Disclaimer: Teen Titans © DC / Warner Bros. - Full disclaimer on my profile.
Summary: "Come on, fishsticks, you'll love it." Roy takes Garth out to a Christmas party. Garth becomes uncomfortable very quickly. / Oneshot; Spaqua; for the Tumblr Teen Titans Secret Santa. Merry (late) Christmas, Kristen!
A/N: Aha, so, I entered myself into the TT Secret Santa 2012 (ttsecretsanta dot tumblr dot com), and I was lucky enough to get the lovely Kristen (a.k.a. teenttitansforever dot tumblr dot com / aqualad-garth dot tumblr dot com). (Sidenote: I could not stop watching robinluvzbatgirl's "Plan B" Spaqua AMV whilst writing this. Why is she so talented?)
Merry (late) Christmas, Kristalad. I wholeheartedly apologise for the bastardisation of Speedy and Aqualad's characters. I'm sorry that this is so late (it's not even 2012 anymore) and that it's not as Christmassy as I'd hoped it would be. Wow, I'm bad at picking titles. British spellings and words used.
Warnings: Underage drinking. Also, Roy.
Prompt: "Speedy and Aqualad spending Christmas together."
Mistletoe and Wine
Garth pushed the sunglasses back onto the bridge of his nose. He still wasn't quite sure why Roy had insisted on dark glasses ("Isn't this party at night?"), rationalising that something as small as disguising his (admittedly distinctive) eyes wouldn't help very much in hiding his secret identity (not every hero wore a mask), but upon voicing these concerns to Roy, the redhead had just laughed and said: "Ever met Clark Kent?"
"Uh, who are these people again?"
Roy shrugged, tucking his cold hands loosely into the pockets of his jeans to keep them from the mercy of the air's wintery bite as he and his teammate walked through one of Steel City's more pleasant suburban areas. He and Garth were out of their superhero attire, which was a rare occasion nowadays (even rarer for Garth, who often opted for his blue wetsuit even when he had more freedom of choice). Roy's hair was held into a state of carefully-arranged disarray by at least half a tub of hairgel and he wore a black messenger bag slung across him, though Garth had no idea what it held. "Just a few friends." Garth shot him a sidelong, scathing look. "Friendly acquaintances, then." Another look. Roy huffed and threw up his hands. "Okay. They're three girls who bumped into me on the street the other day and recognised me."
Garth turned his head away and pressed his lips together. Roy, misinterpreting, slung his arm around Garth's shoulders and grinned. "Come on, fishsticks, you'll love it. We'll be fine. Trust me."
"Why wouldn't I trust your judgement? You're only taking us to a Christmas party full of complete strangers," Garth deadpanned.
"It's how you meet people. Not that you, Karen and the pipsqueaks aren't good company, but it doesn't hurt to talk to people outside of the Tower every now and again. This is it," Roy said suddenly, pulling Garth to a halt outside of a fairly modest-looking two-storey house . Roy produced a slip of paper from his pocket and glanced at it. "Yup, this is the right address. Let's get inside, it's freezing out here."
The person to answer the door was a girl of about their age, with a false sprig of holly tucked behind her ear and gold-and-red makeup applied liberally to her eyes and mouth; when she saw them (or, more specifically, Roy), her large, brown eyes lit up. She practically squealed, throwing her arms around Roy's neck in a move that surprised yet didn't dissuade Roy, but, in Garth's humble opinion, was entirely too informal. Garth shifted uncomfortably beside Roy and the girl as behind her, down the hallway, a warm glow and the sound of festivity drifted towards them. Tinsel was draped along the staircase and through a doorway, Garth glimpsed a silver-and-purple Christmas tree.
"You came!" the girl exclaimed. "Omigosh, you came! I thought you'd be too busy, you're so -" Roy cleared his throat. The girl paused, then abruptly pulled away, flushing crimson. "Sorry! It's just - I'm Heather. From yesterday. I don't know if you remember me - of course you do, sorry, you're here, aren't you? But - thank you for coming!"
Roy offered her one of his patented, disarming smiles; Garth crossed his arms and turned his eyes away. "Hey, it's no problem," Roy reassured her, reaching into his messenger bag. "And I figured, since you were nice enough to invite me, I should probably bring something..."
Heather gasped as Roy produced a bottle of wine - real wine, vintage if the label was any indication. Garth's eyes bugged. "Alcohol?" he said sharply, and for the first time Heather seemed to notice Garth, biting her lip and furrowing her brow as if trying to place him. Roy rolled his eyes and passed the bottle to a grateful Heather.
"Relax, it's Christmas."
"It's December twenty-second."
"Close enough. Don't mind Garth," Roy added to Heather, "he's just a bit of a stick-in-the-mud. I hope it's okay that he came. Mind if we come in?"
"S-sure! This way."
Garth and Roy followed behind her. Garth sneaked a glance at Roy and whispered, "'Stick-in-the-mud'...?"
"Would you prefer 'life of the fishbowl'?" Roy whispered back.
