Summary: Beast Boy has an audition in L.A. and decides to go visit his cousin Matt along the way. Guess who tags along?
This takes place between "Coyote" and "Nadir" in the "Twilight Child" fanfiction series.
Here are the Twilight Child stories in order:
Stair Luge Samurai
He Thinks He's Elvis --- new!
Dawn Child --- still in the worksDedicated to Pliskin MacReady and DeTroyes, who are quite possibly Matt's biggest fans. Long live Matt Logan!
A special thanks to DeTroyes and bhill68 for beta-reading this for me.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans, Matt Logan, Raven, or Gar Logan/Beast Boy. More's the pity.
"So, dude, you're finally taking my advice and auditioning for that big sci-fi flick tomorrow?"
"Sure am, Matt," Gar replied.
"Glad to hear it, bro. Since the main character's, like, green, I figured you'd be a shoe-in."
"I just hope my acting skills are up for it," Gar said as he studied the back of his hand. "Just being green won't be enough." He tucked the phone between his ear and his shoulder to wave both hands at Raven as she entered the tower kitchen. "But I thought I might drop by to see you while I'm there."
Raven glanced at him with both her eyebrows arched toward her hairline."Sure, cos, you know where I be – "
She brushed his hand with her fingers, and then she pointed to herself.
"Hold on, Matt." He cupped his hand over the phone. "You want to go, hon?"
"Yes," she replied. "You have told me of your cousin. I would like to meet him, even if just for a moment after I transport you down there. My school starts soon. After that, there won't be a lot of time to spare."
He stared at her, dumbfounded, his eyes nearly crossing at the thought of their meeting. My sweet little Raven and my slacker cousin… "Are you sure?" When her expression did not change, he shook his head. "Never mind. You don't ask unless you're sure. Matt," he spoke into the phone, "I may have company with me."
"Who, your new girlfriend? Heeeeeeey, bring 'er on down! We'll tap a keg, order a pizza, play some tunes — "
"Well, Matt, I – " Gar scratched at his free ear. He glanced back at Raven's curious smile. Images of the effect of one of Matt's parties on his sheltered lady made him shiver. Fire and ice, a voice in his head chanted. Oil and water. "Ix-nay on the eg-kay, all right?"
"A keg? Of what?" Raven asked.
Gar waved his hand at her. Nothing, he mouthed back.
"Not a party animal, eh? Well, it takes all kinds," Matt chuckled. "Let the future Mrs. Logan come on down! Hey, why don't you come on down tonight? You've got time to catch an afternoon flight. We can at least watch some flicks, let you get some rest before your big try-out tomorrow."
Gar clutched the handle of his duffel bag until the mesh bit into his fingers. The last of the brimstone-scented smoke that accompanied Raven's interdimensional travel faded into the dimly lit hallway. His eyes never left her face as he watched for a wrinkled nose, a twisted lip, any sign of distress or distaste at their surroundings. He was met only with a soft blink of her deep violet eyes.
He raised his hand to the door and paused his knuckles an inch from the dented surface.
"Last chance to back out, beautiful."
A slender hand pressed against his shoulder blade, and a wave of warm affection floated around him. "I am sure everything will be fine, Garfield.""You… you still want to go right back to the tower, right? I mean—"
That hand traveled from his shoulder to his jaw and pulled him forward to her face. Her lips silenced his stammering for a long, long, long moment, reminding him of exactly why he had fallen for this wonderfully strange young woman. She pulled back and blinked at him once more.
He sighed and scratched at his ear again. The tip of his pointed ear was nearly raw with all the attention it had received today. "Well, don't say I didn't warn you, sweets."
He paused again, wondering if he still had time to flee. He gulped hard and rapped at the door. Please, be nice, Matt-o. Please, please, please be nice…
The door squealed open at his knock. A dark-haired young man, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a faded Pink Floyd logo, peered out at the couple. He raised his nose high into the air and sniffed at the wisps of smoke in the hallway.
"Hey, who farted?"
Gar groaned. It's going to be a long night, he thought.
