Garfield couldn't sleep. That wasn't anything new, he never slept well. Hadn't for years. He dragged his body down the hall toward the common room. A movie would pass the time without having to think too much. He walked by the nursery when his overly sensitive ears picked up on something. The gurgling sounds Mark usually made before he started to cry. Guess he wasn't the only guy up at this hour. Garfield opened the door as quietly as he could and walked over to the crib. The tiny boy looked at him and his face broke into a huge smile as he hovered a few inches over the matress.
"What are you doing up at this hour, little guy? Don't you know that only sad, pathetic men are up now?"
Mark just gurgled happily. Garfield couldn't help but smile as he picked the baby up. Then he walked out of the nursery and in to the common room. He walked to the fridge and pulled out a big purple jar with Kori's homemade baby food. No one but Kori knew what was in it, but Mark seemed to love it. Garfield poured the concoction into a bottle and started to feed him. The boy smiled as he latched on and started to suck. He was so beautiful.
Raven looked over as Beast Boy made a face at Teether as the trio vanished on Melvin's newest creation, a huge whale named Bed. When the children were no longer to be seen Beast Boy turned and wrapped his arm around Raven's shoulders.
"I miss them already," Beast Boy sighed as they walked back toward the tower.
"I can see that. Honestly I get a little jealous when you four are together. It's like I don't exist anymore."
Beast Boy laughed, which made Raven look at him with small eyes. Beast Boy tried to stop laughing, but it only turned in to short coughs. Raven just rolled her eyes as she pulled away from him as they entered the tower.
"Rae, I didn't mean it like that."
Beast Boy jogged after her and reached the elevator just as the door closed. Raven didn't give him one look and they drove up in uncomfortable silence. Beast Boy rubbed his neck, desperately trying to figure out something to say. The door opened, but as Beast Boy was on his way out Raven pressed the close door button, and the doors closed. Beast Boy just braised for whatever Raven was going to say to him.
"Why is it so funny that I feel like I don't exist?"
Beast Boy just looked at her, but Raven just stared into the shiny wall, breathing to keep calm.
"Well, Beast Boy?"
"It's funny because it's so far from the truth. The kids adore you. They idolise you. And, Rae," Beast Boy moved close. Raven didn't scold him and Beast Boy took it one step further and wrapped his arms around her "I live for you. I don't know what I would have done if you suddenly didn't exist. You are my universe, as cliché and sappy as that sounds."
Raven didn't say a word, but she leaned into the hug and Beast Boy took that as a sign that he was forgiven. For now.
As the months passed Garfield felt better, if felt better can be described as crying yourself to sleep, hardly eating but sitting with others and only skulking half of the time. After two months Mark even managed to get a smile from him. Another month and it was a small laugh. Garfield doted on the child like it was his own, and Richard mentioned several times in jest how Garfield acted like the child's father. But that wasn't the case. To Garfield Mark was hope. He was a reason to get up in the morning when all he wanted was to lie in bed and think about HER. Mark was a way to be distracted from himself. From HER. From the unfairness of everything.
"I want children."
Beast Boy was so shocked by the statement the coffee he was drinking went down the wrong passage and he started to cough. Raven just waited patiently until he was done.
He stared at her, his eyes big and round.
"I don't mean right now, I mean one day. I want children. I want to be a mother."
Beast Boy just nodded slowly, before he turned and walked out of the room. He could hear Raven call his name, but he couldn't stop or turn around. How could he, when he didn't even get why he was reacting the way he was. I mean it was Raven, saying she wanted kids. He should make jokes about how she hated kids. Feel proud that she wanted to have his kids, since he guessed that was what she was saying. But he just felt dizzy, like all the blood in his head was gone. He felt sick to his stomach and his instincts dragged him to his usual spot on the rock by the sea. After a while Raven came and she sat down next to him. Raven always knew when he needed time alone, and when it was time to talk.
"I don't know what to say, Raven."
"No I get it. I am the daughter of evil, any kids I have will still be my kids and his grandchildren."
Beast Boy turned and looked at her. She that was always right, was so wrong.
"Rae, I would love to father your kids. I mean I love you, even if I wasn't your boyfriend I would love to father your kids. I'd be honoured just to be asked."
He turned and looked back to at ocean.
"I can barley remember my father. My biological one. And everyone after that has either tried to kill me or died. The closest I've been was Steve, and trying to impress him almost killed me growing up. Now don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for everything he and Rita did for me. But Steve was never a very father-ish man. What do I know about being a father?"
Raven hit him in the arm and the shock made him stare at her.
"And you think almost being killed by my own mother before I'm born, raised by monks and not having seen any of my parents since my father tried to take over the world screams motherhood?"
