I do not own anything relating to either the Teen Titans or the song "Here I Am."
On my own,
I tried to make the best of it, alone.
I've done everything I can to ease the pain.
Garfield Logan awoke. Three things immediately occurred to him. First, he questioned to himself, 'Where was he?' Second, his head hurt. Third, a vision of her face appeared before him. Her eyes, those deep eyes, wells that exhibited her soul, every nuance of her being. In response, he closed his eyes tightly, trying desperately to avoid the memory of her. When he shut his eyes, the pain in his mind intensified. He remembered, sort of, what had happened.
"Damn, I hate waking up. OK, where am I THIS time." He looked around carefully. After all this time, he'd learned, the hard way, not to move quickly or the hangover would be excruciating. "Hmm, looks like a hospital bed. Wonder how long I was out this time. Don't remember much. Did I….?" He slowly lifted up his arms and looked at his wrists. "Didn't cut them this time. Don't remember juicing up. Guess it was only the booze. Wonder how long I was out this time. Where am I?" He looked around the room. "You know, I'd almost swear I'm back in…." He looked up at the ceiling. There in the plaster were the cracks, the images he'd played with all those years ago. He was back in the Tower.
"No, no, not here…please no….I can't…..I can't take this anymore…why….WHY…..WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME?" He wailed. Heedless of the effects quick movements would have. Garfield curled up into a ball and, rocking back and forth, began to cry. Back in this familiar place, with all of its memories, triggering those memories of her, the pain of the alcohol withdrawal was a far distant second to the pain of her withdrawal.
But only you can stop the rain.
I just can't live without you,
I miss everything about you.
Vic and Dick were in the next room. Dick had changed out of his Nightwing uniform into his regular clothes. Although baffled by the request, Vic had put on a hoodie and a pair of sweat pants, covering up his cybernetic equipment. "Dick, what's going on? Gar's seen me millions of times. Why do I need to cover up?"
"Vic, this is going to be tough enough for him being back in the Tower. I'm just trying to do anything I can to make it easier, to keep him from focusing on his memories and anything that might trigger them."
"Come on, you've got to be kidding. Our uniforms?" Victor let out a breath, "Sheesh, would the kid just get a new girl and move on."
"I told you, it's not that easy."
"Yeah, but you didn't tell me WHY! Come on Dick, every guy goes through a bad scene regarding a girl at least once in their lives. Your love's unrequited, she cheats on you, she says "You're a nice guy, but.."
"Yeah, that one's the worst."
"Like it's ever happened to you."
"You'd be surprised." Dick smirked and gave a chuckle.
"Wha! Lover Boy Dick? Who would say that to you? Were you trying to pick up Lady Shiva?
"Well, she IS pretty hot."
Victor's eye's bugged out. "You didn't really…."
Dick Grayson let out a laugh, "No…hah, hah, no. God, you're so easy to bust. No way I'd try with her. She'd tear my arms off." He considered. "Still, she is pretty hot."
"Dick, I'm getting too old for this." Vic whined. Dick smirked. Even after all this time, the friendship, the camaraderie was evident, and welcome. Two old friends, enjoying each other's company, old times, old jokes, old friends. The mood changed. "You going to tell me what's going on with Gar?"
The good humor died away immediately. "As soon as I get the answer to one question." Both of them fell into silence at that. After a few minutes, a cry was heard from the other room. A wailing that came from the soul, a bottomless cry of hurt and loss that tore at the heart and ripped the spirit from the hearer. Dick let out a sorrowful breath, "He's awake." Silence fell again. "Vic, please come with me. This won't be easy and I could use the company." The former Titan leader got up and headed towards the room where the changeling lay.
Victor Stone looked at the departing figure, eyes agog. Dick, asking for help, asking for comfort? What was the problem with Gar? Victor closed his eyes and gathered his strength. Right now, he'd rather face the Brotherhood of Evil, Slade or Trigon than beard Gar in his agony. They could only kill him. To see Gar in all his pain and hurt, well, that was far worse.
But this was his best friend, the man he would do ANYTHING for. It just hurt so to see him suffer so needlessly. He whispered, "Gar, man, just tell me, what's the problem? How can I HELP?" And he followed Dick into the infirmary, where Gar was, supposedly, recovering.
When he entered the room, he saw Dick moving towards the bed where Garfield was. The young green man was curled up, arms around his knees, rocking back and forth, whimpering. Quickly, Victor fell in behind the former titan leader. Dick sat on the edge of the bed, next to Gar, facing him. He put his hand on the young man's shoulder.
"Gar, I'm sorry. I know you're not all right." The changeling, curled up, shook his head no. "But I have to ask." He paused, considering his words. "She was your mate, wasn't she?"
Garfield Logan's head sprang up and he looked at his friend. Eyes lost, wet with tears, his face had crumpled into a picture of agony as the pain within his soul came to the fore. He let out another wail and pitched forward. Dick grabbed him around the shoulders and held him, commiserating with the agonized man who had been his teammate for a so long and his friend for even longer. They sat and hugged as Dick Grayson attempted to pass what little strength he could to his suffering friend.