"I know it's not like the place I shared with you and Bette," Matt said as he shoved a towering pile of half-crushed beer cans off the couch, "but it is pretty homey." He gestured to Raven to take a seat in the cleared space as several of the cans rolled underneath it. "I promise that the dust bunnies don't bite. They just nibble."
As she sat down, the sound of sliding cardboard and ancient cheese erupted from behind the sofa as crumpled pizza boxes were knocked from their precarious perch. Raven was too enraptured by the dancing figures on the television to even notice. Gar watched as Matt's eyes followed her gaze.
"Oh," Matt asked, "are you a Python fan?"
She watched the screen for another moment, then looked up at Matt. "I – I have watched some comedy with Gar, but I do not remember this particular troupe…"
Gar could almost feel Matt's mouth watering. Ooooh, boy, he thought. He tugged Matt towards the kitchen and said, "Matt, I think she's hungry. Let's see about some food…"
Matt tumbled backward into the next room as Gar pulled on his arm even harder. Matt touched the edge of his baseball cap. " 'scuse us, Ma'am –" he began. He yelped as Gar bodily hauled him into the kitchen.
"Matt, please –"
"Rrrrrow," his cousin replied. "She's so choice. And a Monty Python virgin, to boot! She can see it all for the first time here if she wants!" Matt waggled his eyebrows. "So… Gar…what's her favorite animal?"
Matt nudged Gar in the ribs with his elbow. "Does she know you're a natural green?"
"Or is she one of those girls that yell at you when you morph? 'Cause I don't like girls that—"
"She doesn't yell, Matt."
"Can we just talk about something else?"
"Well, what does she like on her pizza, then? Should I get a Matt's Triple-Meat special?"
"Uhhhhh… she's a vegetarian…"
"Ahhhhh," Matt replied while he stroked his chin. He leaned back into the living room to peek at Raven, who was studiously watching the Monty Python skit on the television. He tilted back into the kitchen and pointed at Gar's green-skinned face. "Of course she is, Mr. Cucumber."
"Matt, wouldja please cut it out?" Gar begged. "She's sweet. She's … I…"
"Ohhhh." Matt's voice dropped to a whisper. "So, it's like that. Have you even made it to first base yet?"
Gar crossed his arms and stared daggers at his cousin. A faint growl curled around his throat. Matt backed up from the kitchen to his bedroom door and pulled it shut. He shuffled back to the kitchen counter.
"In that case, try to keep the bedroom door closed, dude," Matt warned in a hoarse whisper. "I don't want my Kory Anders posters offending Miss Happy Mary Apple Blossom over there. Most chicks--"
Gar's eyes rolled like oily marbles in his head. Will this night never end? "Well, Raven isn't 'most chicks'. But, we'll keep it closed, anyway. Not that she hasn't seen Kory before… but I think she'd be mortified to see her on your wall." He cleared his throat. "So, how is Flamebird doing these days, anyway?" Gar asked in a much louder voice. "I haven't heard from her much since I moved to 'Frisco. She still in the superhero biz? Matt?"
Matt was once again learning into the living room and staring at Raven as she started to giggle at some of the antics on the screen. His jaw hung open for a moment. Then, without turning his head away from her, he whispered out of the side of his mouth. "If you guys ever break up, can I have her phone number?"
"I can't believe you actually wanted to stay the night," Gar whispered in her ear.
The sofa bed creaked as he shifted his hip against the lumps that just seemed to move with him. Gar breathed in the soft rosemary scent of the young woman that was curled up in his arms. The slight teasing tone in her voice was a good as a giggle for him. He felt the softness of her pajamas – actually his pajamas, his favorite Chiquita-banana yellow ones with the overblown dancing hearts – pressed into the baggy sweats that he had borrowed from Matt.
Completely ignoring their surroundings, she purred back at him. "So, what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, and why is it important?"
"Did you enjoy that?" he chortled.
"I did indeed."
"Well, we'll have to invest in the Flying Circus, then. Movie-time fodder. I think that will more than fill your cousin's funny-movie prescription."
