Disclaimer: Teen Titans are not mine.
Part of my E'ara universe, that starts off with As the dust settles. It is recommended that you read those first, but not necessary.
Broken record moment: Do I really have to? Aussie, spelling, slang, word usage is all different.
Big Fat Warning: 'Kryptic' Kryalla… burning, evil nastiness… beastly intentions… Elton John… -shudder-
"Today is a joyous day for Gotham City. Dick Grayson, adopted son of billionaire Bruce Wayne and heir to the Wayne fortune, is marrying long time, on and off again girlfriend Kori Anders. The couple has been dating infrequently over the past nine years, amid various scandals and some very public disagreements. Then came the high flying proposal that rocked the nation, as Dick and Kori showed their joint love of the trapeze at Haley's Circus and performed the Grayson family traditional maneuver together, the quadruple somersault. Dick proudly proclaimed that only the Grayson family knew the secrets of that maneuver, before finally asking Kori to join it. They are getting married in a private ceremony at Wayne Manor, surrounded by friends and family-"
"Oh, turn that infernal contraption off," Rachel snapped, flicking her powers out at the small television that sat on the bench. "Media," she muttered as the lady's infuriating voice finally vanished.
"Public fights?" Karen asked curiously, sitting on the chairs in the room that had been commandeered for the girls to prepare in. It was within meters of the ballroom, where the wedding would be taking place.
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Don't believe everything you see on TV."
"Tamaranian flirting," Kori said mildly, checking her makeup in the vanity mirror she was sitting at, "can be very vocal at times. They were much mistaken about Richard and I arguing."
"And the scandals?" Jenny asked curiously. "They were the the so-called playboy dates?"
Kori nodded. "Yes."
Barbara giggled. "Dick has always liked taller women."
Jenny frowned. "I don't get it, why did you allow it?"
Kori sighed. "Bruce thought it would be better if Richard was shown to be… 'playing the field' before settling down. That and there was too much interest in our counterparts as a couple and people would notice the similarities if we continued to be so happy. If you notice, all those scandals and fights happened in our early twenties. Over the last few years, I have been the only constant in his public life."
"Yeah, I did notice," Jenny said, with a blush. "I always wondered why Wally would laugh so hard when I brought those magazines and complained about Dick and his 'ways'. Before I knew who he was, that is."
Kori giggled. "I cannot believe that Wally actually kept a secret like that from you for so long."
Jenny rolled her eyes. "He can be very sneaky. Besides, it wasn't as if Dick flaunted his money or anything. I just… never asked his last name I guess."
"I sorta knew," Karen said, checking the appearance of her shoes. "It got me for a while when he started appearing with all those other women, but I did notice they all had green eyes. Thought it might have been you and a publicity stunt."
Barbara laughed. "So that's why you asked back on Tamaran."
"Yup" Karen replied with a grin. "And he had the gall to lie about it. Tsk, tsk. Arrogant bastard indeed."
"Well, it's all out in the open now anyway," Barbara said. "I did like the way Dick 'proposed' to you," she continued with a smile. "On the trapeze, his parents would have been proud. That was a good final stunt, you looked so nervous."
Kori smiled. "That would be because he did the springing of it upon me. I did not know he was going to do that."
"You must've had some clues," Jenny said curiously. "Wally said that you two had been practicing that for ages."
Kori shook her head. "He can still surprise me. He claimed he just wanted to keep in practice, so he could teach our children, and what better way to practice than with someone that was not afraid of falling."
"Sneaky," Karen said, tossing her hair over her shoulder.
Rachel sighed and wiggled her toes, looking at her newly painted nails, before she slipped her black shoes back on her feet. "Remind me again why we are all sitting here, waiting patiently, all primed and pretty, with our makeup and hair done in bathrobes? Aren't you getting remarried shortly? Where are our dresses?"
Kori cocked her head. "Simon wanted to make some last minute alterations to my dress."
"And why is my hair and makeup done differently than theirs?" Rachel gestured the elaborate curled bun that trapped her waist length hair, adorned with tiny baby's breath flowers, while Barbara, Karen and Jenny's hair had been curled into ringlets and clipped back.
Kori looked in the mirror, adjusting the two ivory honeysuckle combs in her hair that she had worn to her previous wedding, half of her hair twisted up onto of her head in an elaborate crown, while the other half had been curled into ringlets and hung down her back. "Because you are my maid of honour," she replied as she fiddled with her hair. "Is it not traditional that they are different to illustrate their importance?"
Rachel frowned. "Not usually."
Kori glanced at her in the mirror. "Had Richard been 'pulling my leg' again?" she asked. "He said maids of honour must be made to look extra special, too."
Rachel groaned. "He probably just wanted to embarrass the hell out of me," she muttered, picking up her ever-present heart shaped locked and fiddling with it absently.
Barbara giggled. "I wouldn't worry about it. You look gorgeous, Rae, even in a bathrobe. Gar's gonna have a fit."
Jenny peered at her. "Don't you ever take that off?" she asked curiously. "Kori gave us these really beautiful pendants to wear and you're still wearing that?"
Rachel shook her head and looked at the floor. "I'll never take this off again," she said quietly.
She was aware of the silence they dipped into, aware that they were looking at each other as they tried to figure out what to say, but the only thing that she was concerned about was Kori's deliriously happy mood was slipping, something Rachel did not want to happen.
"So, are you wearing a garter again?" she asked, lifting her head and smiling at Kori.
Kori immediately blushed and giggled. "Richard has… ah… he…"
"Dick already made sure she was wearing one," Barbara blurted with a cheeky grin. "He delivered it himself while you were in the shower before."
Rachel arched an eyebrow at Kori.
"I did not let him see me," she said slyly. "I do remember Earth traditions."
"But that didn't stop you sticking your leg through the door so he could put it on," Jenny teased. "I'm sure his hands were wandering by the look on your face."
Kori blushed harder.
There was a soft knock at the door before Simon's voice was heard. "Kori, darling, we have arrived."
With a squeal Kori darted for the door, flinging it open, allowing Simon and two of his aids to walk into the room.
"My dears," he said, casting his eye around the room. "You all look fabulous in those robes, it seems a shame to ruin the slumming appearance and present you with your dresses. Now," he gestured for his aids, who stepped forward with three dresses. "We shall dress the maids first, then our beautiful Rachel, then our blushing bride. Which one of you lovely ladies would like to be first?"
"Me!" Jenny squealed, clapping her hands excitedly.
Simon took her hand and led her to the screen in the corner and fetched her dress from his aid.
Rachel rolled her eyes, moving to sit beside Kori and she scooted over on the long stool before the vanity mirror to make room. "Nervous?" Rachel asked quietly.
Kori giggled. "Of course not," she replied merrily. "I have done this before."
Rachel smiled. "Yeah, you are considerably more relaxed than you were last time."
Kori took her hand, intertwining their fingers. "It has been a wonderful nine years, has it not?"
"You and Gar have been very happy?"
Rachel eyed her. "Course we have, Kori. We're getting married one day too, remember? …eventually." She looked down at her engagement ring. "He did ask me a few years ago though. For someone who said he wanted to live each day to its fullest, he's taking his sweet time. Maybe I should start dropping hints?"
Kori giggled. "Or just start planning."
"How come it took you and Dick so long to… er…" her eyes flicked over to Simon and his aids and dropped her voice, "get married? I'd thought you'd want to get married straight away after Bruce finally let you date properly."
Kori smiled. "Bruce did not want to be 'shown up' by his son. But since he has been doing the dating for a while with Selina, he was quite comfortable for us to be married. At least, that is the reason Bruce maintains." She leaned in close and Rachel found herself leaning in to hear her. "Richard did inform him that if he did not allow us to be married on Earth, he was going to… get me in the family way, and create a scandal. Bruce did not see any alternative."
Rachel burst into laughter. "Oooooh, that's rich."
Kori giggled again. "Indeed."
"Wait, you're not-"
Kori shook her head. "No. We must wait another three months before we can try, or it will certainly seem like a scandal. Remember, Tamaranian pregnancies only last six months." She sighed sadly. "Tamaranian crossbreeding with races so similar to our own is not uncommon, and humans and Tamaranians are compatible, we have confirmed that. But it will certainly take some time before we are able to conceive, my morn'lo must adapt to suit his… contribution, but I am looking forward to having the girl that Nightwing of the future said we would have. It is nice to know we are able to reproduce."
Rachel smiled and squeezed Kori's hand.
"Have you and Garfield discussed children?"
Rachel snorted with laughter. "Knowing my luck, I'd probably end up the proud mother of a litter… I'm not sure I'm ready for kids yet."
"I think you'd be a wonderful mother, Rachel."
"I'd be a better Aunt."
"Beautiful!" Simon cried. "Three pretty maids, all in a row."
Rachel and Kori turned their heads, seeing Barbara, Jenny and Karen already dressed in their gowns. Kori had chosen periwinkle blue for their dresses, the colour suiting all their skin types and hair colours, even Jenny's hologramed strawberry blonde appearance. The spaghetti strap bodice was fitted and the satin skirt of it hung from their hips and fell to just below their knees.
"Oh!" Kori exclaimed, standing. "You all look glorious!"
"Rachel, come along dear."