Beast Boy just shook his head. She was right, he guessed. She grabbed his hand with both hers. That small act which ment so much because it was Raven doing it.
"You made me want children, Beast Boy. You made me want your children, and I would not have wanted that if I wasn't sure you were going to be a good father."
Beast Boy pulled her closer and kissed her. Just for being her, and always knowing the right thing to say. He kissed her because he was feling better and because he wanted to be the father of her children. Not just the lets-spread-the-genes part of him, but all of him. How could he ruin things when Raven had such faith in him?
Mark bounced on Garfield's knee and laughed as only he could. Garfield just grinned and made faces, which made Mark laugh even more. Garfield was thrilled with every laughter. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Richard get a call on his communicator, and despite not trying to listen, despite the fact that he would have given anything so he wouldn't have to listen, he heard the conversation.
"Dick, it's Hunter. Raven's in labour."
"Okay. How far along is she?"
"We're at the hospital now. The midwife says it's maybe one hour now. It would mean a lot to her if you guys were here."
"Did she say that?"
"No, but I know."
"Okay. We'll leave as soon as possible."
"And send our regards to Rae."
Richard hung up and all that was needed was a shared look for him to know Garfield had heard the conversation.
"It would be really great if you could babysit, Gar."
Garfield just nodded as Richard left to gather up the others.
He woke up, not sure where they were at the moment. It didn't really matter. He slithered out of the tent and walked a few feet away from the camp. He had dreamed of her again. Now that wasn't anything new, he always dreamed of her, but these nightmares were new. They were of Raven in the arms of someone else. Another man. Garfield wanted to scream, but decided against it in case the others would wake up. He couldn't risk the others knowing. He wanted to go home. He wanted it all to be over. Three years away from the people you care about most in the universe took its toil.
"Garfield, we have to go."
Garfield turned and nodded to the man.
It had been about an hour since everyone left and Garfield was sitting playing with the baby, though he wasn't really paying attention. He was havning problems breathing. His heart felt like it was trying to escape his chest. All the blood in his body was gone, except the tiny amount his heart was strugeling with. Garfield had just in the last five years almost died over twenty times, it came with the job as a superhero, and all the times it almost happened it felt very much like the way he felt now. Then it passed, and the only thing left was the common feeling of adrenalin gushing through his body. Mark was looking at him with his huge eyes, clearly unsure about the situation. Garfield breathed deeply to calm his body down, then he smiled to the baby which made the baby smile back.
"I think it's your bedtime now."
Mark didn't protest while Garfield made him ready, nor when he was put down. In fact the child quickly fell asleep when he was supposed to. Garfield took the babymonitor before walking to the gym. He was calmer, but the adrenalin still lingered under his skin. He needed some form of release. Some way of getting the energy out of his body. Raven popped into his head and he ran to the punching bag and hit it as hard as he could. It wasn't Raven he was hitting, he was just hitting because of Raven. Because of the child she was giving birth to. Because of what had happened. Because of the unfairness of life. He hit the bag again and the hook creaked as the bag below moved. Garfield pulled off his shirt to get more comfortable and hit the bag over and over again as hard as he could. Sweat was running down his back and face, but this wasn't uncommon. It just made him switch it up with slashes and kicks too. Raven was married. Raven was giving birth to Hunter's child. Raven was sleeping with Hunter every night. Raven was kissing Hunter's skin. Pulling her fingers through Hunter's hair. He wondered if Raven softly giggled when Hunter kissed the back of her neck. If Raven whispered Hunter's name when he softly traced his fingers down her back. His body ached and he finally stopped. He bent over concentrating on breathing properly. The room was well ventilated, but he still felt the need to walk over and open one of the huge window. The room faced away from the city, and he looked over the ocean. So peaceful and calm. Why couldn't everything be like that? He heard steps and turned around as Richard walked in. Richard rose an eyebrow.
"Yeah. Mark's in bed. I just needed to let off some steam."
Richard nodded slowly.
"So how are they?"
"The baby is fine."
Even Garfield understood something was up.
Richard didn't look at him, and Garfield would swear his eyes were wet. He suddenly couldn't breath properly.
"Rae... Raven had some difficulties and..."
He couldn't breath.
Richard looked at him. He was crying. Garfield couldn't breath.
"No. No, don't tell me she's dead. Don't tell me she's dead, Dick."
"She's on life support. I asked Hunter if you could say goodbye and he said yes. But you have to hurry."