He smiled into the darkness and held her closer. I hope this night never ends, he thought.
Gar leaned over and kissed Raven lightly on the cheek as he pulled on his jacket. "I'll call you when I'm done, sweets. You can pick me up here, if you want to. Have a good day back at the tower." He turned to Matt. "Thanks for putting up with us last night."
"'T'weren't nothin', bro," Matt replied. He steered Gar towards the door. "Now, you just go and break a leg. Break two, while you're at it."
Gar resisted the push. He turned to look at Raven, who was sitting on the very edge of the couch. "But--"
"You'll be late," Matt chided. He made shooing motions at Gar. "Skedaddle, you. Go on, I'll make sure she gets home okay."
"I am fine, beloved," Raven replied. "Go on."
Gar blew her a kiss, and then he finally went through the door. As the door closed behind him, Matt leaned against it, folding his arms against his chest.
"Well, good mornin', little miss superhero. Looks like it's just you and me. What do you rather I call you? Since you're out of uniform and all? Or do you always go by Raven?"
"Raven… Rachel… eh… can I just call you Ray? It's easier to remember."
"Of course." She stood up and reached for her jacket. "I… I thank you for letting us stay. I need to—"
"Nah, stay! No need to rush off, Ray!" He retrieved his Dodgers cap from its perch on the back of the sofa. "I'll show you the sights."
"I don't know – I told Garfield that—" She stammered as she gazed at the door behind him.
"Hey, wait. Wait. If Ferris Bueller can take a day off, so can you."
"You mean you haven't seen…well, I know what we're watching tonight!"
She was surprised to find that the offer actually tempted her. She had never spent much time in Los Angeles, even in her vagabond days as a wandering golden spirit. The gypsy fever that had gripped her then tingled in her now. She cast her gaze about the room again, as if seeing the mountain of bent pizza boxes, the half-constructed tower of beer cans, and the carpet of junk mail and forgotten bills for the first time since her arrival. Feeling the chaos around her, she was unsure of how to truly answer him. Her stare lighted on a poster of turtles in various fighting stances and the blue silk headscarf draped across one corner of its frame.
She bit her lip at the sight of the scarf. She pointed to it. "You, too, have braved the Stair Luge?"
He turned to follow her finger's target. "Oh, yeah! Fifth level! You know about the Stair Luge Samurai?"
She bowed slightly.
"Really? How many floors?"
"Bar—Kid Flash guided Garfield and myself on a ten-story ride just a little while ago."
He tipped his hat at her. "Well, li'l miss samurai, that… that's just… great."
The background flavor of lust that she had felt from him faded away. It was replaced by an even stronger feeling, that of admiration.
"We need something breakfast...for vegetarians... something... breakfast... I got it! We'll go see the guys at work! You can grace Pink's Hot Dog Stand with your beauty."
"Hot dogs? But I do not eat--"
"This is L.A., babe. We cater to vegetarians all the time! We have tofu dogs. Breakfast of champions!"
Gar Logan surveyed the line of other movie hopefuls that snaked around the block in front of him. He wondered – not the first time that day – why he was grinding himself through the audition grist mill yet again.
He felt their eyes on him, their vision bouncing between his green skin and the poster on the door that announced to them all: "Perry's War Open Casting Call Today." The concept sketches below the title showed multiple human beings with his skin tone. He wasn't the only one at the business end of the stares; he counted a half-dozen blue jean and cologne models and a handful of other B- and C-list actors. All of them had eyes overflowing with hope and anxiety.
His fingernail scratched at the tip of his ear again. He just hoped to be able to snag just one of those parts, even if it wasn't the lead. He sighed. Readings, screen tests, producers, directors, agents… he remembered these all too well. He recalled Rita Farr, his adoptive mother, talking about her life before she was a part of the Doom Patrol, when she was a movie star. The only thing that ever seemed to change, she had told him, was the size of their budgets.
He pulled his wallet out and flipped through the collection of photographs that made its sides bulge. He touched the face in one with his smallest finger, and the edges of his lips curled upward as he remembered finally convincing his dark-haired girl to step into one of those shopping mall photo booths with him. The happy face beaming back at him was worth every hour of coaxing he'd had to do.
