"Stop squirming, Raven! So the brush caught a knot in your hair, stop being such a girl."
"Why are we doing this, again?
"Because you're a bride, stupid. Now sit still and we'll get this done. Thanks goodness we already got your nails done."
Raven crossed her arms and frowned while Bumblebee, who had bobby pins in her mouth and a brush in each hand, continued to work on the sorceress's shoulder length violet hair. Raven cursed silently for allowing her hair to grow out from her old signature A-line.
"Why does my hair have to look different? I'm gonna look like a freak." The demoness complained.
"Don't go there, girl." Karen mumbled back.
Bumblebee glared at her.
"We already are freaks, Raven! I have bug wings, you're a demoness, Starfire is an alien, Kole turns into indestructible crystal. Two thirds of the guests are 'freaks'. Even your groom is a freak."
"Gar is not a freak!"
Bumblebee spat out the bobby pins.
"You know what I mean, now will you stop moving?"
Raven sighed loudly and slumped into the chair.
"What are you sighing about? You're getting married! And in your leotard and cape. I don't know how we let you get away with that."
Raven remained silent and after a pregnant pause Karen resumed furiously working on Raven's violet locks. Raven had wanted to keep things 'simple': a short ceremony with a modest exchange of vows. When she announced they wouldn't be doing rings she incurred the ire of just about every lady Titan, except for Starfire. The Tamaranian, who was an alien, was Raven's #1 ally in rejecting Earth wedding customs. Raven justified the decision because Beast Boy wouldn't be able to wear his wedding band and morph, and as an Azarathian Raven simply had no interest in what for her was a foreign custom.
Raven and Garfield had agreed on a simple Azarathian ceremony. There would be no wedding march, no gown, no veil, no wedding bands, and no non-denominational Protestant minister. They would simply walk up to the celebrant, exchange their vows and leave. They did agree to a simple reception afterwards, where cake and refreshments would be served, as their form of compromising with local customs.
The impromptu beauty salon was set up in a small tent on the island. Raven closed her eyes and prayed to Azar that whatever Karen did to her hair, that it wouldn't be ridiculous. Her eyes popped open when she heard some scissors snipping away.
"You're cutting my hair?"
"Relax, you had some split ends, I'm just trimming them."
Raven closed her eyes again. As promised, the snipping stopped. A few more brush strokes and Karen stepped away from the chair.
"OK, Raven, we're done."
Raven stood up and looked in the mirror. To her immense relief, it looked OK. It was done up into a bun, with a few spiral strands dangling down.
"It's the best I could do; we should have got a pro to do this." Bumblebee apologized.
"It looks good, thank you, Karen."
"I still can't believe you're getting married in a leotard and cape. What kind of bride dresses like that?" Kole protested.
"An Azarathian bride. And you didn't have to wear those ugly matching dresses just because you're my friends."
"You have your traditions, we have ours." Argent interjected. "And having the maids and matrons of honor wear horrid dresses to make the bride look good by comparison is one of them.
Raven peered out of the tent's opening. She saw Cyborg, Nightwing and Beast Boy waiting at the rear of the huge tarp. They were all wearing tuxedos, at Cyborg and Nightwing's insistence. The changeling didn't look too happy in the suit, and looked worried as well.
"I guess it's time." Raven remarked softly as she reached for her hood.
Her hands were intercepted by Argent and Kole.
"Oh, no you don't! We don't care if it's Azarathian tradition, you aren't getting married with your hood up!" Bumblebee commanded as she gestured to Starfire.
The Princess opened a box and extracted a ring of small flowers, which she delicately placed on Raven's head. She stepped back to admire her friend.
"Perfect! Raven, you look beautiful!" Starfire cheered as she clasped her hands together. The other women nodded their approval.
The sorceress looked again in the mirror and found that she agreed. The flowers were white with violet edges and they gave her a softness that she often felt she lacked. She looked out the tent's opening and saw that the men had seen her. Gar had an approving grin on his face.
"I'm ready." She announced.
"Go get him, girl." Karen encouraged her.
Raven was escorted out of the tent by her maids of honor and they delivered her to Beast Boy's side.
"Are you sure I can't give you away?" Nightwing asked.
"I'm giving myself away, and so is Gar." She replied. "I appreciate the offer, but in our case it doesn't apply. You of course will be our witnesses."
The men and women nodded and went ahead to take their place at the altar, where Arella stood, having volunteered to officiate the ceremony. Raven looked her groom in the eyes.
"Well, here we are." She announced in her monotone. To the uninitiated, she sounded perfectly calm, but Beast Boy knew her too well … he could tell she was petrified. She looked under the tarp and saw the guests, over one hundred in number, seated on the folding chairs. An aisle that felt at least a mile long divided the crowd, and Raven gulped as she prepared herself to run what felt like a gauntlet. She noticed that Gar also looked nervous.
"We can do this, Rave, I know we can."
"As long as we're together." She replied.
"Isn't that why we're here?"
He reached out to take her hand, and withdrew it as he remembered the protocol Raven explained to him the night before: They would walk up together, side by side but not touching each other. Once the vows were exchanged, they would hold hands a leave together. They agreed to add a single local tradition to the ceremony: they would kiss after exchanging their vows.
"Let's do it." She announced.
