrol rubbed his throbbing temples.
"Do you ever?"
He eyed his shrouded friend. "What does that mean?"
"Talk about your feelings. Usually you're busy obsessing about the Brain or worrying about Rita to dwell on them. Don't think I don't notice your eyes on her," Negative Man observed.
"Don't deny it, Steve. You know you do."
Mento sighed. "As for obsessing about the Brain, that's because I'm the leader— I have to stop him before he can regroup and destroy us all."
"Yeah, but do you have to treat it like it's the end of the world?" Larry deadpanned.
"Larry, you know the capabilities of his Black Hole Machine."
"And we beat it. And we'll do it again, like we usually do."
"Yeah…" The human tensed up and cut off his power. "I scanned the base. We can move in the northern sector. Security is weakest there."
If the mummified metahuman could, he would roll his eyes at his leader's all-business tone. "You are in denial— I'm surprised you didn't slug me for bringing up Rita."
Steve deeply inhaled as he stood up. "Even if I could, I'd end up taking off your jaw. Who knows what is keeping your body together," he jabbed.
"I'm glad you haven't lost your sense of humor."
Mento faced him. "What do you want, Larry?"
"You tell me— before the Brain caught us, you were your typical repressive self, then, we meet up with the kid, and you repress yourself more than usual," Negative Man drabbed.
"I do not repress." Steve was ready to storm off in a huff.
"Compared to you lately, Batman is Mr. Mxyzptlk."
He froze at the simile. "You just know when to cut me deep, don't you?"
"Practice, practice?" the hybrid shrugged.
"You never cease to amuse or amaze, my friend."
"Good to know. So?"
He stared at his friend's swathed face. "So?"
"So what's the problem? You miss the kid?"
Emotions from the past undulated within the Doom Patrol leader. "I don't know. Satisfied?" Steve defensively snapped.
"It's a start. Were things that bad again?" Larry loathed dredging up the final days of Beast Boy's time with the Doom Patrol and the everlasting bickering between adopted father and son.
Mento reminisced about his later banter with Beast Boy as they stormed the Brotherhood's base. "Actually, no. In the end, it was rather good."
"Again I ask— what's the problem? The kid seemed happy to be with you at the end of the mission. You even accepted his new team. I don't get it."
The only response he evoked was silence. His subordinate found the right button to push. "Is that it? It's because Garfield moved on from his old life with you?"
He glared at his compatriot. "You don't know what you're talking about. Don't psychoanalyze me, Larry."
"I think I do. Steve, you can't go back into the past. You two argued and the kid left. Then, you doubled your efforts on the Brain, because it's easier to obsess on him than admit about your feelings for the kid and realize how things have changed." Negative Man approached his leader.
"Even if that's true— and that's a big if— why would I do that?"
"Because everything is a crusade to you or a project— you're like that with Rita, the Brain, and you certainly felt that way to the kid back then. It's simply one distraction on top of another and that way, you don't have to acknowledge how everything is changing around you. I rather noticed how you don't care for change." His monotone slightly spiked in emotion.
"Distractions and not caring for change? Even if that is all true, it is for the greater good. I don't have the time to dwell on such matters." Mento bolstered himself with grandiosity.
"Maybe, but you can split the difference. I got the feeling from the kid's new team that they care about each other beyond cut-and-dry teammates. He proved that he's changed; can you say that for yourself?"
"You know how attachments get in the way of the work. That's not what the Doom Patrol is all about," the human affirmed in his self-important tenor.
"No, but would it hurt to try? It apparently works for the kid; it could work here. I said my piece, I'm going." Larry glanced at his friend before moseying off.
"Larry? Thanks," Steve called out to him.
"Hey, I just lost the coin toss. Now what about the factory?"
The Doom Patrol leader gazed at the factory. "It can keep until tomorrow."
If it were possible for Negative Man, he would have endowed a wisp of a smile on his lips.
Mento joined his friend. "Come on. I owe everyone an apology."
"Maybe there is hope for you yet." The closest the monotone hybrid would get to optimism.
"Maybe, Larry. Maybe."
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