So young, so happy, he thought. We won't be young forever, though. And we won't be running around in capes and long johns forever, either. He looked up at the line. Like most of these guys, this is the only other thing I know how to do. But I want… something…something to give her. I want her to be proud of me. If I can get a really good part or two or three, get some more residuals besides Space Trek coming in…
The line shuffled and carried him forward.
"You were right, this is rather good," Raven remarked as she took another bite of the faux-sausage. The sun was bright and warm on her face as she looked up from the table and gazed around at the emerald green park.
"Of course I'm right!" Matt replied. "Pink's Hot Dog Stand has the best soy dogs in L.A.!" With gusto, he tore off another chunk of bratwurst and bun with his teeth. He mumbled through the bread in his mouth. "So, young lady, what are your plans for life after school?"
"Yeah, y'know, what you want to do when you grow up. Get married, get a job, punch out a litter of puppies… I mean, you're already a superhero, right? That's what a lot of kids want to be when they grow up. What could possibly top that?"
"You mean… to work for money?"
"Yeah, sure. Unless you plan on fighting evil with your dentures when you're ninety."
"I… I do not know. I have wanted to try doing other things, but in Azar — um — where I grew up, we did not… worry about money. They did not use currency."
"Sounds like some kind of hippie commune or something." He ripped another hunk of sausage off with his back teeth. "You must've had an interesting childhood, Ray."
"In a manner of speaking, yes, I did."
"So, let me put on my career counselor hat and…" He chewed again, staring off into space. "Let me think… lingerie model?"
She stared at him.
He shrugged. "Can't blame a guy for trying. Let's see, what else… Buddhist nun?"
"I do not think I would qualify. I am not Buddhist."
"Whew, good. Yoga teacher? You said you were into meditation."
"Voice actress? You have a sexy voice. Good diction, too."
"I am not fond of… cameras…"
"Nah, nah, voice actress. Just you and a microphone and a few other camera-shy actors and a script. You don't even have to memorize anything!"
"This is L.A., babe. You can do anything here!"
"Pictures of your girlfriend?" A flash strobed in Gar's face as a strangely familiar voice punctured his reverie.
"Huh?" Gar blinked and looked up to see, among the purple and blue afterimages of the flash, a pair of faces that he really didn't want to remember.
"Damn paparazzi," the lanky young fellow behind him spat at the interlopers. He turned to Gar. "Have they been bothering you, too?"
Gar lowered his eyebrows at the pair. "You're the ones that jumped me at the movies weeks ago!"
The flashbulbs once again struck him like hot bullets, along with a rapid fire inquisition.
"Is it true you're robbing the cradle by dating a high-schooler?"
"How did you meet her?"
"What does her father think?"
A low growl vibrated in Gar's throat. He felt his sharp canines grow as his eyes became slits in his face.
"Is she one of your teammates?"
"Why are you afraid to reveal her identity, Mr. Logan? You're not ashamed of her, are you?"
"Hey," his fellow auditioner yelled at them, "maybe the dude just wants some privacy!"
The growl became a snarl just before the two fled down the sidewalk, trailing press passes behind them. "Mr. Betterman'll just love these!"
The man behind him shook his head. "Oh, nuts, man, not Bill Betterman."
Gar turned to his new acquaintance, allowing his features to return to normal. "Betterman? You know him?"
"Yeah. Superhero paparazzi are the worst."
"Occupational hazard," Gar groaned. I hope Raven's having a better day than I am. The tower's gotta be quiet this time of day…
He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and punched in a speed-dial number. He jumped when he heard Matt's voice pick up the call. "Watchtower Pool Hall. Eight-ball speaking."
"Gar, my brother! How's it going? Met your leading lady yet?"
"Still in line. Uh, why are you on Raven's phone?"
His voice faded a little. "Whoa, there, Ray. You're a little wobbly there, sweetie. The real trick to rollerblading is not to think about it too much." It got louder again. "I'm just giving her the nickel tour, Gar. Don't get your spandex in a wad."