They quickly and silently walked down the aisle, which in reality wasn't long at all. Within a moment they were standing before Arella, who was wearing a splendid and ornate cassock, covered in all sorts of glyphs and patterns, all sewn in with golden thread. She raised her arms, forming a 't' with her body, with her palms facing upwards.
"We are here today to witness the union of Raven Roth and Garfield Logan. Is there anyone who objects to this union?" She boldly announced.
The assembly fell silent, knowing that the question was merely traditional and that no one would object.
"Very well, we shall proceed with the ceremony."
She turned first to her daughter.
"Raven Roth, what do you seek from Garfield Logan?"
"I seek to make him my husband."
Arella turned to Beast Boy.
"Garfield Logan, what do you seek from Raven Roth?"
"I seek to make her my wife."
Arella turned back to her daughter.
"Raven Roth, will you accept Garfield Logan as you husband?"
"I will, and I promise to honor him and to forsake all others for him, as long as we both live."
Arella turned back to Beast Boy.
"Garfield Logan, will you accept Raven Roth as your wife."
"I will, and I promise to honor her and to forsake all others for her …"
"especially blonds" he whispered to Raven, which earned him a small smile from her.
"As long as we both live." He continued in a loud voice.
Arella handed Beast Boy a small goblet filled wine, and a tiny loaf of bread, the size of a dinner roll, to Raven. She broke the loaf in half, placing a piece in Gar's mouth and the other in her own. He then offered her the goblet and she took a sip from it before handing it back to him, and he also took a sip before handing it back to Arella.
"Ladies and Gentlemen … I present to you Raven and Garfield Roth."
Mento's voice was heard, booming in the assembly.
Rita chuckled and squeezed his hand.
"It's Azarathian tradition for the husband to take the wife's family name, Arella told us that at dinner last night. It's only ceremonial, dear."
"I know." He grumbled. "But she didn't say anything about shouting it out like that!"
"Would you have preferred that she announce they're both changing their names?"
Raven and Garfield had explained over dinner that they would become Garfield Logan Roth and Raven Roth Logan. Rita at the time thought that was grand … Mento … remained silent.
"Steve, get the camera ready!"
Mento raised his camera and snapped away as the newlyweds exchanged several kisses, while the assembly, which consisted mostly of superheroes, applauded and hooted their approval.
Seven months later…
The chair silently rocked back and forth while Coraline suckled happily at her mother's breast. A content smile adorned the sorceress's face as she gently caressed her daughter's cheek with her index finger.
"Coraline, my daughter, you are so perfect and beautiful." She whispered. "Please forgive me for even thinking about destroying you."
The child, who had a green complexion that matched her father's and had her mother's violet hair and indigo eyes, detached from her mother's nipple and yawned, falling asleep in her arms.
"Let me take her." Arella whispered.
Raven handed the child to her mother, who turned around and handed her to Rita.
"I still can't believe we're grandmothers." Rita whispered before kissing the child's forehead.
Raven lowered her shirt, covering her exposed breast, and rose from the chair. Gar and Mento entered the room together.
"What do you think dad?" He asked his adoptive father.
Mento stared at the baby in Rita's arms.
"She has her mother's eyes." He replied. "I wonder what powers she's inherited."
"Oh Steve, is that all you can think of?" Rita softly chided him.
"Someone has to run the Doom Patrol after we retire." He chuckled.
-( scene break )-
In a dungeon on one of the swamp moons of Drenthax IV …
Two solitary figures sat on chairs, opposite each other, playing Chess.
Adam Cutler moved his Knight.
His opponent protested in a voice that sounded like a cow with flatulence.
"I didn't cheat; you're just a lousy Chess player."
The Schlurch protested again, making even more flatulent sounds.
"It's not my fault you never played chess before, Glgrdsklechhh. If you want some other activity, you can ask her."
As if on cue, the cell door opened and Blackfire entered the dismal cell.
"If it isn't my two hubbies. Are you having fun playing together?"
The green ooze monster protested loudly, and Cutler pinched his nose.
"Must you provoke him? He can stink up the place when he gets upset! And you know that since you were married to him when had our little ceremony, it makes our marriage null and void.
"Not here it doesn't." She grinned evilly. "The Grand Schlurch, that being me, is allowed to have as many spouses as she desires."
Glgrdsklechhh protested again with more flatulence.
"Oh, don't be such a sore loser, hubby. You did offer me your hand when I was banished by my sister, and you were overjoyed when I reconsidered later and accepted. You should have known I would double cross you and take over Drenthax."
"You're a real piece of work Blackfire, so do you just marry anyone that is convenient for your plan of galactic conquest."
"Sure … why not?" She laughed.
"Why are you keeping us here? You can't possibly like either of us as a mate."
Blackfire sauntered over the Cutler, and sat down next to him.
"That goes without saying; I want someone else, someone more … desirable. And the two of you are going to help me catch him."
"And you'll let us go after that?"
She smiled slyly.
"Sure, why not?"
Cutler brightened upon hearing the vague promise.
"So, who is it that you really want?"
Blackfire rose from her chair and walked back to the cell door, which was guarded by two Tamaranian soldiers.
"Isn't it obvious?"
"When it comes to you, nothing is."
"I want my brother-in-law."
TO BE CONTINUED?
No promises on a part 2. In my experience, mine always stink, but who knows?
As for what's next on my plate, I have two unfinished stories: 8 Years Later and Deathstroke the Terminator. Let me know which one you would prefer that I finish first.