Rachel sighed and followed Simon, slipping off her robe and stepping into her dress. She glanced down at her midnight blue dress as Simon zipped her up. It was strapless with a silver sash around her waist. The bodice of it was beaded with shimmering silver beads, and a latticework of silver trimming was laced in a triangular shaped pattern at the hem at the front. The soft trumpet skirt of her dress fell from just above her knees to the floor and dropped into a very small train at the back.
Simon pulled her out into the room, fixing her hem line and helping the dress sit correctly. "Rachel, my dear, you look simply dazzling."
She shifted uncomfortably. "Why is it so different from the other girls?"
"Rachel, you look beautiful," Kori exclaimed as she slipped behind the screen for her turn.
"Why is it different?" Simon asked simply. "Because you deserve it."
Rachel blushed and Simon stepped behind the screen to assist Kori while Rachel fussed with her dress and walked across the room to look in the full-length mirror. Barbara, Karen and Jenny joined her.
"We look fabulous," Barbara said. "Our boys aren't going to know whats hit them."
Karen's eyes shined hopefully. "Do you think there might be more marriage proposals tonight?"
"It's possible," Barbara said with a wink. "We should be so lucky."
"They should be so lucky," Jenny commented tartly.
"Ahem," Simon said and the four of them turned to look.
Kori stepped back into the room, smiling brightly.
Her white wedding dress was simply stunning. It, too, was strapless, but the very top of the bodice was trimmed with a gold ribbon, tied into a beautiful bow at the back and two thick golden ribbons trailed down the back and rested on the train. The patterned trimming on the bodice was also golden, funneling down toward her waist where the skirt was draped and fell outward to the floor. At the bottom of the dress, a second, golden hem fell and another latticework of golden lacing weaved together at the hem of the white skirt on the front and on the train at the back.
Simon touched her lightly on the chin. "Darling, you shine brighter than the brightest star in the sky. My designs always look delicious on you."
"I have enjoyed wearing them over the years," Kori replied happily.
"Even when you were wearing them pretending to be someone else," he said with a wink and Kori giggled in response.
"We can hide nothing from you, can we, Simon?"
He tapped the side of his nose. "Dick can be crafty, but my eyes know my own designs. That was some very good makeup, my dear."
"You will make him a very happy man," he said, sweeping into a bow and ushered his aids out the door. "You looked beautiful ladies. Good luck."
There was a soft knock on the door a short time later, once they'd all checked themselves over in the mirror again and gushed at each other about their dresses.
"Y'all ready in there, ladies?" Victor called and Barbara brightened.
"Are we?" Kori asked, retrieving her bouquet of white roses from the vanity table.
"Sure are," Jenny replied, passing out the bridesmaids flowers and handed another bouquet of roses to Rachel.
"Come on in, Vic," Barbara called happily.
The door opened and Victor walked through, dressed in a tuxedo with a periwinkle blue sash. His jaw dropped. "I've died and gone to heaven," he said, looking over each of them. "You all look fantastic!"
"Why aren't you waiting with Dick?" Rachel asked curiously.
"I was sent to check on you. Someone's getting a little anxious," he said with a kiss for Barbara and a wink at Kori, who giggled in return.
Galfore lumbered into the room, looking rather self-conscious in his massive tuxedo, a hologram ring also adorning his finger. "I believe Valiand'r is getting rather impatient. Koriand'r usstan t'nok oohs nurna sokota."
"Thank you, Galfore," she replied, blushing. "But please try and remember to call me Kori while you are here?"
He sighed. "I always knew one day you would make it so I would have to," he said with a mock pout. "Come, dalarhe l'ani. Your husband awaits and I am ready to do the giving away of you."
Barbara, Jenny and Karen smiled and ducked out of the room, waiting patiently in a row outside, Jenny at the lead, followed by Karen and then Barbara. Rachel moved to follow them as Kori took Galfore's arm.
"Ah-ah," Victor said with a cheeky smile, snatching her hand and weaving it through his elbow. "You're on my arm, baby doll. You look beautiful."
"Thank you," she replied. "But maids of honour don't need an escort."
Victor ignored her for the moment. "Ready, Jen, off you go."
Rachel glanced around as Victor led her. The edges of wooden slatted seats had been trimmed with small bundles of white roses held together with white cloth ribbons. Two large white rose arrangements stood on either side of the walkway, cradled at the top of long golden vases.
People turned their heads as the music started, that angelic bridal walk music, played by the string quartet set up in the corner. It rang through the ballroom as Jenny turned down the red carpeted isle, slowly placing one foot before the other.
The ballroom was so large that it had been split into two sections, separated by soft red drapery, arranged so it gave the appearance of two separate rooms. Half of the room would be used for the ceremony itself, the other half for the reception. Alfred stood by the small gap in the drapery that led to the other half of the room, a tiny smile on his face.
Standing on a small podium beneath an arch that had been decorated with honeysuckle flowers, stood Dick, Garfield, Wally and Tim, all looking dashing in their tuxedos. Dick's sash was golden and Garfield's was the same midnight blue as her dress while Wally and Tim's sash colours matched Victor's. A table decorated with flowers and lit candles sparkled behind the celebrant.
The one press photographer that had been allowed to attend the event immediately began snapping photographs of Kori and Galfore and the rest of the bridal party, while Vicki Vale, the only reporter allowed, spoke into a recorder in hushed tones.
"Victor," Rachel hissed quietly. "I don't need an escort. I'm supposed to be walking with the other bridesmaids."
Rachel looked out into the sea of smiling people, surprised to see her mother beaming at happily from beside Fyria and Ryfore. Rachel narrowed her eyes… was that Steve and Rita beside them?
"You would," Victor whispered out of the corner of his mouth, a cheeky smile developing on his face. "If you were a bridesmaid."
Garfield's grin grew wider, his green eyes lighting up, that mass of hologramed blond hair almost gleaming in the sunlight that filtered down through the windows. Rachel didn't think she'd ever seen him looking more handsome.
"You're not a bridesmaid Rae," Victor said softly.
Rachel's heart thudded in her chest, somehow the walk toward the podium becoming harder and she gripped at Victor's arm. "I'm not?"
She almost missed a step. "Then what am I?"
Her knees went weak and she would have fallen were it not for Victor's hand that suddenly grabbed her around the waist, holding her upright. All blood drained from her face, her mouth falling open in surprise.
Rachel heard Kori giggle from behind her and uttered the words Rachel knew she would never forget. Six little words that changed everything. "Welcome to your wedding day, sister."
Garfield beamed down at her happily.
Victor stopped at the bottom of the podium, leaving Rachel to stare up at Garfield in wonder. She glanced across, seeing Barbara, Jenny and Karen all beaming at her happily, seeing Dick's cheeky smirk and tiny wink at her before he grinned down at Kori and from his expression, she knew he was speaking into Kori's mind.
Karen took Rachel's flowers from her while Barbara took Kori's.
"Friends and family," began the celebrant, his voice ringing loudly around the room. "We are gathered here today, to join together Dick and Kori, in matrimony. Who gives this woman to be married to this man?"
"I do," Galfore boomed, bending down to kiss Kori on the cheek. He fisted his heart at Dick and bowed slightly at the waist, a gesture Dick returned immediately, before taking Kori's hand.
The celebrant smiled and looked at Rachel. "We are also here to witness the union of Garfield and Rachel. Who gives this woman to this man?"
"I do," Victor said, gently kissing Rachel on the cheek and placing her hand in Garfield's outstretched hand before taking his spot next to Wally.
Garfield gave her hand a gentle tug and Rachel took the small step to stand by his side. She stared at him in shock, the welcoming words of the celebrant washing over her as she struggled to find her balance.
She could see Kori grinning at her out of the corner of her eyes, feel Dick's amusement, feel Garfield's proud smugness and hopefulness.
She squeezed his hand, turning her head to lock eyes with him.
She was finally getting married. Today was her wedding day. She couldn't believe it. They'd all kept it so well hidden, so concealed that she hadn't even been able to feel that anything was different. Plotted and planned and made it extra special. She hadn't had time to be nervous, hadn't had a chance to second-guess herself. Hadn't even had a chance to panic.
The celebrant raised his voice. "Do you, Dick, take Kori for your lawful wedded wife? Will you love, honour, comfort, and cherish her from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto her for as long as you both shall live?"
"I do," came the reply.
"Do you, Kori, take Dick for your lawful wedded husband? Will you love, honour, comfort, and cherish him from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto him for as long as you both shall live?"
"I do," Kori said happily.
The celebrant turned to Rachel and Garfield. "Do you, Garfield take Rachel, for your lawful wedded wife? Will you love, honour, comfort, and cherish her from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto her for as long as you both shall live?"
"I do," Garfield replied immediately.
"Do you, Rachel take Garfield for your lawful wedded husband? Will you love, honour, comfort, and cherish him from this day forward, forsaking all others, keeping only unto him for as long as you both shall live?"
Rachel swallowed. "I do."
Garfield's smile could have blotted out the sun.
"Dick and Kori's vows will be said in Kori's native language," the celebrant said. "Please turn to each other and say the vows you have prepared."
Dick smiled and turned to Kori, placing both his hands over her heart speaking to her in length in Tamaranian, and Rachel knew he was repeating the vows he made to her on Tamaran nine years ago.
She cast a long glance at Garfield's happy face, squeezing his hand as Kori repeated her vows to Dick and Rachel found herself getting nervous. She didn't have any idea what to say to Garfield as vows.