"She was curious, dude! I couldn't turn her down! Especially after she bought that string bikini on Rodeo Drive. Yowza."
"Just joking, bro. She blushes just seein' the other girls on Venice Beach."
Gar moaned, and his eyelids fluttered. "Please don't break my girlfriend, Matt. I just got her."
"What commune is she from, anyway? I can't peg her accent."
One of the casting assistants waved at Gar. "You're up next, Mr. Logan," she said.
He growled into the phone. "Look, I gotta go. Just take care of her, okay?"
"As if she were my very own," Matt replied. The connection faded.
That's a scary thought. Okay, okay, deep breaths, Gar thought. I haven't done this for a while. Deep breaths, guy. Wish me luck, Rave.
"You're getting the hang of it now. Just in time for you to get tired! Ah!" He patted her on the shoulder as they stepped onto a bus.
"You know," she told him, "I could always just phase us over to where we're going."
Matt made a small face, then smiled at her. "I'm more of a bus man," he explained. "So, what next? The Chinese theater? The tar pits? The zoo -- nah, you're already dating one. I wonder if the Dodgers are playing today. You like baseball? Know anything about it?"
"Baseball. I know about third base."
"Third base?" He took another sip of his soda and nudged her arm with his elbow. "Has Gar been to third base?"
She frowned. "No, as I recall, it was just Starfire and myself."
Matt nearly choked as he tried to prevent himself from spraying soda all over the back of the seat in front of him. He failed. "You and Starfire?"
"Yes. There was a bomb beneath it."
Matt arched an eyebrow as he hastily tried to wipe the spewed soda off of the seat back. "Uhhhh… bomb?"
"Yes. But we managed to get it away from the stadium in time. No one was hurt."
He carefully removed his hat and scratched his head.
Raven frowned, unsure of why she felt the buzz of confusion pulsing from him. "It was a long time ago," she explained.
He opened his mouth as if to speak, and then he shut it. He sighed and placed the hat back on his head. "I think you and I are having different conversations, darlin'. I got nothin'." He snapped his finger as a new plan hit him. "I've got it! Elvis!"
"Yeah, they do Elvis karaoke down at the Blue Moon Café. Don't tell me you've never heard of Elvis!"
"Actually, I have heard of Elvis. My mother told me a great deal about him when she taught me about Ear—about…" Her words faded as she sighed in frustration.
His lower lipped rolled into a sympathetic half-frown. "There is life outside those hippie communes, you know. "
"What did you do there? Anything weird?"
"Weird?" she replied, a nervous twinge in her voice. "Define weird."
"Relax, just making conversation. Like, did they chant all the time? Grow weird veggies? Use all solar power? Expand their consciousness?"
"Yes," she replied.
"To all of it. Except for solar power…the light… I—"
"Did you do anything weird? I know you're on the Titans, so you gotta have some powers. Besides, you know, the smoke-machine."
She cast her eyes down to the floor of the bus, searching for some innocent memory from her childhood that she could reveal to him, something to thank him for his kindness that day. It took a moment. "My mother told me that… I would levitate in my sleep, sometimes, when I was very small."
"You mean, like, floating above the sheets?"
"Yes. I do not remember doing it, but she told me that she saw me do it sometimes if I had… if I had a pleasant day. If I was feeling… light. But I was very young, then. I think it stopped as I got older." And as I no longer felt that lightness, she thought to herself. She braced herself, not sure if he what he would think of her know.
She nodded, unsure of what else to say. He looked away with a slight frown, and Raven shrank back into her half of the seat, dreading what he might say next. She wasn't sure how to read the tumult of thoughts and emotions that were churning in his mind.
He turned back with an alarmingly large grin. His eyebrows rippled with a life of their own as he draped an arm about her shoulders. "So, what else can you do?"