Victor stared at the two, stunned. Not only did Gar not seem any better, but it appeared that Dick really did know the underlying cause. His mate? What did that mean? Why should that set off such agony? Regardless of the cause, Vic moved around to the other side of the bed and sat on the other side. He put his hand on Gar's shoulder, attempting to give comfort as best as he was able.
And so they sat there, silent save only for the weeping sound that came from the changeling. After a few moments, Garfield seemed to gather himself again and separated from Dick. Leaning back onto his pillow, he whispered, "Why did you bring me back here?"
Dick answered, "I'm sorry, I know it's hard on you, but you were suffering from hypothermia. We needed to keep you warm and didn't want to bring you back to the hospital before you were ready."
The green man shook his head. "Why didn't you just leave me there?"
"Man, we couldn't do that!" Victor interrupted, "You looked terrible. Another day or so and you'd probably be dead." Garfield looked up at his best friend.
"That might be for the best." He closed his eyes, the pain coming through once again. "I can't stand this any longer. I just can't keep going." He bent his head down again.
Dick and Victor looked at one another, concern mingled with fear in their faces. "Gar, we'll take you back to the hospital in a little while." Dick answered. "Try to rest if you can. You're still weak from exposure. Come on Vic" He motioned to the cybernetic titan to leave the room with him.
Once they reached the next room, Vic turned on Dick, "All right, enough evasion, enough mystery. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HIM? What's all this about a mate? Hell if he's just looking for a lay, this is one hell of the wrong way to go about it."
"Wrong mate, Vic. Not mate as in sex." He paused, "Well not primarily anyway. Mate as in partner. Many animals mate for life. Wolves, eagles, geese, a lot of different birds, some fish, even worms. They stay with their partner throughout their life. Beyond that, many animals have familial bonds. Elephants mourn the passing of one of their herd and even try to bury them. Mother elephants have been known to stay at the side of their dead children for days afterwards. The animal kingdom is full of devoted, committed creatures that never abandon their own. Unfortunately, in many of those cases," Dick paused again, choosing his words carefully, "when one of the pair dies, the surviving partner doesn't usually for long."
"So? Gar's not an animal, he's human."
"No entirely, not anymore. Apparently, somewhere in his makeup he's channeled those creatures that mate for life. It's now firmly embedded in him. When she left, he was devastated. There's no telling when it really started. He matured so late that the mating instinct didn't kick in until much later, long after the fact that she left. But it didn't matter, he'd already bonded with her."
"When did you figure it out?"
Dick let out a sigh, "A while ago. After his last stay in the hospital, I started to think back to our last years together. He began to become moody. If you remember, there were certain animals he wouldn't change into. He stopped becoming a wolf, stopped being an eagle. I didn't see it then, but he was already avoiding those creatures that mate for life, the pain of loss was already building. If you remember, that's when he began to drink. He hid it, but he was trying desperately to numb his pain. Then he moved onto the drugs, anything to dull his memories."
"Shit." He paused. "So is there anything we can do? Obviously, from what you say, another relationship is out. And she's not coming back." He paused again. "Do you think we could get her back by explaining the situation to her?"
"And then what? Force her to stay at his side forever? Have her give up her life to ease his? We'd be trading his misery for hers."
"Well then, can we remove his animal instincts, without his powers he'd be normal and not compelled by this mate obsession."
Dick let out a deep breath, "Thought about that. But that formula has been part of his DNA for almost 20 years. I'm not sure it CAN be removed. It could take years to develop a counter. And that's not the worst of it. Do you remember WHY he had to take the formula?"
Vic thought for a moment, "Oh, right, the Sakutia, this is the cure." His eyes opened wide. "DAMN, if we remove his powers, he'll die!" He put his hand over his eyes. "There's no answer, is there?"
Dick shook his head and whispered, "No, not one that I can think of." The two fell silent. After a few moments, the former leader said, "I'm going to call the hospital. He'll need to be readmitted. You should call his therapist and the rehab center, tell them we found him and he'll have to go back to the sanitarium for a while, until he's able to get his head back together."
"Until the next time."
"Yeah…until the next time something triggers his memories of her."
"Shit. Poor Gar." The two left the room to make their way to the common room.
Just when I thought I was over you.
And just when I thought I could stand on my own,
Oh baby, those memories keep crashing through,
From his bed in the next room, Garfield paid half hearted attention to the conversation between his friends. He knew what they were saying; his senses had not dulled over the years. His sight and hearing were far better than the normal human, and his ability to smell could rival a bloodhound. But none of that was very important at the moment. Even the overheard conversation had not made much of an impression.
All that mattered was the hole in his heart where she should be.