"Garfield and Rachel's vows will also be said in Rachel's native language," the celebrant said when Dick and Kori were finished. "Please turn to each other and say the vows you have prepared."
Rachel's eyes widened in surprise as Garfield turned and took both her hands, his eyes locking on hers intently. She didn't even know he knew Azarathian. When had he learned that?
"Rae," he said slowly and carefully in Azarathian. "You are my best friend, my teacher, my lover, my tamer," he winked and she smiled. "You keep me tethered and I find myself more in love with you every day. I promise to always be by your side, to purr and comfort you when you are unhappy, to fly beside you when you rejoice, to keep you warm on cold days. I promise to love and cherish you through whatever life may bring us."
Tears filled her eyes as she looked at him, words failing her.
"Psst, Rae," Victor said over Garfield's shoulder, passing her a small piece of paper. "Here."
She arched an eyebrow at him, unfolding the paper, squinting as she made out Victor's scrawl.
I, Rachel, promise to never make Victor think he's a chicken again, or make him eat tofu. I promise to always beat Garfield over the head when he's an idiot and-
She scrunched up the piece of paper and scowled at Victor briefly before taking Garfield's hand again. "Gar," she said slowly in Azarathian, just allowing her words to flow from her mouth. "You are my best friend, my lover, my teacher, my mate. You are my anchor. I promise to love and cherish you every single day, to pet you when you are sad, or when you are happy, to bring you catnip to roll and play in, to fly beside you and feel the wind in our feathers. I promise to smile at your jokes, no matter how silly they are," he laughed at that, his eyes twinkling. "I promise laughter every single day, for however long the fates deem we have together."
Garfield just beamed, his eyes shining with love.
"And now the exchange of rings."
"Oh shit," Victor blurted, suddenly patting himself down.
Garfield scowled over his shoulder at him. "Dude, you so better not have forgotten the rings."
"Victor," Dick growled, his eyes flashing.
"Just messin' with y'all," he replied with a grin, reaching into his pockets and drawing out four golden rings.
Dick took the rings that belong to him and Kori. "Let this ring be a reminder of my devotion to you. I choose you to be my wife this day and forevermore," he said, slipping her ring back on her finger.
Kori beamed. "Let this ring be a reminder of my devotion to you. I choose you to be my husband this day and forevermore."
Garfield cleared his throat and took one of the remaining golden rings, taking Rachel's hand, his eyes shining with emotion as he slipped it on her finger. "This ring is a token of my love. I marry you with this ring, with all that I have and all that I am."
Rachel took the last ring, sliding it onto Garfield's finger. "This ring is a token of my love. I marry you with this ring, with all that I have and all that I am."
He smiled at her and together they turned back to the celebrant, waiting for the next words.
"By the power invested in me," the celebrant said with a bright smile. "I now pronounce you, all of you, husbands and wives. Congratulations, you may kiss the brides."
There was a muffled squeak from behind her as Dick grabbed Kori and Rachel found herself drawn in for her own kiss, Garfield's mouth warm against hers.
She sighed, her eyes sliding shut as her arms lifted to clutch him around the neck. His hands slid to her waist, picking her up so that she had to stand on her toes to touch the ground and molding their bodies together. His kisses were soft, warm, gentle, just like the man.
The man that was now her husband.
Rachel would never admit to anyone, but she'd dreamed of this day ever since waking from that self induced coma nine years ago. Hoped and prayed that one day they would be joined, forever.
He'd followed her to the ends of the universe and back again, seen her at her very worst and hadn't been afraid to tell her exactly how he felt. He'd journeyed with her for years, left his home and family behind, traveling to the various planets that Rachel of the future had visited to relearn and refine the skills from future Rachel's implanted memories. He'd waited patiently through these years as she ran from her own demons, ran from the torment and betrayal she'd put her closest friends and family through. He comforted her when she cried, so exhausted from controlling her new powers that she could barely move.
Every few months for a week, he would travel back to Earth to spend time with those they left behind. She'd often believed at the beginning he would find it too difficult to be away from them for so long, that perhaps he would choose to stay but he never failed to return through the raven she sent. Never failed to bring back letters and trinkets from their friends so she could keep in touch and still feel part of their lives.
And never, ever let her forget that she was loved.
He was worth it, a thousand times over.
She melted into the kiss, her love for him swelling in her breast, filling her up so completely it was hard to breathe.
The lights began to flicker and Garfield chuckled into her mouth, pulling away. "Love ya, babe," he whispered, his fingers caressing her cheek.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to present, Mr and Mrs Dick Grayson, and Mr and Mrs Garfield Logan!"
"So, how did you learn Azarathian?" Rachel asked quietly as she, Kori, Dick and Garfield stood on the stairs at Wayne Manor, waiting for the photographer to finish setting up for the wedding photographs.
"Arella," Garfield said softly, following the photographer's directions and shifting his position so that he stood on the step higher than Rachel, his hands going to her waist.
"Aww, poor Dick," Barbara called gleefully as Dick stepped up on the stair behind Kori. "Be careful about lack of oxygen up there, we wouldn't want you to faint."
"Shove it Babs," Dick replied good-naturedly, wrapping his arms around Kori's middle.
"Really?" Rachel asked curiously. "You learnt Azarathian for me?"
Garfield nodded. "Course I did babe, what did you think I did while at some of those places we visited? Couldn't play games cause like, some places couldn't handle technology, and I wasn't too comfortable traveling around alone, so learning your language seemed to be the best thing. Arella helped me with pronunciation and stuff, gave me some books to practice with. Still not very good, but I could understand what you said and didn't screw my part up too much."
"And this whole thing-"
"Surprise," he said boyishly, his wonderful grin bursting forth from his face again before it rapidly faded and his hand on her hips clenched. "You're not mad, are you?"
"All right," the photographer called. "Smile."
Rachel looked back at the camera, placing one hand over the top of Garfield's, her lips curling upward for a moment into a smile.
"Rae?" Garfield asked hesitantly after the flash. "You're not mad at me, are you?"
"Why?" she asked, keeping her voice carefully neutral. "Why the secrecy?"
"I wanted to be able to surprise you," he replied quietly.
She turned her head and arched an eyebrow at him.
"C'mon, Rae, you know me," he said with a small shrug. "I'm an emotional being, and you… do what you do. When I asked you to marry me you knew what I was going to do before I did it just from my jumble of emotions. I'm never gonna be able to surprise you with romantic stuff like this again, you'll just read me and know something's up. I wanted our wedding to be memorable, and I… Dick knew you'd be keyed into Kori's emotions today, and her being so happy would hide my emotions, so… we could…"
Rachel could see Dick watching her carefully from the corner of her eye. "You could trick me into marriage."
Dick's jaw dropped and Kori turned her head, her face going pale.
"Trick?" Garfield squeaked. "But… Rae… you… I… you said 'I do!' "
"And perhaps I only said that because now I can make your life a living hell for all eternity." She eyed Dick and Kori. "All your lives."
Garfield's arms loosened around her waist, his emotions screaming hurt and pain while Dick and Kori gaped at her.
Rachel gave a dramatic sigh. "Or, maybe this is the happiest day of my life." She turned her head, lifting her hand to snatch the back of his head and drag him toward her, giving him a hard kiss. "Never stop trying to surprise me, Gar."
Rachel felt his happiness, astonishment and love as though it was her own, and in a sense it was. Garfield ducked his head, kissing her again and she leaned into his embrace.
"Yo!" Victor cried. "Cut it out, you two. Cause if you don't- nope, too late… there they go too." Rachel heard him heave in a sigh. "See Babs, this is what I have to put up with, all the time, two lovey-dovey couples. It's sickening."
"Only cause you want to do it, too," Dick smirked. "We just got married, we're entitled. Plus, it's not like we make out in the common room or anything."
"Blerk, all this affection," Victor teased. "Oof. Babs! That's not nice."
Garfield pulled away, chuckling madly and Rachel turned her head to see Victor rubbing the back of his head and Barbara with her arms folded across her chest, glaring at Victor.
"You deserve it. They're allowed to be like that, they're married," she said meaningfully, but it seemed Victor was oblivious.
Rachel rolled her eyes and snuggled into Garfield's embrace, tilting her head to look up at him. "You mean the world to me, Gar," she whispered, for his ears only, "and I know I don't tell you enough and I'm still not very good at expressing my emotions, but I never want you to forget that."
He ducked his head, his lips to her ear. "I never will… Mrs Logan."
Rachel didn't need to fake the smile that burst from her face for the rest of the photographs.
"It was nice to see that Rita and Steve could come," Rachel said quietly, seeing that Garfield was looking forlornly over at the table where Rita, Steve, Arella, Galfore, Fyria, Bruce and Selina were sitting and talking happily.
Garfield nodded. "Yeah, I'm really glad they came. And your mother too. Larry and Cliff couldn't make it though."
"Oh," Rachel replied, placing her fork on her plate and giving him her full attention. "Why not?"
Garfield shrugged dejectedly. "Something going down in Africa, that's all Steve would say. They're heading back tonight."
"Oh Gar," she said, placing her hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry. I know you wanted to see more of them."
Garfield shrugged again and pushed at his pasta for a moment. "Steve wanted me to go back and join the Doom Patrol."
Rachel blinked in surprise, unsure what to say and unnerved by the mixture of yearning and sadness flowing from him.