Before Garth could come up with an appropriately indignant response, they were in Heather's living room. Even through Garth's sunglasses, the glare of the strings of flashing lights was evident, reflected by yet more tinsel, which hung from almost every available surface - the lights (which were turned low); the windowsill; the table laid with bowls of party food and dip; the fireplace. More mistletoe had been suspended from the ceiling. A stereo pumped out some big band rendition of "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree", but most of the guests - at least twenty-five of them, Garth would estimate - were simply milling about between the living room and the kitchen attached, standing or sitting on the sofa, talking and laughing with tall glasses of drink in their hands. Two girls in red, fur-lined dresses had broken away from a gaggle of friends to sway to the music, laughing and generally acting barely sober enough to stand.
Upon their entrance, the guests turned in their direction. Garth shifted uncomfortably under the scrutiny of so many strangers. Heather cleared her throat. "E-everyone, this is Roy Harper, and..." - she glanced in Garth's direction - "...his friend, Gary."
Garth's jaw virtually fell off - but nobody noticed, because the crowd was cheering and raising their glasses to Roy's arrival and many girls (as well as several boys) were busy muffling fangirlish squeals.
Roy, meanwhile, was grappling with peals of laughter at Garth's expense behind his hand. Garth shot him a dirty look, but Roy just grinned at him wickedly and spoke to the crowd: "Thanks for letting me and Gary come. Can't think of a better way to spend Christmas."
"December twenty-second..." Garth muttered darkly. He grabbed Roy's arm as people returned their attention to the music or the drink or the party food. "Gary? Really?"
"Geez, will you relax?"
Garth cocked an eyebrow. "Hm. Whatever you say, Robin."
"Now that's a low blow."
"Roo-oy!" The two dancing girls had come over. Giggling, one nudged the other, who then took Roy's elbow and blinked up at him with wide eyes, rimmed by silver eyeliner. "Why don't you come sit with us? We'd love to learn all about you..."
Finally, Roy seemed to falter. "Uh..." he said noncommittally, and looked back to Garth for help.
Garth could have laughed. Nevertheless, he was torn for a moment - on the one hand, Roy was the only person he knew at this party and he wasn't sure how he'd handle loitering awkwardly in the corner, alone, for the evening. Besides which, he kept on experiencing that same, persistent if resigned annoyance when he looked at her hand on his elbow, like a gnat that refused to be waved away.
On the other hand...
Garth smirked, and some hope in Roy's eyes flickered and died. "Roy would love to," Garth said earnestly, giving his friend a helpful push towards the girls, who promptly began to drag him away.
"I will eat all your friends," Roy hissed. Garth waved.
It wasn't long before he began to regret it.
After throwing Roy to the metaphorical wolves (not that the bastard wouldn't probably find a way to twist the situation to his advantage somehow), Garth had - predictably - taken to hovering beside the wall in true wallflower fashion. After half an hour of feeling ignored enough to be insulted but not invisible enough to not attract unwanted attention, he retreated to the kitchen in the hope that he wouldn't feel so much like a third wheel there.
No such luck. The music was quieter here but ten other guests also occupied it, jostling for space and refreshments and creating a shifting maze of bodies. Garth elbowed his way to the stools lining the back of the room, poured himself a glass of lemonade (he'd seen Roy drunk before, and didn't exactly desire to end up in the same state of insensibility) and tried to melt into the black-and-white wall tiles.
Somehow, this plan had backfired and two hours in he'd ended up flanked on either side by Heather and her redheaded friend. Funny how life works, sometimes.
The redhead (Jessica?) leaned her head against Garth's shoulder; she swirled the contents of her drink lazily with a decorative stirrer as she said, "So, you're Roy Harper's friend. Does that mean you're rich too, or...?"
Garth shifted uncomfortably, holding his cup with two hands. If Jessica was receiving the message of Please Don't Invade My Personal Space, she wasn't listening. "I don't -"
"Jessica," Heather said. Jessica rolled her eyes. Heather gave Garth a small, apologetic smile, then averted her eyes. "Sorry, Gary."
"It's Garth, actually. But thanks."
Heather's eyes widened; the blood rushed to her face. "Oh my god, I'm s-sorry, I -"
"It's okay. I get it all the time," Garth was quick to reassure her, even though he didn't.
Jessica snorted. "'Garth'? Weird name. What is it, Scottish? Asian? You look Asian. Are Asians allowed to have hippy hair?"
Garth quietly sipped his lemonade, craving the solitude of his underwater cave for the first time in months. Heather was nice enough - really nice, in fact - but he'd much rather be at the Tower right now, or perhaps unwinding in the ocean.
Jessica harrumphed - and suddenly she was reaching for his glasses. Garth jerked back in his surprise, almost dropping his cup. Jessica raised her eyebrows at him, her expression scathing. "Why are you wearing those? It's night."
Garth mumbled something vague about an eye condition as he attempted to extricate himself from the two girls without spilling his drink. "'Scuse me," he mumbled, retreating. The sound of Heather quietly berating Jessica was quickly swallowed by the festive warblings of Mariah Carey, and then -
The guests emitted a collective yelp, hopping in unison in a way that was almost comedic. Garth paused.
