AN: I thought I should tell you guys that this is based on Season 1 continuity with Season 2 characters/members. For example, Blue Beetle is here and bluer than ever, but Kaldur isn't evil.
Speaking of whom, I bawled like a baby during Before the Dawn.
"M'gann, what have you done?"
Yes, M'gann e_e Superboy told you so!
Anyway, read on, followers! (...and others.)
The moment Raven began her training was the moment Gar realised he was all kinds of wrong about her.
What he once believed to be a dainty creature was, in reality, a deathly creation. She fought with the same elegance that she spoke but on a grander scale, a scale in which she could hold in her palm and crush. The warped black was cold on his skin and it wasn't even touching him.
No, it was Nightwing that she was facing off. Even when he went easy on people there was a tendency for the opponent to lose. Raven, however, was doing a pretty good job thus far, avoiding anything and everything. Gar watched her features, aware they it didn't appear to be changing in expression at all. With that said, her hood held an unpiercable shadow over her face, leaving only the whites of her eyes visible. She was a lethal statue of a girl who was throwing dark energy, letting it swoop across the floor of the room and forcing Nightwing to get distracted with flips and jumps. If the boy was right, then it seemed Raven wasn't trying to hurt their ex-leader at all. It was like she was trying to trap him instead.
Then something shocking happened.
Bart's hand, covered in cheesy flavouring, paused mid-dip into his chip packet. "No way."
The power that had enveloped his wrists and knees were drawn to the ground, bringing Nightwing with them. Gloved fists flattened, floppy, black hair falling forward with his head as he submitted.
Gar had never been one to catch onto things easily. This was proven further as he failed to comprehend the silence as one of fear rather than of awe. He let out a loud whoop of "Go Rae!"
M'gann shook her head at him.
Raven lowered herself to the ground and released the man, offering her hand. He took it, grinning. Raven pulled him up.
"You have pretty precise control, Raven," Nightwing told her. "All you have to work on is attacking your opponent rather than blocking and shielding."
She bowed her head, the cloak's hood fell back. "My apologies, Nightwing. Where I come from, even the smallest act of violence will have you exiled. I've only recently learnt to use my powers on others, but harming them is still a difficulty."
Looks like someone won't be going on missions.
Gar's ears twitched in agitation at the delighted tone of M'gann's inner voice.
Cut her a break, sis! Jeez, why do you have to be so mean? he shot back.
Her auburn eyes widened at his defensiveness.
Nightwing looked their way as a low growl slipped from the green teenager's throat, before redirecting his attention back to the matter at hand. "We could train privately sometime, if it makes you more comfortable."
"Thank you," she said, watching as the crowd broke away in chunks and headed in different directions.
"I'm just sayin', did you see the way she moved?" The ginger-haired boy shook his head, a smile on his lips and a sly look on his face. "I would lick Thailand's spiciest hot sauce off of that!"
"Do girls actually like getting stuff licked off of them?" Jaime asked. "Spit is a little sticky and too much chocolate or whipped cream or whatever would make me sick. ... No, wasn't talking to you." The rest of the group (Roy in particular) sat, amused, as the tall boy continued arguing in a whisper that just wasn't going under their radar. "Who are you to decide who's in my league? ... No, I wasn't planning on going after her. ... I know I'm with Cassie! ... Because she's hot!"
"Come on, don't talk about her like that," Gar groaned.
Bart's eyes met Roy's in an instant, their intentions clear.
"Aw, has Gar got a big crush on Raven?"
"You know I do so qui-"
"She's been staying with us for a week, now," Roy stated. "Are saying that within the given time period you're the only one who hasn't thought about the things you'd do to her, given half the chance?"
Gar didn't want to become the laughing stock of their group—nope, that role was currently pinned to Tim—by telling them no, he hadn't thought about what he'd do to Raven. He'd thought about what he'd do for her, but most of the ideas weren't even sexual. Once or twice he'd wondered what it'd be like to lean in and take the girl into his arms and kiss her. The other times had been debates of whether or not it would be way too weird for him to bring dinner to her room or ask what she was reading or talk about the weather.