"I said no."
Frowning and concerned that he wouldn't talk to her first before he gave an answer, she turned toward him, her legs pressed against his, one hand slipping down to rest on his thigh, the other holding his above the table. "Why?" she asked as she drew little circles with her fingers.
"It's not what I wanted."
"Then, what do you want?" she asked quietly.
He smiled at her, lifted the hand he was holding to kiss her fingers. "Rae, babe, that hasn't changed a bit."
She rolled her eyes playfully, the hand on his leg slipping higher. "Besides me, I meant."
"Happiness, stability, that kind of thing," he said after a moment musing. "I don't think we'd find it with the Doom Patrol." He turned uncertain, shifting to face her and she stilled the movement of her hand. "Rae… I've… well… um…"
He took both of her hands in his, bringing them up to kiss her knuckles, his eyes locking onto hers as he spoke. "I would like to go back to Africa one day… there's so much good I think we could do there, and… it's beautiful, Rae. I think you'd love it there… I've finished my degree in Environmental Science, and you're… you're nearly done with your Doctor's degree… we could make a real difference to the people and the animals there."
She frowned as she considered what he said.
Garfield looked at her earnestly. "I know you're not ready to leave the Tower yet. Just… think about it, please?"
Clink clink clink
Looking up from her conversation, Rachel saw Bruce standing at the edge of the bridal table, wine glass and microphone in his hand and tapping it with a knife as he waited for conversation around the room to dull.
She squeezed Garfield's hand reassuringly as he dropped them both back to his lap. "We'll talk later."
"And now we come to the most important part of the night, after, of course, that wonderful meal. My compliments to the chef," Bruce announced, raising his glass in the direction of Alfred, standing unobstructively not far away.
Brief applause followed, with many of the boys whistling their appreciation loudly.
Bruce placed his glass on the bridal table beside Tim, his hand alighting on Tim's shoulder briefly before he addressed the guests. "And that is the part where I, as the host, get to embarrass the hell out of my son and his new bride."
A loud groan sounded from beside her and Rachel eyed Dick as he cradled his head in his hand. "Does he have to?"
"Normally the father of the bride would make this speech, but Galfore is not quite clear on American traditions and since theirs involves pointy weapons, he's asked that I do the honours… ahh…" Bruce tapped his chin. "Now… let's see. Dick was six when I first saw him flying through the air on the trapeze in Gotham-"
"Eight," Dick interjected loudly.
Bruce peered at him.
"Eight," Dick repeated. "Haley's didn't come to Gotham until I was eight."
"Huh," Bruce drawled. "You always were short for your age."
Dick groaned again and rested his head on Kori's shoulder. "I walked right into that one," Rachel heard him mutter as she returned her attention to Bruce.
"As I was saying, Dick was eight when I first saw him on the trapeze and even then I knew the boy had potential. Here was a kid that would go places. I saw a lot of myself in him," Bruce's expression turned grim. "So it only seemed natural to adopt him after the unfortunate death of his parents." He glanced at Dick and grinned. "You were a brat of a kid, Dick. You never let me forget your circus heritage. I don't know how many times my heart stopped seeing you perched on the roof, or surfing down the banisters in socks rather than taking the stairs."
"Do not forget leaping out of second floor windows, sir," Alfred chimed in.
"Practicing the trapeze on the chandelier in the foyer."
"Not to mention juggling my fine china."
"Or getting stuck in chimneys," Bruce said with a wink.
Dick groaned loudly and Rachel heard Kori giggle.
"Unfortunately our personalities clashed. I wasn't the best father figure; I didn't know how to handle a preteen circus boy. You were used to a lot more freedom than I was willing to give. We argued over the simplest of things, forever at each other's throats." Bruce sighed. "It got so bad you went to boarding school at fifteen."
Bruce's eyes shifted to Kori. "Turns out, that was the best thing I could've done. You made some fine young friends. Put down some good roots, came home a more settled individual. I believe it's mostly thanks to that young lady sitting next to you. If she hadn't fallen into your life… I have no doubt you would ended up just like me."
Rachel smirked and Garfield chuckled beside her.
"Perish the thought," Dick muttered.
"Kori, my dear, from the first time I saw you, with your flaming red hair and sparkling emerald eyes and wearing a very sexy swimsuit-"
"Bruce!" Dick snapped, closely followed by Selina's outraged voice.
Bruce continued undaunted. "I knew Dick was smitten with you. He always told me you were the one for him, and I, thinking that you were both too young for that kind of commitment, insisted that he date other women before setting down." His eyes flicked to Dick. "You are my son after all."
Rachel stared at Bruce in shock, feeling similar waves of emotions flowing from Dick and Kori. Bruce had just admitted, in front of their friends and Vicky Vale who was still covering the event, that it was his idea that Dick date other people.
Rachel saw the moment when the Batman personality arose in Bruce as he suddenly stilled and she heard Dick's sharp intake of breath. "It was the worst idea I ever had. I underestimated your commitment to each other, underestimated your love and for that, I am sorry."
"Dad," Dick exhaled beside Rachel, followed closely by Kori's breathless, "K'norfka Bruce."
Bruce cleared his throat and resumed his normal persona, addressing the guests once more. "Dick proved me wrong at every point. And then, in one final stunt, he had to go and perform the quadruple somersault with Kori as his catcher to prove to me, and the world, that she was the one for him. That's going to be a hard one to beat."
"Damn right," Wally said loudly. "Had to make it hard on the rest of us."
"Spiky haired show off," Victor added humourously.
Bruce cleared his throat. "Garfield and Rachel's relationship has shone in the background when compared to Dick and Kori," he continued. "For me at least. But it still had its own fire, it's own moments to shine." Bruce grinned. "I could say more, embarrass them more, but I think Victor has more dirt on them that I do. But I will say this, I have never seen happier couples than the ones sitting before me," Bruce said, picking up his glass and raising it. "On behalf of Fyria, Galfore, Arella, Rita, Steve and myself, and in remembrance of John, Mary, Lu, Mark and Marie, we wish the four of you all the best, and many happy years together. Ladies and gentlemen, to the brides and grooms."
"To the brides and grooms," echoed the other guests.
Rachel picked up her glass, linking her arm around Garfield's and took a drink. The position of their arms meant she was looking directly at his face, and his eyes sparkled with humour as he tugged her arm, trying to make her spill her drink. She lifted an eyebrow and used a tiny amount of power to create the feel of a hand, before she ran it up the inside of his leg, pleased when his eyes widened with surprise and his cheeks went red.
"Sneaky," he murmured, shifting his legs as he placed the glass back on the table. "You'll pay for that one."
"Oh?" she asked mildly, also returning her glass to the table.
He leaned over, his lips brushing her ear. "I think I might just have to do to you what I did on Bydarius Prime."
Rachel shivered at the memory, a delicious feeling trickling through her as he kissed the skin below her ear.
"And there's the scent change I was waiting for," he whispered cheekily, pulling away.
She mock scowled at him.
He poked her in the nose. "You're just too cute, Rae."
Bruce chuckled, dragging Rachel's attention back. "Now, get to making those grandbabies for me."
Dick stood abruptly, tugging on Kori's arm.
"Richard, what are you doing?" Kori asked, refusing to rise.
"He said get to making those grandbabies for him-"
"I am certain that-"
"We have permission to go-"
Rachel sighed and rolled her eyes, yanking Dick's other hand so he flopped back into the seat with a huff. "Plenty of time for that later. Now, sit down."
"You're making a speech, dude?" Garfield asked as Victor got to his feet and took the microphone from Bruce.
"Best man's prerogative," he smirked.
"Damn it," Garfield muttered, taking Rachel's hand beneath the table. "I knew I shoulda bribed him."
Victor cleared his throat, raising the microphone to his mouth and Rachel felt Garfield squeeze her hand. "I'm Victor, the best man. I'm the one with all the juicy gossip on these four sitting up here. We all met when I was seventeen and they were… um…" He pointed at each of them in turn, starting with Kori, "fifteen, fifteen, fifteen and fourteen, thaaaat's right… Rae's a cradle snatcher!"
Rachel rolled her eyes, shook her head and smiled while Garfield laughed happily.
Victor winked at her. "I have never seen a bunch of oddballs like us become faster friends. Something about our personalities just gelled, even though we were so different. Dick was the cool, aloof, obsessive spiky haired annoyance, Kori was the happy, caring foreigner that never let anyone get her down, Gar was the happy-go-lucky, prankster, who had an obsession with the word 'dude', something I blame myself for, and worst taste in food -"
"Dude!" Garfield complained instantly.
Victor just grinned at Garfield and continued. "Rachel was this dark, quiet girl with eccentric tastes and I was the computer geek. But right from the start, we knew Dick had a thing for Kori." Victor grinned at Dick. "I still think it was that huge kiss she planted on your lips the first time you met. I've never seen anyone fall on his ass so quickly after a kiss."
"But it still took you two years to get together."
"Slacker!" Wally called.
"And despite Gar and my numerous ribbings and hints and locking them in rooms together, 'accidentally' of course-"
"So that's what happened," Dick muttered, frowning.