Garth hurried to the doorway and saw the cause of the noise. Shards of glass lay around Roy's feet (they looked suspiciously like the remnants of the vintage wine bottle that Roy had bought earlier). Roy himself was red-faced and seemed disoriented and surly, arms crossed in a childish manner. Behind him, the two girls were barely managing to conceal their laughter.
"Drink's gone," Roy slurred sullenly. He raised his eyes to Garth's - and then broke out into a grin, his mood performing a complete one-eighty.
"GARRRRTH!" Before Garth could react, Roy had stumbled over to him and flung an arm around his neck, almost dragging Garth to the floor. "Great party, riiiight? Y'gotta try the 'cohol!"
By now, the two girls weren't the only ones laughing. Muscles jumped in Garth's jaw as he fought a smile and grabbed Roy's torso to keep him from tumbling to the floor. "Roy, how much did you drink?"
"Not 'nuff. D'you get taller?" Roy blinked owlishly upwards; his grin widened. "Heeeey, mistletoe!"
"Uh, maybe we should take you back. Heather, could you call a - mphhh!"
Garth's words were muffled when Roy suddenly lurched upwards, their noses colliding, and assaulted Garth's mouth with his own. Garth's eyes widened behind his glasses, his body freezing in place; the air was sucked out of the room, taking all noise with it, suspending Garth and Roy in a vacuum. Roy's teeth clacked noisily against his, and somehow the taste of alcohol on Roy's breath failed to bother him.
When Roy pulled away, he slumped against Garth and sighed. "'Ways wanted t'do that..."
Garth was still in shock, mouth hanging open. After a moment of pregnant silence, Garth was suddenly and acutely aware that every other guest in the room was fixing the two with the same expression. Flushing deep crimson, Garth looped his arm around Roy's torso and stammered, "I-I-I can - we don't need a cab, just - I-I'll show us out."
(As Garth dragged Roy out to the hallway as fast as Roy's dead weight would allow, he heard, very distinctly, one of the dancing girls not-so-quietly whisper that "it's always the good-looking ones.")
The chill air outside was even sharper than before. Admittedly, Roy was warm, but right now Garth wanted to (or wanted to want to) think about anything but Roy's close proximity and, really, he was still a little pissed off that Roy had embarrassed the both of them and caused Garth's hasty retreat.
But why? Because he was drunk, of course. Roy would...Roy would never do that if he were sober. Ever. He and Garth were friends and just that. Roy probably wouldn't even remember it in the morning, and Garth certainly wasn't going to be the one to remind him.
"Xaf'noir," Garth cursed quietly.
"Huh...?" Roy stirred, still being half-dragged along the pavement. "Shit, Garth, 's freezing."
Garth huffed, keeping his eyes forward. He was having trouble looking Roy in the eye at the moment. "Look, do you at least have a phone?"
Orin... "Can you get it out then?"
"Y'wannit so much, you get it."
Garth closed his eyes briefly. He reached in Roy's deep back pocket as swiftly as he could, grateful for the darkness hiding the colour in his cheeks, and called a cab. He put Roy's phone back into his own pocket, propped Roy up against the picket fence in front of some sleeping two-storey house and shivered, pulling his jacket more tightly around him. As cold and murky as the sea could be, he didn't appreciate being stranded outside during December and the sunglasses weren't exactly enhancing his eyesight.
And now it was beginning to snow. Joy.
"You're a real piece of work, you know that?" Garth muttered.
"Hey! I, I'll have you know that I -"
Roy braced himself against the picket fence, pushing himself vaguely upright and lifting his head proudly.
"- I am a Queen."
...Garth wanted to stay annoyed at Roy. Really, he did. But it was difficult when the bastard was grinning such a stupidly large grin and making such idiotic jokes, and it didn't take long for Garth's stiff expression to crack. He turned away from Roy to hide his smile.
"Hey, c'mon, lighten up. It's Chrissmassss!"
"Y'still hung up on that? Hey, look at me."
Garth hesitated, then turned - to find Roy's nose virtually bumping his. Roy's blue eyes were fixed on his sunglasses so intently that for a moment Garth thought they would burn holes through the shades, his brow furrowed. Taken aback, Garth just blinked as Roy reached for his sunglasses. Unlike before, Garth let them be removed (it's not like they had an audience) and Roy's blissful expression when he could see Garth's eyes undisguised caused a strange, fluttering sensation in the pit of his stomach.
"'S better." Roy sounded drowsy now, leaning on Garth for support; Garth automatically put Roy's arm over his shoulders. "You're a great guy, Garth. I'ma get you a new fishbowl for Chrissmas..."
Always with the fish jokes. But Roy sounded sincere enough when he'd said it so Garth decided to let it slide, instead watching snowflakes fall gently to settle on the streets, reflecting the yellow glare of the streetlamps.
Eh, why not? It's Christmas.
"Merry Christmas, Roy."
A/N: (I figured that Garth might slip into his native tongue every now and again.)
Constructive criticism always welcome! Please, please point out typos I've missed. I seem to make far too many of them.