Garfield just morphed and flew out the open window. No, it couldn't be happening. Not to Raven. Not to her. He landed and ran into the hospital, not caring about the nurse by the entrance that was yelling at him. He didn't even know where he was running to, when he crashed into Victor. The huge cyborg just looked down at him, tears running down his face. Garfield didn't dare ask him. He couldn't ask if she was... If he was too late again. Garfield couldn't breath. Victor showed him to the room and the body on the bed. She was dead. Raven was dead. It wasn't fair. Raven didn't do anything. Hadn't done anything. He suddenly didn't care that she was married. That she was living with another man. That she had just given birth to another man's child. As long as she lived. As long as she was happy, he could be happy. As long as she was safe. As long as she was alive. Garfield tilted his head back and howled. Then his knees collapsed and he fell to the floor. He loved her, and it wasn't fair that she had to die just because he loved her. He gently grabbed her hand and hid his face in it.
"I'm so sorry, Rae. I'm so sorry I didn't tell you what happened. I should. I wanted to. I wanted to take you along, but he said I couldn't. They killed her, Rae. They killed Rita, and Steve called to get my help to get them. I had to. She was the closest thing I ever had to a mother, I couldn't let them get away. When Steve called and asked me to help find her killer I couldn't say no. He said it could take years, but I still had to do it. You know I did. I wanted to tell you, but he said I couldn't. That I couldn't take you along. That this was a Doom Patrol mission. And he said I couldn't tell you, and I didn't. I couldn't when Rita was dead and he asked me not to tell. And I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."
He was going home. He was finally going home. Garfield was standing in the middle of the field stretching when Steve walked over to him.
"Garfield, I just..."
Garfield thought about how much Steve resembled Robin sometimes. And how completely different leaders they could be in others. Despite the choice he had made, Garfield had to admit he preferred Robin.
"Do you have everything?"
"Yeah. I'm just going straight home."
The man nodded slowly.
"You know, there is always a spot for you here. With us. I mean four years is a long time."
"I know." Oh, how he knew. "But I'm a titan, Steve."
Garfield wasn't sure, but he could swear Steve was smiling a little.
"And you are sure they will welcome you back just like that? I mean you did leave quite abruptly."
Garfield wanted to say something short about who's fault that was, but choose not to.
"They're my family. I have to try, no matter what."
Steve nodded slowly again.
Garfield smiled before morphing to a hawk and taking off.
Hunter looked over at his day old daughter and her mother. Raven was just standing over the bed staring at the child, breathing to keep calm. Hunter loved Raven. Raven was a wonderful woman. Which was why he knew it was the right choice.
She looked up and gave him a small smile.
"You have to go back to him."
It was clear whom he was talking about. Raven paled and he could see she was strugeling to keep calm. Hunter hated having to let her go, but he knew this was the only way.
"I love you."
"I know, but, sunshine, you were going to die and he brought you back to life. I know you don't want it to mean something, but it does."
"It doesn't change what happened."
Raven looked away. Just breathing. Just trying to keep calm.
"No. But even what happened hasn't changed the connection you two have. I can't stand in the middle of that. Don't ask me to."
She looked back at him. He was in pain and she hated it. She breathed as a lamp broke in two.
"What do you want me to do?" she asked.
"Talk with him, make up. I mean seriously, you even married the guy."
"That was a mistake."
"And how in the world do you, Raven, make a mistake like that? I mean you of all people."
Raven looked away as her cheeks started to burn. A picture on the wall fell to the floor.
"It doesn't change what he did."
"What he did was bring you back to life, and I can't compete with that."
Garfield jumped to his feet as Richard and Raven entered the common room. Richard walked straight over to the baby and picked up Mark.
"I think we should leave now before aunt Raven kills uncle Gar."
Victor got to his feet as well and half pushed a protesting Karen out the door. Richard, Mark and Kori followed and the former couple was soon enough alone. Raven grabbed a pillow and threw it at him as hard as she could. It hit him in the head, and hurt. But all he could was gently rub where it had hit, right over his left eye. She was there. Garfield knew she was alive, he had seen her wake up with his own eyes, but to see her there. Panting, breathing, looking at him. He didn't care that she was going to yell at him. Everything was better than the lifeless body he had seen at the hospital. Even the knowledge that she was going to leave and go back to her husband and daughter.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Tell you what, Rae?"
Garfield could have guessed, but he wanted her to speak.
"Why didn't you tell me that the reason you left was to find Rita's murderer?"
Her voice was calm and emotionless, but he could see how much energy she was trying to kill. How her breathing was shallow and quick and her eyes were almost shaking.
"How did you know?"
"You told me. I heard you. I heard you and I can't believe you didn't tell me. You idiot."
She grabbed another pillow and threw it again. This time hitting him in the stomach. He let out a groan, but nothing more.
"Have you any idea how you made me feel? What you put me through? You moron. You idiotic moron."
"You don't think I know that?"
Garfield's voice lowered and he looked at her with pure pain.