"They somehow managed to get together on their own. And Gar and I suddenly had the best pranks and interruptions we could dream of to play on the happy couple. And then it happened," he said with a dramatic sigh. He gestured Rachel and Garfield with sour face. "One day, our little Rae was all emotionless and brooding and reading depressing poetry, and the next she's declaring that Gar was 'special' and she didn't want to lose him. No one saw that coming."
Kori cleared her throat loudly and Victor eyed her. "No one beside Kori saw that coming," he amended. "And suddenly I had two couples to deal with. Admittedly, there were bumps along the way, with Rachel not comfortable expressing her emotions, and Dick expressing the wrong ones, loudly and all to frequently."
Rachel pursed her lips and Dick grunted beside her.
"But fortunately, both Kori and Gar are the understanding sorts. So, there we were, two happy couples and little ole me, the fifth wheel so to speak. I had two couples to tease and taunt and happen across at the most inappropriate times, and they in turn gave it back to me as much as possible… to the point there is even a video tape of me acting like a chicken that will never again see the light of day."
There was resounding laughter from the Titans in the room, followed by a clucking sound as someone imitated a chicken.
"We had our ups and downs, our end of the world moments and we always seemed to come through it in one piece." Victor turned and looked at the far end of the table, where Barbara sat. "And then Babs entered our lives. Yeah, she entered Dick's life first, but suddenly there were six of us instead of five. And hun, I still don't know how you did it, but you drew me to you like a moth to flame."
Garfield snickered lightly. "He's a moth," he whispered.
"Shh," Rachel whispered, even though she smiled.
"I pushed you away at first, unable to commit, and you didn't let me force you away. But you never pushed me for more than I was ready to give. You completed our little group, made it perfect in every way even though you insisted you weren't really a part of us, you were only visiting. And you stayed beside me all these years. I even got to be a father figure when you decided to take our beautiful Cass under your wing. Speaking of our beautiful Cass, Tim, I've got my eye on you." Victor pointed two fingers at his eyes, and then poked them at Tim who cringed away.
Garfield chuckled and leaned into whisper in Rachel's ear; "Probably does too."
Victor smiled and looked back at Barbara and Rachel didn't think she'd seen a happier smile come from him. "Babs, hun… gonna steal some of their thunder here, but look under your seat."
Rachel peered down the table toward Barbara, leaning so she could see around Dick and Kori who were also looking. She heard Garfield's chair scraping as he stood to get a better view. Karen and Jenny stared curiously from the other side of Barbara.
Barbara looked at Victor curiously as she shifted in her seat, reaching beneath it.
"Babs," Victor's hesitant voice said as she pulled a small box out from where it had been taped to the bottom of her chair. "I love you, you make me the happiest man on Earth. Will you marry me?"
A muffled squeal was emitted from Kori as she covered her mouth with her hands. Rachel felt Garfield's hand clutch her shoulder and she raised her own hand to cover his and waited with bated breath, intent on Barbara's reaction. She had to use all her willpower not to reach out and check Barbara's emotions and wait for her friend's answer just like everyone else.
There was a small crick sound as Barbara opened the box and looked inside.
Rachel flicked her eyes to Victor's anxious face and then looked back at Barbara, who was gazing almost blankly at the contents of the box.
Jenny peered over Barbara's shoulder. "Oh my," she exclaimed and nudged Barbara gently. "Babs, I think you're supposed to say something."
Blinking uncomprehendingly, Barbara looked up at Jenny. "Huh?"
With a secretive grin, Jenny pointed to Victor, still waiting anxiously for an answer.
Barbara turned her head, blinking again before she seemed to come to her senses. "Oh!" she exclaimed, darting from her seat, clutching the box and threw herself at Victor. "Oh Vic, yes, of course, yes!"
Victor laughed and spun her around before kissing her.
Rachel looked up at Garfield happily and Dick inserted two fingers into his mouth to whistle loudly and then resorted to clapping enthusiastically. His applause was closely followed by Wally and then the rest of the room.
Victor pulled away, grinning broadly as he took the ring from the box, slipping it on Barbara's finger. Slinging his arm around her shoulder and hugging her to his chest he spoke into the microphone again. "I wish all four of you the best for the future. May it be bright and cheerful and everything you want it to be." He placed the microphone on the table, picking up his glass in salute. "To the bridesmaids!"
"Hell yes," Wally exclaimed, raising his own glass. "To the bridesmaids!"
Rachel watched Kori shine through veiled eyes as her best friend flittered from person to person chatting and laughing, greeting people as she moved through the guests. She sipped her wine, casting her eyes around the room as she enjoyed her peace and quiet for the moment.
An arm slung itself around her neck. "Enjoying yourself?"
"So… Mrs Logan, dance with me?"
She smiled at the name, unable to help herself.
"I saw that."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Shouldn't you be with Kori?"
Dick shrugged, an easy smile on his face as he hugged her around the neck. "She's having fun. She's in her element."
Rachel nodded. "It's like she knows everyone in the room."
"She does," Dick wsaid ith a smile. "Even I don't remember all their names, but Kori…" he gave a soft, delighted sigh. "She's really something."
Rachel made a small noise of agreement, enjoying the feeling of contentment that flowed from Dick.
"Besides, if you dance with me, she might get all jealous and remember she has a husband that requires 'the attention'."
"Gar might get jealous too and stop gossiping with Vic as well."
Snorting, Rachel peered at him. "I thought guys didn't gossip?"
"Manly men don't," he replied teasingly, "but Gar- oof, Rae that wasn't nice," he finished with a wince after she'd elbowed him in the ribs.
"You deserved it."
"Hardly," he mumbled and then nudged her. "C'mon, Rae, I want to dance with my sister. Dance with me."
Rachel gave a dramatic, long-suffering sigh. "Things I do for family."
Dick grinned, stole her glass of wine from her and took her hand, leading her to the dance floor. Gesturing at the musicians in the corner, who immediately started playing a waltz, Dick twirled her under his arm and pulled her into the waltzing pose, one hand settled on her waist, the other holding hers. "Ahh, the joys of dancing with someone shorter than me."
"Soooo, I saw how you and Garfield danced earlier… do I get to put my hand on your butt too?" he asked cheekily.
"Depends," she smirked back. "Would you like to find out if I can reattach severed limbs?"
He laughed as he led her around the dance floor.
"Did I mention you look gorgeous, Rae? That colour really suits you."
"Hmm," she replied, before narrowing her eyes. "So, did you put him up to the surprise wedding?"
"Nope," replied Dick with a grin. "Gar came to me wanting help. All I had to do was sit back and watch Gar and Kori work their magic. God, those two are amazing when they get together, all of this is their work."
Rachel nodded, unsurprised. "And we're just along for the ride."
"Oh, but what a ride," he said cockily. "And speaking of those two-" He grinned and pointed with his head.
Rachel flicked her eyes over, seeing Garfield leading Kori to the dance floor, followed closely by Victor and Barbara. As she and Dick continued to dance, more Titan couples joined the dance floor, as well as Fyria and Galfore, Rita and Steve, Tim and Cass, and Bruce and Selina.
Rachel noticed a change in the way Dick was dancing with her. He was leading her a lot more, his path around the floor more deliberate. Turning her head slightly, she noticed that every time Dick steered her closer to Garfield and Kori, Kori changed the motion of their dancing and they both slipped away.
"Apparently, they're snubbing us," he chortled.
Rachel raised an eyebrow. "Snubbing?"
"Or, to be more precise, Kori's gonna run away with Garfield and have-" he cleared his throat and put on a funny, Kori-like voice, "many of the changeling babies, preferably green and with a tail."
Rachel rolled her eyes for effect. "As if you'd allow that to happen."
"Shall we ambush them?" Dick grinned with a cheeky waggle of his eyebrow.
"By all means," Rachel returned.
Dick increased the pace of their waltz, angling toward the dancing couple with more determination. The world swirled past her as he spun her, the smiling faces of their friends melded into the next face. But Kori and Garfield rivaled him at every turn, flitting away time and time again. Rachel lost count of the times she saw Garfield cheeky wink before he whisked Kori away.
Dick laughed. "They're playing hard to get… all right, Rae, you ready? On the count of three, we're gonna swap with Vic and Babs, and then we can hit them from two sides."
"What makes you think they're going to help?"
"Between you and me? They don't stand a chance…" he shifted their position suddenly dancing along side of Victor and Barbara. "One." Dick changed his grip on her, his fingers loosening around her hand, while he held her waist more firmly. "Two." He spun them suddenly. "Three," he said as he released her hand, lunged in between Victor and Barbara, snatching Barbara away while simultaneously pulling Rachel into Victor's arms.
Victor blinked at her blankly. "Woah…" he murmured, before he gripped her more firmly. "That was quick. Hey there, baby doll."
"Vic," she said as she lifted her hand to rest against his shoulder. "Congratulations on your engagement."
"About time, you mean," he said with a smile.
"That too. What took you so long?"
Victor grinned. "Never could find the right time to ask her. And Babs isn't exactly the subtlest person, all those hints she's been dropping. This was too good of an opportunity to pass up, have her be all shocked and embarrassed. Besides, it's not like I could top Dick's trapeze act."
"What is with you boys and being so cheeky today?" she asked, looking over to where Dick was maneuvering Barbara through the crowd of dancing people. "Well, if you want your girl back, you're going to need to help me steal Gar away from Kori."
Victor grinned and began directing his dancing to match Dick's pace. "With pleasure."