So he blushed.
Which, like fire to dynamite, set Roy's mouth into a grin.
"See? Told you."
He was in the middle of planning a rebuttal when the subject of their conversation appeared in the doorway.
"What's up, Raven?" Roy greeted, his face soft – it was an expression Gar recognized, much to his disappointment. "Nice job today at training!"
"Actually, that's what I've come to talk about," she said. Ever for her the tone was flat. "You all left in a state of fear, which I have narrowed down to be a side-effect of my powers. I am sorry, and I will learn to control these, or at the very least protect those who are not supposed to be on the receiving end."
"You practise on me anytime, sweetheart. I'm available." The grin on Roy's face held despite the way Raven's eyes lingered on Gar's.
Gar swallowed, his toes curling inside the shoes M'gann had bought him for his birthday.
Then she turned on her heal, tossing a thank you over her shoulder for the red-head.
"Go," he hissed at the youngest of the group, catching him off-guard. "We all saw that – now do something about it."
So he scrambled off the sofa and jogged into the hallway, followed by the fading cheers of his friends. A glimpse of the darkest blue stuck out to him as it flittered around the corner to his left. Gar sprinted in that direction, his hope heightening as he caught her scent. It was some kind of woodsy lavender.
However, when he reached the bend of the hallway where she should have been there was no sight of her. Thankful for the enhanced development of his nose and ability to put a smell to a face, he chased that instead.
It was only a few turns later when the trail went cold – not faded, just smack-bang dead. Gar sighed. It would be just his luck if she'd run off.
The teen did a one-eighty, scratching his neck. Damn, where had she-
"Why are you following me?"
Gar jumped just as instantly as Raven had been right there.
"Jeezus, Rae!" he cried. The loud outburst did nothing to soften the suspicious glower or the flat line of her pursed lips. "D-don't do that!"
"Why? Because you didn't want anyone to know you'd been following me?" The tone she used didn't match her face – calm. "I can sense you, just like you can sense me."
"I just wanted to..." Excuses—let alone lying—had never been one of his strong points. "...say that it's okay. About this morning, I mean. I don't think you scared anyone."
It was like all the shadows shrank back into their rightful corners.
"Your dishonesty has good intentions. However, the delivery needs work," she told him plainly.
His pulse quickened, the blood in his face throbbing hotly. "Okay, so it's not the reason I came here, but it's still true. I don't think anyone's too freaked about it."
She sighed, removing herself from his personal space and giving him the air to breathe properly again. "They may have made comments that lead you to believe they weren't afraid when they left, but I felt it."
"Felt what?" he asked.
"Everyone had a feeling in their gut that told them I was a silent predator, with the exception of you. You are a boy who is part animal – you have the ability to detect such dangers. " She stepped closer again. "So why aren't you afraid of me?"
Gar paused. Raven's breath had smelled so good as she spoke, and now he was really beginning to wonder what kissing her would be like, what sounds she would make if he pushed her against the wall of the hallway and licked her throat.
"I guess I pay attention to the intention and not the action," he chuckled nervously. "You just don't seem like you could hurt me."
Raven seemed to consider it, if the silence was anything to go by. "You're either very naïve or very stupid."
"Thanks." He cleared his throat. Roy's voice was in his head. "You haven't left the grounds since you got here. Don't you want to go and see the city, explore a little, have some fun?"
Raven retreated back into the depths of her hood. "I don't deserve to... have fun. Not with the trouble I've caused. Nightwing is right – I should be practising the control of my powers instead of wasting time," she replied.
"'Trouble'? You mean with M'gann? Don't sweat it – she never likes the newbies." He shrugged. "I think she just has a thing for the old Team and traditions and such. Getting Rocket in was almost the last straw from what I hear."
"I hardly think she treats everyone with the same chill I receive."
"Oh, you'd be surprised."
"It's a wonder she makes any friends, then."
