A note from your author:
Hey dudes, it's been a while. School is busy, yata yata. But I'm still here and I've still got some ideas.
New York comic con was a blast and I can now recommend that all you Teen Titans fans out there set up your DVRs and try to catch the premier of Young Justice. I watched about 9 minutes of a trailer at the panel, and it was wonderful. Cyborg's voice is also returning as the voice of the new Aqualad, so at least watch it for the connection…
I'm happy to say I've now got a DVD (season 5) signed by Greg Cipes, and a sketch of Beast Boy from the creator of Tiny Titans. How fun is that? It's colored in crayon and everything. Moving on…
I've Got You on my Mind
You're very surprised when you stop by Titans Tower to visit your son, and the girl he's introducing you to isn't the hip young blue eyed blond he'd gone on about last year. Of course, you haven't heard anything since then, so of course the matter is subject to change. Either way, this certainly isn't what you were expecting.
"We started going out like, uh… last year? Last year. I think…"
You adjust yourself on the old and semi-comfortable couch and watch the young woman he is telling you about from the corner of your eye. She is seated in a large plush armchair and seems more focused on the book in her hands than she is on the one-sided conversation. The rest of your son's team is nowhere to be found.
You focus your gaze on Garfield once again and interrupt him as he tries to count the months on his fingers.
"Would you… like to tell me about her?" you ask, as though she isn't even there. She may as well not have been. Before Garfield starts talking again (you can hear the gears clacking in his head as he gets ready to make his speech) you focus on his mind and begin to read his inner thoughts. You wouldn't want him lying to you about this mysterious girl, would you? Relationships are bound to cause problems. You would know.
"Well, um, this is Raven!" he practically shouts and then points his hands in her direction as if he were presenting her. He almost trips over his own feet as he is overcome with enthusiasm. "Raven is from Azarath, in some other dimension or something. Oh yeah, Raven can travel through dimensions and time and space and stuff. And her powers are kinda like the Force! Isn't that awesome? And she can pick up things without picking them up. Raven, show him, pick up your cup," and he pointed to the cup on the table in front of the couch.
"Can't, busy reading."
Those are the first words you hear her utter, and she sounds croaky and uninterested. Not an ounce of emotion as she continues on with her life as if the question had never been asked.
"Raven's got a new book," he says, as if it excuses her from her impoliteness.
"You say she's from another dimension? How… interesting. Did her parents come with her?" you ask, genuine curiosity getting the better of you.
Garfield rubs the back of his neck. "Raven's parents are, uh, kinda dead. Yeah."
But that isn't good enough for you, and you delve into his mind to find the truth. What you learn astonishes you. This girl is the daughter of Trigon the Terrible! And her mother… well, you don't want to think about that. It crosses your mind that you should interrupt the introduction and tell him right now that he is in the wrong, but you decide that you should wait and see where this goes. But you are still doubtful.
"Moving on!" Garfield shouts, " Raven came here from Azarath and helped us catch Starfire. You know all that, right? And she joined the team right at the beginning, so I've known her for a long time. She's not just out of the blue or anything. She can speak a lot of different languages, but I forget which ones, and she doesn't like cooking every much. She likes reading though," and he points to the book in her hands, which only reminds you that she isn't paying much attention.
"And Raven is really cool and really awesome and-,"
"Is that all? Does she… play videogames or anything?" You ask the question because you know it's something your boy likes to do, and maybe there is something they have in common after all.
Garfield looks down and blushes a bit. "No, Raven says TV rots your brains. She also says it's ok if I watch it because I don't have much brains for the rotting."
A page flips.
"But she likes to meditate and play piano. Sometimes we swap iPods. And she has a laptop…"
It's clear to you that he's already running out of things to say, and you don't think you've heard enough about her just yet. It's obvious he's dancing around a few certain topics that he knows might get him in trouble. You decide once more to investigate. What you come across in Garfield's limited knowledge is not quite as surprising as last time, but it still sends you for a spin. Your son- who only had his fifteenth birthday two months ago- is dating a girl who will be twenty in two years. You decide you should bring it up later.