"Even Dick's figured it out by now. You're only fooling yourself. There's no answer, no magic potion, no pill that will ever stop this pain. This is the rest of your life." He lay back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. "And now, back to the hospital, for therapy, counseling, medication that doesn't work. Until the next time. How long will that be? A month, a week, a day. You'll see hair that looks like hers, someone who walks just like her, someone with her smile. And then it'll start all over again."
"Why couldn't she stay with me? Why'd she leave? Where is she?"
He closed his eyes once more, a few more tears leaking out.
"There's no answer. There's never an answer. Just pain. Always pain. I'm so tired of the pain. Nothing ever works. If only she'd come back. But she'll never be back. Never. Alone…"
Aloud, he said, "God, I'm sorry, but I can't take this anymore." Slowly he got out of bed. He was still weak. He'd been weak before all of this started and a two day bender didn't help. Standing by the bed, he closed his eyes and gathered his strength. After a moment or so, he straightened and opened them again. He knew he was being monitored, but he heard the other two leave to make the calls necessary for his future. A future of agony, of loss, of pain, of no hope.
He knew where the monitors were and faced them. "Goodbye guys. You've been the greatest friends anybody could ever have. I'm sorry you had to come bail me out one last time. I wish…." He paused, then whispered, "Thank you." And he walked out of the room.
Garfield Logan made his way slowly to the roof of Titan's Tower. It had been a long time, years really, but he still remembered ever step, every inch of the tower.
It had been a long time since he'd changed. But it was embedded in his genes. He could do it with the merest of thoughts. And so he changed into a Bar-Headed Goose. The pain was intense, beyond belief. Geese mate for life. Shifting to that form, he felt every aspect of the pain, the loss, the emptiness. She was gone, not to return. If a goose could cry, this one would have. Nothing. Nothing. The world was empty, lifeless. He had tried, oh how he had tried to come back. Nothing worked. Not alcohol, not drugs, nothing. Only sweet oblivion would help now. He had tried once before, but he'd been weak, unable to complete his only remaining desire left. Now, he would finish it. And no one could stop him.
He took off from the top of the tower and flew up, ever up. A Bar-Headed Goose can fly to a height of over 21,000 feet, and Garfield was heading up to that level. The air grew cold and thin, but still he climbed. If he had been in his human form, he would have passed out by now. Still he climbed.
"Must be well over 20,000 now, got to see how much further I can go. Didn't know if geese could get dizzy, but…what was I thinking? Oh yeah, up to 20,000. Gee, the clouds look pretty from on top, on top of old smoky, all covered with…uhh, wha? Oh yeah, up, that's right. She always wondered how high I could get. Guess I'm finding out. Wonder if…huh? Wonder what. Where am I? What's going on? Where is she? Why did she leave me? Oh God, please don't let her leave. I can't….. I can't…please….no…..no….don't go….don't leave me….God, please….."
The goose let out one final, hopeless cry and closed its eyes, passing out from a lack of air. With unconsciousness came the transformation back to the human form of Garfield Logan.
He began to fall.
And I just can't, go on without,
Go on without,
It's just no good without,
I'm sorry my friends if I've disappointed you. This is why I rated it "M". Not only was there no happy ending, but the ending was most final. It is not something that young children should read. If you have, I have no objection, but I give you a warning: SUICIDE IS WRONG!
I've put it in here only because of the storyline. Garfield was compelled by his animal instincts. WE ARE HUMAN! We are able to put them aside, unlike poor Garfield. PLEASE, if you are having difficulties, and are considering self destruction, PLEASE speak to someone, get counseling, get help. You are not alone. Please don't do it. I do not advocate it, advise it or agree with it. I have only written about it. Life is too precious to cavalierly throw away. No matter what the reason.
My thanks to you, my loyal readers. Not many, but then again, this is "M" rated, so I'm happy for any readers. As for my reviewers:
HotDog285 – As you can see from this chapter, Garfield losing his love, his partner.
ForceIsStrongWithThisOne – Was it Raven leaving, Terra leaving, Starfire leaving? I leave it open to your fertile imagination. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. The fact that poor Gar was left abandoned and was unable to deal with it. Hopefully you liked this exhibit of the true, deep friendship that exists between Dick, Vic and Gar. At least as far as this story goes.
BlueSummer2012 – I'm a firm believer that simply showing an action, and other people's response to it is far more powerful than dialogue. Although the right word in the right place certainly won't go amiss either. As for the late maturation, nothing particularly 'wrong' about it. Some men just mature late. For instance, at the age of 17, I still looked like 12 (could get into the movies for the kids price). I didn't start shaving regularly until I was almost out of college (still couldn't grow a mustache for beans in grad school.) And I'm STILL waiting for my voice to break. My wife has a deeper voice than I do, as does my 17 year old son (who by the way, matured right on schedule). Puberty can be decidedly odd.
InsanitysCandy – Here's the rest. Hope you've enjoyed it.
Once again my friends, my thanks for your kind words and your loyalty. I hope you've enjoyed my short, albeit tragic tale. Until next time.