Gar took a deep breath after his last line stopped echoing on the stage. He squinted under the intense lights of the auditorium and tried to look out into the audience. He could see only the silhouette of the casting agent out in the darkness. The agent's voice floated up to the stage. "I've never seen anyone play a battle scene quite like that, Mr. Logan." A tap-tap-tap of papers being jogged punctuated the pause as another shadow made its way through the aisle towards the speaker. "I'd like to bring some other prospective cast members in for a group screen test, but I think—"
An flurry of agitated whispers interrupted him just as Gar felt hope rise in his heart. Maybe, just maybe this time…oh, Raven, this will be great. We'll go to the premiere together. I'll get you a new dress. I'll be great. I'll get more parts… build a little nest egg…
"Oh, dear," the agent began again. His shadow's head was shaking from side to side. "Oh, dear, oh, dear."
Gar felt his chest sink in.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Logan, but there seems to be a change of plans…"
The cellular phone vibrated in Raven's hand, and she glanced down to see Garfield's number on the dimly lit display. She slipped out the front door of the café, which was virtually empty except for her, one lone waitress, and Matt singing on the raised plywood box that served as a stage.
"Hi, hon," he replied with what sounded like a sigh. "How are you doing?"
His voice is so flat and hopeless, she thought.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
"I'll tell you when I see you. Where are you guys?"
"At a place called the Blue Moon Café. It is on—"
"I know it. Actually, I'm pretty close by. I'll walk on over and see you in a minute."
"Of course, I—" she began, but the signal died. Closing the phone's clamshell, she turned to see her reflection in the bar's window and finger-combed her breeze-kissed hair before walking back in.
Gar looked up at the sign of the Blue Moon, not daring to look in the window. He paused in front of the door, then backed away and wandered into the alley between it and the next building. With his back to the crumbling brick wall, he slumped down to the ground with legs folded in front of him. He ran his hands through his hair for a moment, trying to work up the courage to go in and face her…. after his failure…
A slender hand appeared in front of him. He looked up the arm and followed it to a pair of concerned eyes.
"Beloved? I felt your distress. What is—"
"Raven, I… I… it's not gonna happen."
"They offered the part to someone else?"
He looked up at her with weariness on his face. "That's the weird part, Rave. I did get it. I think."
"Then I do not understand. Why—"
"They were talking to me about an additional screen test right before the executive producer walked in and said that the funding for the film had been cut off. They're not gonna make it, after all. I really wanted to do this, do this for...for us. I just don't get it," he said as he ruffled his hair again and closed his eyes tightly. "Even when I succeed, I fail."
"Oh, Garfield," she replied softly as she knelt in front of him. "Look at me." Taking one his hands away from his wrecked hair, she cradled it between her own. "I want you to know this: that I love you, whether you succeed or whether you fail. It is your heart that I love, not your achievements." She brushed the top of his knuckle against her cheek, then released his hand. "Besides, it was beyond your control. You had success. The failure was theirs, not yours. If acting is what you want to do, there will be other parts. This is L.A., beloved. Anything can happen." She offered her hand to him again, as if to help him stand. "And you are… you are always my leading man, yes?"
He felt a goofy grin break out across his face. As he took her hand in his, he replied, "Yeah. Yeah! Oh, yeah!"
She led him by the hand back into the café, which was empty except for Matt. On a dimly lit stage, he was stomping and shouting "oh yeah", with an occasional swaying of his hips.
"A little less conversation, a little more action, please," he howled into the microphone. Sharp feedback screeched through the air, and Gar couldn't cover his sensitive ears fast enough. Even though there was no music playing, he still pranced and ran about the stage as if an entire band and light show were backing him up. "La la la, don't remember the next words, a little more bite and a little less bark…"
Gar winced. "Don't tell me. You pulled out some of his rock star fantasies and actually let him see them?"
The slightest hint of sheepishness crept into her smile as Matt belched and belted out another off-key song: "Oooh, oooh, oooh, I feel my temperature risin'... "
She stared at the floor for a long moment. "He asked about some of my powers. I was nervous about telling him anything, but…"
"He gave you the look, didn't he?" Gar shook his head. "Not even you can resist his puppy dog eyes, I guess."