"… she doesn't like sports or going outside or to the beach, and she says that tofu tastes awful when it totally doesn't," and he glares at his girlfriend, and she still does nothing. Just flips the page. But Garfield laughs as if she's said something funny and you're confused.
"So yeah, I guess that's Raven in a nutshell. Unless you want me to get all mushy."
That reminds you. It's time to bring up the bane of all "meet my girlfriend" questions. You aren't expecting much besides possibly hand holding, because even though they've been going out for a year at least, Raven looks like she'd rather break his hand than hold it. In all your life, you've only had room in your heart for one person, and even then you've still kept to yourself. And your son's already had two girlfriends, and maybe more that you don't know about.
"So," you start, "what exactly have you done with Raven? I'm talking physically."
"Aw, Mento! Do ya hafta ask that? Raven's gonna get embarrassed. I mean, that's a little personal…"
"I have an obligation to know. I can't just let you run wild. She can leave if she has to," you say. You aren't embarrassed at all, but Garfield is turning purple.
And then Raven speaks for the second time. "Garfield doesn't have to tell you anything. What happens between he and I is nobody's business."
It's something you'd expect from a demon. Her gaze is lifted from her book and it's hot on your own eyes.
You need to affirm your position as a leader, and as a father. If it's your son, it's your business. But before you can strike back, Garfield is talking again.
"Nah Rae, it's ok. I mean, I guess he should know since I hardly ever see him. And imagine if I said we did nothing but then we showed up on his doorstep all married or somethin'. That's kinda not fair."
Married? This is getting ridiculous. This is already hard enough to believe as it is. Raven says nothing to him, but she does close her book. Her gaze is still sharp.
"Ok, so…" and Garfield takes a deep breath.
"We hold hands and cuddle and stuff, and sometimes we make out or whatever. That good enough?" He says it quickly and bites his lip when he's done.
You can't even begin to imagine that your son "makes out" with this emotionless and potentially dangerous female. It has to be a lie, or at least a hyperbole. You need to find out exactly what they've been up to, so you get ready to dive deeper into his thoughts…
"You can get out of his head now, you know."
You blink in astonishment. Your son's girlfriend just called you out.
Raven crosses her arms and her face sports a firm frown. "I'd think you'd have more respect for your son's privacy. What does it matter what he does? He isn't a complete idiot, you know. A neither am I, for that matter."
You stutter a bit before you can get your words out. "But how did you…"
"I'm empathic," she says, "I can feel you poking around. You aren't exactly quiet."
You feel a little guilt now. She's known the whole time that you've been prodding Garfield's thoughts, and she's probably not happy about it. You look at Garfield, and you can tell instantly that he is upset. The invasion of his mental privacy is nothing new. After all, that's how you caught him pulling pranks when he was younger. But he looks a lot more upset than he usually would.
"Why would you… I mean, why can't ya just take my word for it? It's not like you know much about relationships anyway…"
The comment stings, but he is right. You don't know. You don't know at all. So maybe you were trying to understand.
"Garfield…" Raven says. She sounds worried now, and it's the first emotion you've seen from her all afternoon. A second later, you know why she is concerned. Garfield's personality has always been erratic, and it doesn't take long for him to switch from upset to angry. The scowl on his face doesn't belong.
"Why can't you just mind your own business?" he says to you. "You've always done that to me! I thought you could at least appreciate that I've found an amazing girlfriend who actually loves me."
"You never say you love me! You never have! You just pretend you're my dad because you just want something else besides nothing. If you're going to play daddy, at least act like one and stop trying to pry into everything about me!"
You don't know how to handle his outburst or his sour expression. It's always been like this between you and him ever since he joined the Titans. But you see quickly that Raven knows what to do.
