Garfield looked around, confused at his surroundings. It was home, but it wasn't. He saw his house, but he also saw a mountain. He saw his room, but another that felt like it was his too. He couldn't find monkey, but he did find a wolf. It didn't make sense, and it made him mad that it didn't make sense.
"Mom!" He called, fighting against the jumble of images to the one thing that anchored him. "Mom, where are you?" He kept calling, running from room to room, around the house. A few times he would catch wisps, the flutter of her hair around the corner that shifted from wood to metal, a laugh that was familiar but somehow different, but he never could quite find her. "You're supposed to be here! You were supposed to come back!" He couldn't help the spark of anger that crept into his voice. He had trusted his parents to come get him and they still weren't there- he'd talk however he wanted! (because his mom would come and reprimand him, she wouldn't let him get away with that tone.)
"Mommy! I'm here! You have to come back, mom!"
Garfield jerked awake, his legs spasming against the slightly rough rug at the sound of his own bark. He rolled into a sitting position, trying to calm his pounding heart. What had happened? Where was he? Where was he? When did Billy-
Oh, Billy. Billy was the kid that brought to his home- this was Billy's room.
They had gotten there later at night, and now he could see better with what appeared to be the afternoon sun streaming in. Billy didn't have a lot of things, even less that Gar had way in the savannah. His bed was old, but the Superman logo patterned sheets were newer and bunched haphazardly across the matress, as well as the light on his bed stand. He had some scattered pieces of old homework crumpled in corners, and a few tell tale doodles of different super heroes, but there wasn't a desk for him to draw them on. He could smell dirty kid clothes in the nearby laundry basket and a few pieces lying over the floor, as well as some chocolate stashed under his bed.
I don't remember even falling asleep… Gar had followed Billy home- and enduring being called 'Greenie' had all been worth it the moment the kid opened his fridge and took out left over nachos. Garfield hadn't eaten so good in what felt like forever. After Billy had let him eat, he had quickly showed Garfield his room and grabbed a wash cloth. Like any boy, Gar had tried to get out of the semi-bath, but even he had to admit his time in the streets had made him stinky. Begrudgingly, he had stayed still for most of the torture until Billy felt like he 'wasn't going to give them away by his smell'. He had to admit- his short haired fur did feel a lot nicer now.
Garfield's ears perked at the sound of a door opening in the distance, followed by footsteps. They were the heavier tread of an adult- Billy's uncle? "Don't let him hear you, Greenie." The boy's words echoed back- after he had started in on the nachos. "Remember, Uncle Dudley will be angry at us both if he sees you- since I can't have pets."
Well, I'm not really a pet. Hearing the steps echo closer, Gar took the initiative to play it safe and wiggled under the bed, huddling his tail close to his body and hoping for the best. A lighter pair was now catching up to the big steps, but not before they reached the door and stepped inside, making the voices more discernible.
"…re seems like your rather jumpy, Billy. The last time you were this excited to keep me away from your room, you had taken the entire container of cookie dough." Gar watched as a pair of old tennis shoes stepped in, keeping quiet as the man too, became silent. "Billy, get in here."
Gar's heart sped up. Did he see him? How could he? How did he know? Billy wasn't helping, growing instantly as nervous as Gar felt. "L-listen Uncle Dudley, I remember what you said, but I just couldn't-"
"Couldn't what?" Dudley's voice raised incredulously. "Find time to clean your room? I told you to take care of it last week! Missions haven't been that frequent!"
"…Right, my- well, I guess I've been putting it off…"
"I'll say, I think it's starting to smell, too. Like you dragged in some back alley trash."
"I-I'll take care of it right now! I'll clean everything for the rest of the evening!"
"Yes you will, but that doesn't mean you'll escape being in trouble. Tell your group that you can't make it to that magician girl's party- not until you've proven to be more responsible."
"Aw man, but she was going to give us a performance!"
"She can perform for the kids who do as their told, Billy. Now get started on this room."
"Yes, sir." Garfield could tell Billy was really disappointed about missing the party, and felt bad. He was lying to his family to keep Gar safe, after all. I'll make it up to him- I'll have mom take us to a talent show! She'll be so happy he helped, both her and dad will have to say yes!
He watched as the bigger shoes tread away from the bed, out of the room and into where he knew the living room was located. Billy's smaller shoes turned and shut the door behind him, but didn't speak up until both could hear the TV turning on to the news channel. "Greenie?"
Taking that as a sign it was safe, Garfield, wriggled his way out from under the bed to come out in front of the black haired boy, who looked instantly relieved and happier than he had sounded. "Oh boy! You're sure a smart dog- I thought for sure when Dudley got to my room first that he would have found you!" Billy dropped to his knees, energetically scratching behind Gar's ears in appreciation- who in turn thumped his happy tail against the floor. "I'm so glad you're okay! Did you sleep well? Are you hungry? You didn't eat my chocolate stash, did you?"
Gar yipped in the negative, but curled into himself as Billy's face went a little paler and he brought his finger to his lips. The green pup wagged his tail on the floor apologetically- it was easy to forget with Billy that the like minded kid couldn't understand him.
Seeing the dog's expression, Billy let out a quiet laugh. "You know Greenie, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you could understand me completely!" He paused, suddenly mulling it over, before looking down on the little figure skeptically. "You… can't understand me… right?"