She cupped his chin with her hand. "It runs in the family." She released his chin and rested her fingers on his elbow. "I thought he would be afraid, but he just kept saying 'cool' to everything I said. I told him about how I could pull someone's memories or dreams out of their mind and…"
"The same way you made Dad believe that Robot Man was Rita that time we saved him -- when he was looking for mom – remember, when we all got together the first time?"
She nodded. "It is a good thing to use my abilities to make someone happy, is it not? I let Matt see one of his dreams, of being a music star surrounded by crowds of adoring women."
"I'm a hunka-hunka burnin' love!" Matt shouted into the microphone. He flopped down on his knees and threw his head back. "Thank you! Thank you very much," he drawled to his invisible audience. "Rock'n'Roooooooooooolllllllll." He took a final bow. As his head rolled forward, his baseball cap slid off into the floor.
"I believe he thinks he's Elvis," she whispered to Gar.
A waitress remarked as she passed by, "Yeah, and ten minutes ago he was Mick Jagger."
Gar chuckled as he pulled Raven closer to him. "Rave, you're the greatest." Curling his arm around her waist, he rested his head on her shoulder. His heart, which had felt like a sinking chunk of granite just a moment before, floated as he kissed her wrist. Relief and hope filled him as he watched the goofy grin on his cousin's face. "What's he seeing now?"
"I stopped the illusions twenty minutes ago. What he sees now, I do not know."
Back in Matt's kitchen, surrounded by ancient cheeseburger wrappers and stacks of dishes with contents both ancient and unknown, Gar stared at his cousin, who was waving his hand in front of his face, trying to clear Raven's interdimensional smoke out of the unventilated room.
"She's a keeper, that's for sure. I'm glad you two are staying the night again," Matt said. He coughed. "You know, that teleportin' is fun and all, but it has its drawbacks."
"Drawbacks?" Gar asked.
"Yeah. Seriously, Gar. Give the girl some Bean-O."
"I'm just sayin'. Who knew that superpowers would give you gas? It's heinous."
Gar counted to twenty before he changed the subject. "So, what did you two talk about all day?" he asked, pointing towards the living room with a jerk of his head. He could hear Raven's soft laughter as she watched Ferris having his day off and singing "Twist and Shout" to the city of Chicago.
Matt shrugged as he sniffed the hot steam arising from his latest order of pizza. "Oh, hippies. Hot dogs. Baseball. Third base," he said with a wink and a nudge to Gar's elbow. "Your future star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. My script. The meaning of life. Tons of stuff. So, tell me, Gar. Why did you never introduce us before?"
"Well, I guess I thought you two would, that is, er, not get along, uh…"
"You mean, she'd think I was weird? Or I'd think she was?"
"Something like that."
"Grasshopper," he replied as he rested his non-pizza-laden hand on Beast Boy's shoulder, "let me give you this great pearl of wisdom: one man's weird is another man's cool. Never forget that."
Gar dove into the sofa bed and immediately regretted it. The lumps rearranged themselves in perfect order to allow his elbow to bounce off the support bars below the mattress.
Gar groaned as he rubbed his bruised arm. "I'm surprised you actually wanted to stay another night," he remarked. He looked up at Raven. "You know what the best part of today was? They wanted me to play a person, not some alien or wild animal. They wanted me."
"They are not the only ones," she replied as she turned off the lights.
He grunted happily as he listened to the sofa creak from her warm weight settling onto the mattress. That warmth rolled across to him and settled into the nest of blankets he'd created. His hand located her hip and walked its way to the small of her back. He tucked her close in to his shoulder.
"So," Gar whispered to her, "did you have a good day? Was Matt—"
"A perfect gentleman. He is exactly what he portrays himself to be – a man of deep thought and humor. Even if I do not always understand it. He hides nothing. It is refreshing. And a little disorienting."
"Matt… deep thought? Really?"
"Yes," she replied, "I wish there were more people like him." She turned to face him. "Yes, it was a wonderful day." She burrowed her face into his chest and breathed softly against him. "And a most wonderful evening. Are you… comfortable?"