"Gar, you have to calm down. I know you didn't want this to turn into a fight, so just let it go." She says.
So he was expecting things to blow up?
"No Raven, I invited him here to meet you, and instead he's acting like I'm still a little kid that he has to watch twenty four seven. He feels like he has a right to know everything about me, and I wouldn't mind telling him stuff if he would just ask me. But he just barges into my head and goes nuts! You don't have to see everything, okay? I'm fine on my own…"
By the time he is done yelling he is whimpering a little, and you've been put off a bit because now you know what he thinks of you. He doesn't love you. Nobody does. Raven doesn't move.
"I'm… sorry," you offer. "But you have to understand that I'm only trying to keep you safe. I just don't want you getting in trouble."
"Keeping me safe?" Garfield asks. "You can send me off to fight the Brotherhood when I'm ten, but you can't leave me alone with my own girlfriend?"
He has a point.
"I just… don't want anything bad to happen to you. Or her," you add.
Garfield turns to look at Raven, and he looks a little less unnerved than before.
"I know, I know. But… just ask me, okay? That's all you have to do. I know you don't trust Raven, but I know her."
And you realize that he knows her a whole lot better than you do. They've been living together for years, after all. You curse yourself because you always manage to make a mess of things with your family. Your voice is small when you speak up again.
"I just… want to make sure you're okay, Garfield. You're just growing up so fast."
And when you look up, your son is looking sympathetic instead of angry. Raven is sitting back in her chair once again.
Garfield starts blushing out of nowhere and his hands come together and clasp themselves in his lap. "I guess I do sort of leave out the important bits sometimes. Like… that Raven's dad is Big Red and Ugly, and that she's kinda sorta like almost nineteen, and that maybe we slept together a few times, but-,"
"What?" you shout.
Garfield quickly waves his hands rapidly in front of his face. "Nothing, nothing! I didn't say anything!"
Your suspicions are confirmed when you see that Raven is red as a tomato. But this time… you don't say anything, and you pretend you heard nothing. And you leave his mind alone. Maybe it's time for a change of pace.
"Alright, son. I could have sworn I just heard you say something completely ridiculous. But you know, I'm getting old and my hearing is going…" and you tack on a tiny, tiny smile.
Garfield beams at you. "Yeah, haha, okay! Yeah, I'm totally fine. I can take care of myself. After all, I've got super girlfriend here to make sure I don't do anything stupid." And when he looks at Raven again, you can see the adoration and love in his gaze, and you kick yourself for not seeing it before. You remember looking at Rita like that when you were young.
Raven is back to her pale self, and as Garfield looks at her, you watch her smile for the first time. It's a nice smile, you decide. She probably doesn't do it often. Before you know it, she's erupted in a brilliant cloud of darkness and has reappeared next to Garfield on the other end of the couch. In an obvious display of affection, she throws her arm around his waist and pulls him closer.
It finally dawns on you that you should have been happy for him from the start. You're just too used to making assumptions and dealing with your own problems that you can't see through the mist. So you toss everything that's been said aside and smile a real smile.
"I'm happy for you, son. I really am."
And Garfield's smile grows even wider, if that was even possible, and he gives a happy little chuckle. And for once in your life, you feel like you've done something right. And then you watch in astonishment as the girl you thought was dull and emotionless leans over and kisses your son softly on the mouth, and then pecks him again as soon as they've finished the first one. It makes you happy.
You decide you should leave while everything is working out, and you gesture to them your intentions. Both of them nod, and Garfield mouths a 'thank you' as you get up. You walk quickly because you can't break the habit of your profession, but you take one more look before the couch is out of your range. Raven is already leaning back in for another kiss, and Garfield eagerly meets her halfway.
He's done well for himself, you think as you leave the tower.
You don't remember why you were so worried.
You decide it feels good to be happy again.
This one makes me feel happy. Let me know if I messed up any tenses or anything, I've never written like this before. I hope you enjoyed it.