They passed by Galfore and Fyria dancing together, Galfore had actually picked up Fyria so they could be face to face, his massive hands cradling her waist and Fyria was giggling madly. They danced by Bruce and Selina, Selina with her arms around Bruce's neck, while the playboy's hands were kneading her bottom and his head buried in her neck.
"Least we know where Dick gets it," Victor muttered, steering them away.
They lingered by Cass and Tim, Victor giving evil eyes to the youth while simultaneously smiling at Cass. Rachel took this opportunity to glance around the room, seeing Karen and Mal dancing together quietly not far away. Jenny and Wally were boisterously dancing around the room doing lots of twirls and bumping into people and Isaiash and Toni were quietly doing the moving cuddle as they waltzed.
Dick and Barbara were zeroing in on Garfield and Kori though, so Rachel nudged Victor to get him moving again.
"Huh?" he asked looking at her. "Oh right, sorry. Let's get 'em."
Victor shifted away, steering toward the dancing couple, Dick and Barbara coming up on the other side of them.
There was a sudden flurry of activity as Dick pounced. Rachel caught a flash of Garfield's toothy smile, a stream of red hair that could have been either Kori or Barbara, a black jacket.
Victor was the only one that danced away with the correct partner.
Kori giggled girlishly as she intertwined her fingers with Rachel's, the other hand on her hip, spinning her away. Rachel had to fight to withhold a snicker as she looked past Kori's cheeky smile to see Dick and Garfield staring at each other blankly.
"Devious," she said quietly.
"Oh yes," Kori replied , turning her head. "But I do wonder if they will dance together."
"That would be an interesting sight," Rachel agreed, seeing Dick rapidly approaching and decided to tease them further. "Perhaps we can even convince them to dance with their shirts off. In private, of course."
Kori giggled. "Of course."
"Hell, no!" Dick exclaimed, Garfield appearing on the other side of them.
Rachel found herself yanked from Kori and smothered in Garfield's musky scent. His arms were over the top of hers, hands holding the small of her back, causing her arms to be trapped to his chest and her body pressed against his.
"Mate," he growled under his breath, his teeth nipping her neck lightly.
She rested her temple on his shoulder, her forehead against his neck. She splayed her hands against the inside of his jacket, allowing them to creep until they slipped inside the white shirt to brush against his chest.
Songs melded into one another as they swayed in time with the music, simply enjoying each other's company.
Garfield's hands gradually began to roam, up and down her back, becoming more adventurous as the songs flowed into one another. They trailed the curvature of her spine, exploring the silkiness of the dress, the bare skin of her shoulders. He whispered soft, sweet words into her ear, seductive nothings, yet it was the heat of his breath against her neck that made her pulse race.
She shifted her hips, pressing against the lower part of his body and he groaned into her ear in response, his fingers suddenly tightening on her neck to draw it back so she could look at him.
"You make me absolutely wild," he whispered, his face so close to her own. "You look so incredibly hot in that dress Rae and your scent is just… intoxicating…. I can't wait for later."
She rose up on her toes, kissing him on the lips. "Why wait?" she murmured.
His eyes widened for a moment, before his lips slammed against hers. He actually lifted her off her feet, molding her body against him as his mouth consumed hers. Her fingers tangled in his shirt for a moment but eventually she managed to wrap them around his neck.
"Get a room," Wally called cheekily from not far away, but Garfield wouldn't be dissuaded. His mouth moved hungrily against hers, as though he'd been starved and was suddenly allowed a banquet. She could feel his emotions pouring from him, contentment, love, happiness, the deep seeded haze of passion… frenzy from the Beast that lurked inside.
Oh, he could control the Beast now. They were quite close; found a sense of kinship and acceptance in each other and the Beast was content to sleep. But every now and then, it would stir and consume them both, and Rachel had a feeling this would be one of those days.
She curled her fingers against his shoulder, angling her head away so that she was only just out of reach. "Gar, the Beast," she whispered, bending over backward minutely and allowing his hands to take her weight.
He took several deep, shaky breaths and blinked slowly. "Right," he murmured eventually.
"Bathroom," she said softly.
He blinked in confusion. "Bathroom?"
"You need to go."
Now he frowned, placing her feet back on the ground. "No, I-"
"You need to go," she insisted.
It clicked. "Oh! Oh… right… yes, I need to go… far too much wine tonight."
"Excessive amounts," she replied in an even tone as she released him. "I expect you'll be gone a while."
He ran a hand through his hair, fixed his jacket. "I'll er… see you soon."
Rachel pressed her lips together as she watched him make his way through the crowd of dancers before disappearing in the opposite direction. Wrapping herself slightly in her powers, she created a spell that would cause people's eyes to slide past her without seeing unless she wanted them to, and slipped from the room.
Walking quickly now, she hurried down the hallways of Wayne Manor, heading to the room she was sharing with Garfield.
Giggling resounded down the corridor, and Rachel quickly ducked behind a pillar as Dick and Kori rounded the corner. She peered cautiously around, seeing Dick's shirt already hanging open while Kori's zip on her dress was half undone. "Star," Dick whined as Kori pressed him up against the door to their room, kissing his collarbone, her hands trapping his wrists to the door. "If you don't hurry up and get in there, I'm really gonna have to- woah!" he exclaimed as Kori suddenly flung the door open and tossed him into their bedroom.
Rachel shook her head as the door slammed shut behind them.
"You spying?" whispered a voice in her ear and she jumped.
"No," she replied sternly, casting an evil eye at Garfield's laughing face.
"Looks like they were… 'going to the bathroom' too."
She made a small noise of agreement.
Garfield laughed, sweeping her into his arms. She snuggled into his chest as he walked through the hallway toward their room.
He paused mid step at Dick and Kori's door, as they heard Dick's laughter echoing through. "Is it just me… or was that coming from… up?"
Rachel snorted. "Kori's probably flying again."
"Roof sex?" Garfield quipped, before he got a sly, one-sided grin. "You know, we've never actually done that…"
Rachel arched an eyebrow at him.
"I can stick to walls, it would be easy to morph some suckers and-"
"I don't think so," replied Rachel flatly.
He pouted at her. "Don't even wanna-" He froze suddenly, darting to the wall and pulling her against the wall to hide. "Shh."
"Sight shield," she whispered. "You didn't need to hide."
He grinned sheepishly. "Oh…"
Victor's laugh echoed down the corridor now, as he carted Barbara happily in his arms toward the guest rooms where Rachel and Garfield were also heading. They waited until they heard the telltale click sound of a door locking before breathing a sigh of relief.
"That bathroom's looking pretty full," Garfield said cheekily, peering out from their hiding place. He picked her up again and started off.
Rachel smiled. "You'd better hurry then before there are no more stalls left."
"You know, you could make it easier and raven us there."
She snuggled down into his arms. "I'm enjoying being carried."
He snorted lightly. "You would… get the door for me would you, babe?"
Without moving, Rachel reached out with her powers, opening the door for him.
"Cheater," he said playfully, angling sideways so he could get her into the room without putting her down and she shut and locked the door behind him.
Rachel was surprised when Garfield placed her carefully on the ground instead of throwing her on the bed and devouring her like she thought he would. Even more surprised when he cupped her face and kissed her, his kiss so sweet and slow it gave her goosebumps.
He slid his hands from her face, brushing lightly along the outside of her arms and took her hands, lifting them up to his chest as he broke away.
"I want Raven," he whispered, sliding the hologram ring from her finger.
The look in his eyes as she shed the hologramed image, was wonderful. His eyes seemed to drink her in, wandering over her hair, her eyes, the jewel on her forehead, her skin.
Without a word, her fingers slipped his ring off, wanting his true form just as much as he wanted hers. Watching with bated breath, her eyes raked his form as the blond hair slipped to green, the skin darkened, the ears elongated, the teeth sharpened. Her eyes drew downward.
"I want everything," Raven replied, her eyes back up on his green ones.
Beast Boy laughed. "Well, for that, you're gonna have to take off my pants."
Raven's hands went straight for his belt.
"Whoops," he said dancing away cheekily. "Someone's eager, but first things first, babe."
Raven quirked an eyebrow. "What?"
"Well, you need to get out of that dress so I don't crumple it, cause you know you can't trust these claws," he said with a grin, holding up his hands and she rolled her eyes at him. "And I want to play you something."
Raven's eyebrow went even higher as her fingers went to the zipper of her dress and kicking off her shoes at the same time. "Play me something?"
"Uh-huh," said Beast Boy, wandering over to the stereo. "You'll like it."
"Right," she said, her dress rustling for a moment as she stepped from it, leaving her in a strapless violet bra and matching panties.
She turned to place her dress on a nearby chair and out of harm's away when music wafted through the stereo, causing her to stiffen. "You've got to be kidding me."
Elton John's voice echoed through the room. "From the day we arrive on the planet, and blinking, step into the sun-"
"The Circle of Life?" Raven asked, turning. "By Azar, what possessed you to- Garfield?"
Craning her neck she tried to find him. "Gar? Where'd you go?" She peered at the puddle of clothes on the floor, the shoes sitting skewed. "Gar?"
There was a low, rumbling growl from behind her and Raven froze.
A soft footfall sounded on the carpet, the brushing of a form against a chair, followed by the throaty growl again.
A small smile formed on Raven's lips.
"There's more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done."
Raven turned around slowly, seeing a massive green lion staring at her.