Letting the bottled up anxiety of the day ease its way out of his system, Gar heaved a sigh. "Well, let's see. Today I both won and lost an acting gig. I got accosted by the rudest reporter that God ever put on this planet. I'm currently surrounded by an indeterminate amount of unidentified wildlife –" he said as he raised his head and peered into the direction of soft rustling around the abandoned pizza box – "and I'm cuddled up with the sweetest gal in North America." He brushed his lips against the crown of her hair. "I'd say I'm perfect."
He felt the warmth of her index finger trace the smile on his lips in the darkness. It's good to feel someone so close, he thought. Really, really good.
"I feel so loved," she replied softly.
"So do I, baby doll, so do I." A yawn escaped him as he shifted his ribs away from a particularly hard lump in the mattress. "'Night, sweets."
"Good night, my beloved."
"Good night, John-Boy!" Matt yelled.
Gar groaned and shook his head into the pillow. I wonder if he likes Raven as much as she likes him, he wondered. His closing eyes said farewell to the day.
Floorboards creaked beneath Matt's bare feet as he snuck through the living room for a midnight beer run. He heard tiny claws scrabbling wildly against mozzarella-encrusted cardboard as he made his way to the kitchen; he just shrugged at the sounds of the night. A flutter of movement in the corner of his eye caused him to turn his head to see the slim figure hovering a foot off of the sofa bed.
He stepped forward to get a closer look at the outline of the levitating sleeper. She was curled up on her side; her black tattoo winked at him from under the hem of her shirt. His eyes drifted down to his napping cousin. Gar's lips formed a contented smile as his fingers held her hand, tethering her to the bed.
Cocking his head to one side to study the scene, he uttered a soft "d'awwwwwww…" under his breath.
Matt watched a shiver shake the petite frame floating over his cousin. He bent down to pick up the softest of the many blankets that had slid into the floor. Gently, careful not to wake her, he draped the blanket over her resting form. Her shoulders shrugged slightly as the bedspread covered her.
Satisfied, he shuffled back to his room and closed the door before he popped the tab on the beer. He raised the can and nodded to the Kory Anders poster on his wall. "Yeah, babe," he murmured to the picture of the golden alien, "life is good."
Matt Logan is one of my all-time favorite supporting characters for the Titans. I can just imagine him being a fan of Monty Python, Elvis, Pink Floyd, any 80s comedy, and Gar's own "Space Trek:2022".
Okay, okay, I know that there is no prior evidence of Raven levitating in her sleep. However, she has been shown levitating when she meditates, so I figured that if some people sleepwalk, then she could sleep-levitate sometimes.
Third base -- I just couldn't resist this one. Back in New Teen Titans #21 (Wolfman-Perez) era, Raven and Starfire saved a baseball stadium from being blown up by a bomb. Raven used her powers to get the location of the bomb from one of the terrorists who had put it there, then told Starfire that it was "buried beneath something called third base." Neither of them had a clue what "third base" was, in any context. It was kind of a cute moment. I thought it would be fun to do a play on words with that here.
The Kory Anders poster – I have in mind the one that was photographed by Donna Troy in issue #42 of the Wolfman-Perez series. This is one of Starfire in a rather skimpy bikini posing in front of a space-oriented background. It was meant to be the advertisement for a film-fest. I would suspect that Matt got his hands on one of those at some point!
Perry's War is a tip of the hat to the book Old Man's War by John Scalzi. If you are a fan of science fiction, I highly recommend it. It's a great "space marines" kind of story. It is a serious story with lots of comic relief. When I was reading it, I would sometimes have to put it down; I couldn't read the print because I was laughing so hard that I was crying. It would make sense for Gar to be trying out for this movie, since most of the characters in the movie have green skin. And cat's eyes. No makeup! In a partial transformation, he might manage the cat's eyes for long enough to film a scene. You never know. And I think that with his sense of humor, he would make a natural John Perry. I can just hear Gar talking to his BrainPal™. I really do hope they make a movie of this book some day (and that the budget doesn't get cut before the casting is done).