"You don't think it didn't kill me to leave. To come back and see you with him. To hear that you were going to marry him. To have his child. I was going to propose, Rae. I was going to propose and then Steve called and I don't regret leaving. I needed to do it."
"I'm not mad that you left, I'm mad at the way you left. You made me feel like a fool because I thought you loved me."
"I do love you," his voice was pure desperation. "I have always loved you. I thought about you every day. About what you were doing, how you were feeling, if you were sitting drinking tea or reading a book. If you missed me."
"Then why didn't you tell me?"
"He told me not to, but more than that, you would have waited. I could have been lying in some jungle somewhere and you would have waited. I couldn't do that to you."
She snorted and Garfield sighed.
"And you think what you did do to me was better, Garfield?"
"I'm not saying I was right. I should have told you. I wanted to tell you, but then I came back and Hunter and..."
"Don't blame this on Hunter."
"I'm not, but I'm not going to sing praise to the guy either."
Raven breathed and turned. She walked a few steps before turning and walking back. Garfield started to rub the back of his neck to self-soothe.
"Maybe you should."
"Rae, you know me well enough to know I can't do that. No matter how decent he is."
"He asked for a divorce."
Garfield just stared at her. His voice vanished as he looked at this goddess telling him there was another man out there stupid enough to let her go.
"He said he couldn't compete with you anymore."
"What did I do?"
"You brought me back to life."
Garfield grinned. He didn't care that she was still angry with him, the news was too wonderful. Too amazing.
"Hunter says shared custody when she is old enough."
"And what do you want?"
Raven was crying. The faucet broke and started spewing out water. Raven quickly shut off the vent with her powers and dried her cheeks.
"I want to turn back time and undo everything."
Garfield walked over and grabbed her. He didn't know why, he just needed to touch her. To hold her.
"I wish I could, Rae. And yet... Victoria is a beautiful girl."
Raven nodded and looked up at him.
"I didn't think it was possible for me to love anyone more than I love you."
Garfield was dragged out of sleep by Raven's communicator ringing. He leaned over the pregnant woman and picked it up.
"Hi, it's Gar."
"Garfield? Hunter. I just called to remind you that I'm picking Victoria up early due to my shift. Raven said it was fine."
Garfield looked down at his sleeping wife and smiled.
"Yeah, Rae told me. Seven wasn't it?"
"Yes, it's six now."
Garfield nodded. A reflex more than informativ for the man on the other side of the line.
"Of course. See you in an hour."
Garfield hung up, then carefully got dressed. Then he walked down the hall to the girl's room. It was empty. He smiled and walked to the room next to hers. The one with MARK written in dark blue letters on the door. He knocked and heard laughter and hushing from the two children on the other side.
"Victoria, what are you doing in Mark's room?"
The four years old girl opened the door and gave the man her most innocent smile.
Garfield just shook his head and smiled.
"Go pack your things, your father is picking you up in an hour."
Victoria smiled and closed the door quickly behind her before walking to her room. Garfield decided he couldn't stop and opened it again. Mark was standing in the middle of the room holding one pillow in each hand.
"What are you doing?"
"Victoria bet me I couldn't stand like this until she came back," the five years old said proudly.
"You do know she's leaving for a week, right?"
Mark just looked at Garfield for a moment, then sighed and let down the pillows.
"Why do I always do everything she asks me to, uncle Gar?"
"Because she's Victoria. And don't worry, she does the same thing to me."
"Gar, can you help me get something from the top shelf?"
Then Garfield smiled as he ran to help his step-daughter.
Victoria was just done saying good-bye to Raven when Hunter rang the doorbell. Garfield followed her down.
The small girl ran into her father's arms as he picked her up.
"Hi, sunshine. Have you been nice to your mom and Garfield?"
"Yes I have. We went to the zoo and Garfield told me all about the different animals and when we were at the monkey hut he morphed into a monkey and the zookeepers thought he was a monkey that had escaped."
Hunter laughed as Garfield handed him the girl's purple backpack.
"Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun."
"We did and mom got me a stuffed whale to give to Jack."
"I think Jack would like that very much."
Hunter looked at Garfield
"She's fine. The baby kept her up all night. She's started kicking."
"Victoria was a kicker too, if I remember correctly."
He bounced her and Victoria gave him the laughter he was asking for.
"And how are Jack and Nina."
"They're both fine. Thank you."
Hunter looked at the watch.
"I have to go. Send my regards to Raven."
"And you to Nina and Jack."
The men nodded and Hunter and Victoria left. Garfield ran back up to their room, wanting to get back to bed. He jumped in and got a dissatisfied moan from Raven.
"Gar, what have I said about jumping in bed?"
He leaned over her and kissed her gently.
He joked, and got what he wanted. Attention, by a pillow to the head.