Should he tell him? Garfield did owe him the truth after all- Billy had been kinder than anyone else he'd met in the last few days- human or animal. And he still had to find a way to return to Rita and Stan, to somehow get back to the people that could help him find his real family again. Still, though. Garfield thought back to when he had revealed himself as a human- a green human. Would Billy's smile turn to a look of disgust like that other boy's? Would he be afraid, angry that Garfield didn't tell him right away. No, no, Garfield curled into himself slightly and whimpered at the thought of being alone again- being rejected again. I will tell him- I will! But not now, not until I can find my family and Rita…
Billy, who had been watching, saw the action and dropped his suspicions. "Poor little guy- you're still hungry, huh Greenie?" He glanced back to his door. "Well, I can't get food just yet- we'll need to wait until Uncle Dudley starts watching The Price is Right, he'll be pretty distracted then. For now- I better clean my room."
Garfield, not knowing what else to do, trailed after Billy as he walked up and down the room, sniffing at the things he picked up and taking note of where they were put away. Eventually, he grew bored though, and went back to the rug to lie down until Billy finished most of his work. He chattered eagerly to Gar, obviously not expecting answers, but filling in the dog on how his day went and what things he did. School didn't sound particularly fun- which disappointed Garfield, since he had only ever been homeschooled, but he thought school would be more like how it was on his mom's old show. He'd never considered there would be bullies who didn't get justice, or teachers who were mean just because.
"-and then I had to go save Miss Lacey, because Professor Sivana had come up with this scheme to use all the hand held mirrors in the cities to hypnotize people to give him whatever he wanted, and Miss Lacey had tried to stop him. She's not nearly as scary though once you get the weapon out of her hand, so I just handed her over to the authorities and made it back to Math class just in time!"
Gar stared incredulously as Billy continued on picking things up, unaware of the impact his statement made. The green child looked from the perky, normal appearing boy who lived in Fawcett City to the numerous superhero drawings that were now being put in haphazard piles. Different poses of heroes with them in different places, a lot of them hanging out with Shazam in his home city. Garfield looked back to Billy, amazed.
This kid had such a cool imagination! Garfield had always pretended after meeting the young heroes that they'd come back to hang out, maybe take him out on missions where he'd use his animal expertise- and then later have him use his shape shifting abilities. Apparently Billy wanted the same thing.
That's it! Garfield thought. Once I can get to mom and dad, I'll try to get a hold of M'gann, and her and her friends can meet Billy- he'd love that!
"Whatcha thinking about, Greenie?" Billy looked down with his honest blue eyes. It appeared most of his room was as clean as it could get.
Haha, nothing~ Garfield chose to stay quiet, recalling the adult just outside the door, and wagged his tail happily at his plan to introduce Billy to a real superhero.
"Boy, I wish I could talk to animals, I'd bet you'd be a lot of fun to talk with. Actually, I might introduce you to some of my friends later. They're pretty cool- and one might even be able to help you! She's great with all sorts of creatures." Billy smiled, and Gar smiled back- each oblivious to the irony of their own thoughts.
Not much more could be said, as Dudley called out for Billy to come to dinner. After the boy quickly shooed the dog behind the bed, he opened the door and closed it quickly. Gar passed the time by pawing through some of the more interesting things Billy had forgotten under the bed, though avoiding the chocolate stash out of polite respect for his fellow kid.
Later, when he heard the theme for 'The Price is Right' start, Billy slipped back into the room, a half-eaten sandwich and a container of ham in hand. Smiling, he held it out and let Gar struggle through a bite, ripping off pieces and shamelessly snapping up whatever fell on the ground. "Sorry it took so long Greenie, but I managed to swipe the ham without him noticing! I'll swing by the cave later and see if I can take some of theirs to replace it, so don't worry about eating it!"
The Cave, huh? Weird name for a grocery store.
"Or, since they did give me a card for it, I can just have Shazam pick some up!" Billy's eyes twinkled. "He's really good with the lady at the register; I bet he could get me a discount too!"
Gar froze mid bite of his ham. He looked up at the kid incredulously. Did he… say… he knew Shazam? Was this another story he came up with? But looking up at the kid as he kept muttering to himself, Garfield realized that wasn't the case. Billy was serious. He knew the only super in this city! He could help!
But in order to help, he'd need to know Gar was in trouble.
The dog looked up at the young boy, a sudden fear swelling in his chest. This was his chance, his opportunity to get the help he needed. Billy might be scared, but that was okay, just so long as Billy could help him, he'd do whatever he could to make it up to the kid later. But what if he doesn't like me?
What if he hates me because I'm green?
No, no. He couldn't think like that. Even if Billy Batson did hate him, he had to try. Lives were on the line!
"Greenie, you okay? Are you full already?" Billy looked down from where he had propped himself on the bed, eyes furrowed in concern.
Do it, you have to ask- you have to find help, do it! Fearing what would happen, he nonetheless backed up, giving himself space on the old floor while the curious child looked on. He let himself think of the feeling of five fingers, of non furry arms and square teeth. Ignoring his nerves and fears, he recalled hair swishing only on his head, legs that held him straight. After a moment though, it became clear something was wrong.
Very, very wrong.
He thought harder, fear growing as he frantically fought for the image, the feeling, the sensation to become reality, but still nothing. He opened his eyes in dismayed shock, not believing the horrible truth.
Garfield couldn't turn back.
Eheheh, yes, after all this time, I have updated. I am so sorry its been awhile, but like I said before- this isn't my fic of main focus!
I want to reach out to the reviewer who requested I place them in as a character named Beast Girl who Gar falls for. Respectfully, I need to decline that request, due to decisions already made on how this plot is going to play out. But I highly recommend you writer you own story with the idea if that is what you want to read! Its why I write most of my work!
Lastly, while it is still some way off, I would like to notify that the 100th reviewer for this story will get to earn a special request to be put in for the story- as long as it does not significantly affect the plot line (and no OCs). So keep your thinking caps on for that when the time comes!
Coming up next- Gar panics as a dog, and the team receive some horrible news.