"Sure is." He went to pat her reassuringly on the shoulder, but reconsidered it when she watched his hand with cautious eyes. "Just don't let her deter you from getting to know everyone else. We're a nice group."
Raven bowed her head. "I will keep your words in mind, Garfield. Thank you."
M'gann stood tall and strong, each step prouder than the last. Once Artemis had quit, she'd become top girl in Mount Justice, and, no matter what Cassie or Batgirl had to say about it, that was how the foodchain was going to stay.
The TV from the main room drowned out her footsteps, boys' laughter nearly smothering her voice.
The room suddenly fell silent as the screen turned black.
"M'gann, honey, you know I love you, but turning the Wii off—however low-tech it is—could be considered cruelty by some," Bart stated before she had the chance to speak again. "Anyway, you've missed Gar by about a minute."
"I'm not here for Gar. I want to talk to you."
Bart sighed. "Alright, guys, s'ya later."
"You know the history of the Team from the future, right?"
Bart secured his hands behind his head with a modest shrug. "I've done my research."
M'gann planted both hands on the table. "I need to know about Raven."
The hesitation seemed a lot longer than it really was.
"What about her?"
"No," he replied, standing. "You know I don't do that, M'gann. It could screw a whole lotta things up and I don't want to be responsible for that."
The girl crossed her green arms, well aware that the movement pushed her breasts together. "I overheard you the other day telling Roy how several celebrities die. How is this any different?"
"Because it won't affect him! Don't you get it?" He pushed his palms out to her. "I'm not giving you info on Raven or anyone on the Team, alright? We've been through this!"
M'gann relented then, but not to him – no, she had a new tactic.
For a woman of an Earth age of mid-twenties, shape-shifting abilities gave her a new anti-aging advantage that no supermodel or actress could even attempt to replicate. With this on her side, she'd chosen a look that would place her best cards on the table and let them play for her.
Throughout their conversation, M'gann knew Bart had been too preoccupied with either arguing or subtly checking out her cleavage (ultra-fast movement made it difficult to catch him) to notice her skirt had shrunk an inch. The alien sat on the wooden surface and crossed her legs, barely seeing the bob of the boy's Adam's apple.
"Bart, I'm always surprised that you think it through so thoroughly." Her tone wasn't dangerous on its own, but the teasing in her eyes made it to be considered anything but safe. "I thought you were more impulsive."
He realised half a second too late the invisible latch she had on his wrists, but struggled nonetheless until his hands met the desk, at either side of her butt. Crotch pressed to her bare knee, a blush rose on his tan cheeks as her face neared his.
"Earn your name, Impulse," she whispered.
The tight feeling of his throat was a stark contrast to the hollow space of his lungs as she changed the pressure with kneading movements. Now this was the kind of trouble he wanted to avoid no matter how delicious she looked.
Suddenly the door burst open, giving M'gann the momentary distraction Bart needed to jump back as Cassie burst through.
The neckline of M'gann's top crept up as the hem of her shirt went down. "Yes, Wonder Girl?"
The blonde gave them both equally inquisitive glances before telling them "Gar's in the sick bay with a nosebleed. It sounds stupid, but there's a lot of it – he was out like a light when I left."
"What's the cause?" M'gann asked, standing.
Cassie raised both hands. "I don't know – he was with Raven and she says it just happened."
That was all M'gann needed to hear.
She was in the air, soaring through the doorway and down the hall, when the younger girl turned to Bart;
"What were you guys doing? It looked pretty cosy, if you don't mind me saying, and then you leapt back when I came in."
Don't tell her – it'll be our little secret.
"N-nothing," Bart answered hastily. "Just asking how Gar was and stuff."
Cassie nodded. "He seems pretty smitten with Raven, doesn't he? I was thinking about asking her out for coffee if she wants to – the other girls don't really seem too enthusiastic to hang with her."
Bart heard her plans of a double-date with Jaime and Gar, though that wasn't to say he was listening.
He would never understand Martians.