Very slowly the lion licked his lips, his tail swishing to and fro.
"And here I thought you should be playing 'In the Jungle'."
The lion let out a muffled snort and flicked his mane from side to side.
The lion stretched, placing two paws right out in front of him and elongating every muscle in his body, his jaws gaping widely revealing an impressive set of teeth.
"Do I bore you?" Raven asked mildly, already sick of the song, her powers flicking the stereo off.
The flurry of activity from him was so quick Raven couldn't have avoided it even if she wanted to. She was forced to the floor, pressed against it on her stomach while his paws held the back of her shoulders and his rough tongue licked the length of her spine. She turned her head to the side so she could see him out of the corner of her eye, pillowing her head in her hands.
She could feel the warmth of his breath against her back, the coldness of his nose, felt his paws kneading her shoulders lightly as he licked. He shifted downward, concentrating on her lower pack and she knew exactly what pattern he was licking. Her raven tattoo.
"You know," she whispered softly. "If you're so fascinated by that, maybe you should get one of your own."
The paws shifted to hands that slid down her sides until they massaged her hips, while his mouth placed hot, wet kisses up her spine. "Love to," he whispered back between kisses. "Then we can have matching ones. But you know me; my body can't handle that kind of stuff. Next time I shifted, there would be a puddle of ink left behind."
"Shame," she said softly.
"You could always brand me," he replied, placing kisses on her bare shoulder, hands slipping back up to unsnap her bra and then slid under her chest to cup her.
"Property of Raven, stamped right on the butt," she replied, arching her back so his hands fit better.
Beast Boy laughed. "Kinky, but I would've thought you'd want it somewhere everyone can see."
She smiled. "I prefer the ring around your finger."
He licked the base of her neck. "Me too," he said, breathing into her ear.
She smiled, lifting her bottom slightly off the floor and wiggled her hips.
He groaned, pressing his bare chest onto her back. "Rae," he breathed. "I luv ya, but you drive me wild."
"That is the intention, Gar," she replied, developing a smirk.
He lifted his chest from her back, both hands slipping out from under her. He braced one hand on the ground by her shoulder, and she sucked in a gasp of breath as he tore off her panties and buried his other hand between her legs.
She propped herself up on her elbows so she could press her back against her chest. His tail emerged, dancing up and down the length of her leg as his mouth concentrated on the skin of her neck.
Closing her eyes, she rolled back her head, letting out a small, pleasured moan.
Soon, she was writhing against his fingers, her body primed and aching for him and she wondered how long it would take before he became intoxicated with the scent of her arousal and just couldn't help himself.
She got her answer a few moments later as he retracted his hand and took her waist. He heaved her, planting her on all fours and shifting so he knelt between her legs. Hands braced on her back, she could tell he was trying to be slow. But she didn't want that, not today of all days. She wanted the animalistic heat that would scorch through her, that would burn hard and fast and awaken the blaze within them both.
Curving her back, Raven pressed back against him, welcoming him into her body.
Perhaps it was the Beast in him, but there was something primitive about this position, it always ignited him. He didn't do it often… but when he did, he was at his best. His emotions were raw, intense, powerful, as were the hands clenched against her hips. He would rock and thrust and pound and hit her very core and she would be swept away by his emotions, the feel of his hands, the movement of his body, the sound of his grunts, the smell of his sweat.
Something demonic always arose in her too, simmering away under the surface. Not Anger or Hate, but the facet of her personality that held the Passion. Passion in demons was nearly always associated with Rage, but in her, balanced by her human soul, Passion went hand in hand with Love.
Love for him, the boy whose smile lit her life. The boy who, with patience and understanding, helped her delve into the terrifying world of emotions. Became her rock. Kept her steady, braced against the storm, was her anchor. The boy that had grown into man while she watched, her own love for him growing every day.
His hands were pawing needily at her back now, up at her shoulders, then down at her hips, then back up to the base of her neck, constantly moving, trying to find the best purchase to grip her. Breathing increased, the sense of urgency arising in his emotions. His tail flickered around her legs, wrapping and unwrapping, before it finally wound around her ankle and held on, as his thrusts became more vigorous.
And she met him. Every stroke, every emotion, every caress, she shared with him, joined with him. Her eyes shone white, her hands clawed at the carpet as she braced herself against the fire.
Her powers exploded from her, forcing nearby furniture away as she wrapped them in a protective bubble. She arched her back, rearing back into him, forcing him deep. Flinging back her head she let out a cry of ecstasy as she clamped around him. He answered with a deep, guttural roar, the sharp prick of claws on her hips, his body stiff against hers.
They held that position for a long moment, Raven's head hanging as she panted, Beast Boy's breath as ragged as hers while his hands trailing along her spine, stroking, soothing, helping her descend.
He groaned, tugging on her as he sank into a kneel, easing her back so that she sat on his lap while he was still buried inside her. She leaned against him, her head dropping back onto his shoulder, tired, sedated, euphoric. She could feel the rapid beating of his heart through his skin, the warmth of it as he pressed his chest to her back, his hands leaving her hips to cup her breasts.
"Ooooh, oh, Gar," she gasped, releasing the hold she had over powers.
"Hmmm?" he murmured, licking at the sweat on her neck, his hands constantly moving.
"I love you."
He shifted within her. "Love you too, babe," he whispered, a hand sliding up to her neck. He turned her head toward his and kissed her.
Garfield and Rachel snuck stealthily back through the corridors of Wayne Manor, Garfield's expression content and smug at the same time, his arm woven around Rachel's back, while Rachel still had a slight flush to her cheeks and kept casting sly glances at him. They'd fixed her hair as best they could, but had eventually settled for changing the hologram so it looked neat at least. And even though they'd done their best, their clothing somehow ended up looking rumpled.
He leaned over the small distance between them, planting a kiss on her temple. "Love ya," he whispered, only having eyes for her.
They both stiffened, Garfield's heart hammering in his chest in fright.
Alfred was peering at them curiously from his position outside the ballroom door.
"Er… hi," Garfield said inadequately, shifting his grip on Rachel so he could hold her tighter and she curled into him, her cheeks flaming.
Alfred lifted a single eyebrow.
"Bathroom," Garfield heard himself squeak.
"Yes," Rachel echoed.
"I see," said Alfred slowly, his eyes flicking up past them and Garfield turned his head.
Dick and Kori were staring at Alfred in shock, having just rounded the corner. Dick's arm was around Kori's waist and they both had the rumpled look that Garfield and Rachel had tried so hard to disguise.
"Bathroom?" Alfred asked stoically.
Dick cleared his throat, eyes wide. "Huh?"
"Did you journey to the bathroom as well?"
Dick flicked his eyes to Rachel and Garfield before understanding dawned. "Um yeah… bathroom… you know… when you gotta go you-"
"I really do not need more information than-"
Barbara and Victor rounded the corner, pulling up short and staring at them all and Garfield felt his ears drooping. All six of them… this bathroom excuse was never going to fly.
Alfred cleared his throat, smothered a grin. "That bathroom seems to have been very busy tonight."
"Yeah," Victor said, gulping and straightened his jacket, lifting one of Barbara's dress straps back onto her shoulder.
"Are you ready to return to the celebrations being held in your honour?" Alfred asked with an air of both smugness and dignity.
"Um… yeah," Dick said lamely.
"You are just lucky that Master Bruce did not notice your absence," Alfred said quietly as the six of them slipped past him and back into the ballroom.
"That's cause he and Selina slipped off first," Garfield heard Dick mutter before his voice was drowned out by music.
The six of them headed for the drinks, sharing secretive and knowing smiles with one another. Dick passed out the glasses. "To us," he toasted.
"To us," came the chorus.
"There you are," Fyria said sternly, and Garfield saw Kori cringe and looked at Fyria, seeing her with her hands planted on her hips and a frown on her face. "Someone did the promising of a dance with her little brother. He has been practicing most diligently and was quite upset when his sister disappeared and he had not had a chance to-"
"I apologise," Kori said quickly, looking very guilty. "I shall go see Ryfore at once."
Kori swept away, almost scurrying and Garfield saw Fyria's disapproving gaze fall on the rest of them.
"Perhaps you'd do me the honour of a dance," Dick said charmingly and holding out his hand for her and changing her frown into a smile.
"Whew," Victor said as Dick pulled Fyria away. "I didn't fancy a tongue lashing from her as well, Alfred was bad enough."
Barbara giggled. "That wasn't anywhere near a tongue lashing," she said cheekily. "You'll know when you get those, Alfred can deflate even Bruce's ego…" she suddenly laughed and pointed. "Speaking of Bruce."
Bruce and Selina were slinking into the ballroom from the opposite door, Bruce's head down and shoulders hunched and Selina blushing madly as Alfred walked smugly in behind him.
"Oooh, he got scolded," Garfield laughed.
The four of them burst into laughter.
"Rae," a voice whispered into her ear, as a warm hand shook her shoulder. "C'mon, Rae, wake up. It's time."
"Huh?" she asked blearily blinking open her eyes, and rapidly closed them again as the soft light from the lamp beside the bed blinded her momentarily. "Whatsit?" she mumbled, burying her face back into the pillow.
Something prodded her again. "C'mon, Rae, it's time."
"All right," she mumbled, propping herself up on her elbows and staring forlornly at the pillow. Twisting her head, she saw Garfield already wrapped up in his green robe, holding her blue one out for her. "I'm up," she grunted, hauling herself to her feet and out of the nice, warm, cozy bed. Slipping her feet into her slippers she allowed Garfield to help her into her robe.
"Toasty?" he asked quietly as he wrapped a shawl around her shoulders.
"Just wonderful," she muttered.
"C'mon, babe," he said, keeping his voice low. "It's tradition."
"I know," she replied, yawning. She stretching her arms above her head and rose up on her toes briefly. "Ahhh… okay, let's go."
He beamed at her, wrapping an arm around her as he led her out their bedroom door.
The Manor was dark, only a few random lights illuminated the hallways as they walked. Rachel leaned into Garfield's comforting warmth, resting her head on his neck, her eyes half closed and allowed him to lead her to their destination.
"Mmmmmmmm," Garfield crooned softly, the sound of his hum rumbling through his body.
"Hmm?" Rachel asked, shifting her head so she could look up at him.
"Smell it?" he purred.
Rachel sniffed. "Not yet," she mumbled.
He made that rumbling purr again and pulled them up short. He half turned to her, running his hands down her back until he reached the back of her thighs. Lifting her up, he wrapped her legs around his waist and allowing her to snuggle against his chest. "Faster this way," he murmured. "You're still too sleepy."
"You just want me to snuggle you," she muttered, her arms around his neck as she felt his hands slide up the back of her thigh to support her weight. "Watch those hands."
Garfield let out a deep, rumbling chuckle. "Now you tell me to watch them."
"Now," she mumbled, "you're carting me around in the middle of the night, just so you can satisfy a craving." She lifted her head, sniffing the air. "So, hurry up."
He laughed, shifting his grip on her and walked faster.
"Too slow," she grumbled and wrapped them both in her raven form.
Dick's laughter reached her ears as well as Kori's gleeful greeting and Silkie's excited warble as they exited the raven.
"Couldn't wait, huh?" Dick asked.
"Could you?" Rachel muttered as Garfield placed her on a stool in Alfred's kitchen and released her legs.
"Are you kidding me?" Dick replied tartly while Kori giggled. "I had to watch her make them. Got my fingers smacked for trying to steal bits."
"How long Star?" Garfield asked, sitting down next to Rachel as she swiveled on the stool to face them.
"A few more minutes," she replied, fetching two mugs and placed them beside Dick as he stirred hot chocolate on the stove. "They are doing the standing. Your timing, as always, is impeccable."
"Oh good," Garfield said rubbing his hands together. He reached out and ran his hand along the larva worm that sat on the bench in the middle of kitchen that they were seated around. "Hey Silkie."
Barbara flounced through the door, wearing a yellow robe and grinning broadly and Victor ambled in behind her, in black sweat pants and hoodie.
"Ahh, grass stain, how'd you beat us?" Victor pouted. "I was sure we were in front of you."
"Did Rae cheat again?" Barbara asked cheekily. "Wanna hand there, Dick?"
"Nope, I got it," he replied as Kori placed two more mugs on the bench beside him. "Usstan t'nara oohs Star, xuns oohs deg re marshmal-," he paused as Kori held up the bag of marshmallows.
"Of course I got the marshmallows," she replied, placing them beside the mugs.
He grinned sheepishly and began pouring.
"How long, little lady?" asked Victor, easing into the seat beside Garfield. "I'm starved."
"After all that food you ate at the wedding?" Rachel asked.
"There's always room for zorkaberry pie."
"Ain't that the truth," Garfield agreed heartily.
It wasn't long before they were all gorging themselves silly on zorkaberry pie and drinking hot chocolate, laughing and chatting about the adventures of the day. And what a day it had been, two marriages and a proposal. Rachel was never going to forget this day.
Rachel wasn't sure how this midnight snack tradition of theirs started. Kori, Dick and Victor had started it, she knew that. They'd done it in the few weeks after she and Garfield had left. Garfield mentioned that one night Kori hadn't been able to sleep and had gone to the kitchen in the tower and just baked, the smell of pie waking the other two occupants and Silkie. From then, it had just become routine for the three of them. When they'd had a particularly bad day, or perhaps there was something exciting about it, like an anniversary or birthday, Kori would bake, Dick would make the hot chocolates and they'd congregate and be together. It was a way for them to be close, to stay connected.
Whenever Garfield had visited, they'd always made sure to have a session, even bringing Barbara over from Gotham so she could join in.
Rachel still remembered the first time she'd joined in, on their visit back after she and Garfield had gotten engaged. She hadn't even known about the tradition until then, Garfield explaining he didn't want her to feel like she missed out. He'd woken her up, carried her much like he had tonight to the kitchen and the six of them had stayed up until dawn talking, laughing, reminiscing and eating pie until their heart's content.
If the Titans had an official food, zorkaberry pie would be it.
Rachel looked around the table, enjoying the happiness and comfort that came from their friends.
They were into their second pies when Dick cleared his throat, his tone suddenly serious. "Guys… Kori and I have something to tell you."
"You're not pregnant, are you?" Barbara asked immediately and somewhat eagerly. "Are we gonna have baby Dicks?"
Rachel snorted, almost spitting her hot chocolate over the table and Victor and Garfield burst into laughter.
"Babs!" Dick complained, scandalised.
"What?" she asked, looking around at all of them, her expression innocent. "Someone had to say it."
"You didn't have to phrase it quite like that," Rachel said dryly, wiping her mouth.
Dick waved his hand. "She's not pregnant. We haven't even started trying yet. No, there's something else."
Rachel looked between Dick and Kori with concern.
Dick rubbed the back of his neck, before he threaded his hands together and stared at his palms. When he finally spoke, his voice was very soft and sad. "Kori and I really haven't had much to do with the Titans recently. Since Tim joined, he's been taking the burden of leadership from me more and more, and with all the study and work I've been doing, I've been letting him. Consequently, we now have a team of younger generation Titans that I don't know like I know you guys and the rest of the old Network. Flash moved on to the Justice League, Jinx eventually went with him. Bumblebee and Herald are global, and more and more they're going dimensional too. Aqualad went back to Atlantis. Piece by piece the old Titans are breaking off and getting on with their lives. We grew up."
"You're leaving, aren't you?" Victor asked.
Garfield clasped Rachel's hand, held on tight.
Dick nodded. "I've been offered a job in Blüdhaven, it's a huge promotion for me. I still haven't said yes… but I want to…" He took Kori's hand. "We want to… It's time I turned leadership over to Tim fully, stopped getting in his way." He looked up at them. "Vic, you'll always be a Titan. You're a part of everything in that Tower. You're even a part of the Watchtower. You've told me more than once it's where you belong. And Babs, you've got the Birds of Prey." His eyes flicked over to Rachel and Garfield, his face becoming concerned.
"We do not wish you to feel as though we are doing the abandoning you," Kori said softly. "We have been friends and family for so long, we are a part of one another. But Richard and I feel that we need to do this, while it is still just the two of us. We can make a difference there, and set up a good home, so that when children do come, we will have some stability. And this offering has come at the right time."
"So, Nightwing and Starfire will protect Blüdhaven," Rachel said softly. "Cyborg will be the big brother to the Titans, Oracle will be ever watchful…" She turned and looked at Garfield. "And Beast Boy and Raven will go to Africa."
Garfield just about fell off his chair in shock as he swiveled to face her. "Huh?"
She smiled at him. "Gar, you followed me to the ends of the universe and back again. It's about time I followed you."
"Really?" he asked hopefully.
Rachel nodded. "You were right, we could make things better, and I think it would be good for us too. Besides, we're only ever a raven away."
"And there are the Titan communicators," Dick said quietly. "We'll still have those so we can keep in contact."
"And we thought that perhaps it would be wise to meet formally once a year," Kori said, her hand on Dick's shoulder, "at the celebration of Christmas. We have discovered a little town not far from Gotham, where you can do the hiring of houses. We could hire several in a street and spend that time together."
"I think that would be a good idea," Barbara said. "I'd hate for us to drift apart as family as well as heroes."
"You know we'll always be there for any of you," Dick said seriously. "All you have to do is ask."
Rachel lifted her mug in salute, the others joining in. "To family," she said, a smile on her face. "And the end of an era."
"The beginning of a new one," Dick said.
"To friendship," Kori toasted, smiling brightly.
"And love," Barbara cried.
Silkie stood its hind legs, waving its front legs excitedly as it warbled.
"Too right, Silkie," Victor exclaimed. "To zorkaberry pie!"
"Hear, hear!" Garfield agreed happily.
Rachel smiled as she looked around the bench as her friends and family talked and chatted, feeling their emotions rolling from them. They'd changed over the years, formed strong friendships, even stronger partnerships.
But they would always be family. They would always share that bond with each other. Time would pass and the distance between them would become greater and they would still remain a family.
Nothing could ever change that.
Except, perhaps, the fact that there was only one zorkaberry pie left, and six hungry Titans and one larva.
The larva won.
Soooo… some of you are probably going to ask what Garfield did to Rachel on Bydarius Prime… well… they had tofu dogs and coffee. Yeah…
Use your imagination.
It was actually quite interesting to revisit Beast Boy and Raven as a couple and have something solely… okay, mostly about them, I'm so used to writing Nightwing and Starfire.
So, I hope you enjoyed it.