4725/Another You: The Story So Far

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Another You: The Story So Far
Date of Scene: 14 January 2021
Location: Labs - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Terry gets Kian caught up on everything that has happened, and they make plans for everything that is about to happen. More or less.
Cast of Characters: Terry O'Neil, Kian, Gar Logan

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    It really wasn't Terry's intention to keep Kian in the dark—at least, not consciously.  When Vorpal and Diana went to try to find out the truth, the plan had been to tell Kian immediately of any findings.  Clearly, Terry had underestimated what the sheer magnitude of what his collapse would be.  And then, in the agonizing hours leading to the search, he didn't want to cause Kian the anxiety of waiting… especially since he knew the bird-man would have never gone underwater.
    And then they found Gar and… well.  Things.
    The Rabbit Hole opens up and Vorpal, who is now sporting a bandage and a sling that weren't there before, appears, setting foot on the sandy floor.
    "This is Vorpal.  Portaling to another place, disregard and stop tracking me you pervs."  That was to the SHIELD comm, and then he cries out:
    "Kian!  News!"
    He hoped his friend would hear him.

Kian has posed:
    The birdman is not immediately evident.  That's not a surprise—he could be flying, or on a different part of the island… or might even have gotten tired of waiting and went in search of a more inhabited island where he could find out where he was and how to get back to his friends.
    Kían doesn't sit still very well, and while he knows the urgency of Terry's desire to keep him safe—he could feel it in his mind—Kían also knows he wants to help.
    Terry isn't kept waiting long.  Kían scoops him into the air from behind without warning.  Really, the view from above of serene island and cerulean water is quite beautiful.
    There's also a finite number of times one can see it without wanting desperately to see something else.
    The mental contact comes on immediately, almost too fast to follow.  {Gods and Goddesses, where have you been I've been worried sick!}  Kían's not using the safety carry—it's almost more of a death grip.  {Was the Gar we saw in the Tower really a fake, like we thought?  Have you found the real one yet?  Who else is duplicated?  You have to bring me back.  You have to bring me back now.  I have to know what's happening, I have to do something to help.}

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    The cat yelps as he's been carried off the ground.  "Careful—shoulder!" he says, pointing to his injury.  Of course Kian would immediately adjust his grip, but it doesn't change the fact that he's being suspended over the air… it's not really a threat, but he know there's agitation there.  {>Kian, take it easy… it was a fake Gar.  But the real one is back… but before I show you anything we need to set foot on solid ground.  Some of it is… hard.  But the good news is that Gar is alive and you can see him in just a bit.  I just need to fill you in on everything.}
    The Cheshire mind is virtually a shut oyster at this moment.  He doesn't want to share anything that might shock his friend… at least while his feet are dangling over an expanse of gorgeous water.

Kian has posed:
    {Shoulder—?}  Kían does not probe.  He can tell Terry is trying to hold his mind private, and he respects that.  But certainly enough information would pop up—purple cow or dancing duhón, take your pick—for Kían to be able to gather that Terry has gotten himself shot again.  {Lady Kiáre, what am I supposed to do with him?}
    That might have been a serious prayer.
    Kían returns them to the ground in short order, although he keeps a hand on Terry's arm, the one that doesn't have an injury.  {You cannot leave me out of the loop like this, Terry tavárik'h.  I know that I'm not a fighter, and I will never be.  But I'm not helpless, I'm not defenseless, and I'm not made of glass.  Everything on this planet is hard for me, so don't let that stop you from keeping me informed.}

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry O'Neil says, "I know… I know…" Terry says out loud, "There was just… there was something I didn't want to tell you until I knew… but here… let me show you.."
    Vorpal reaches over and takes Kian's hand, and it's VorpalVision time!  As a psychic raconteur, the Cheshire cat has a certain flair—a good amount of the story is told like a theatrical psychic trailer.  There is a reason for this, though.  It means that he gets to bypass showing Kian exactly what he saw in the video, and instead highlight his reaction to it so that Kian knows Vorpal saw something horrible, and that Gar experienced it, but the traumatizing details are hidden by tasteful editing.  Just because he has nightmares about it (which he still does), it doesn't mean his friend should, too.  This is followed by Harley's brilliant idea to summon the Aquapeople for a search, and their eventual finding of GarFish, and Gar's slow recovery… and the fact that he is missing a forearm and hand, indicating the brutal nature of the attack that Vorpal refused to show.
    Of course, Kian's skilled enough that, if he wanted to, he could try to wrest those details himself from Vorpal's reluctant hands, in which case he would find that Vorpal, unbeknownst even to himself, is surprisingly extremely resistant to mental manipulation.  If insisted upon, he will give Kian the images, reluctantly.  The mental showcase ends with Gar's current state—awake and aware, having had a conversation with Caitlin about regeneration strategies, and the potential of using Nadia's lab as a retreat.
    As an addendum, or an after-credits scene, is the scene that shows how Vorpal got that shoulder wound: trying to capture Gar's Doppelganger.  And the surprising appearance of his own doppelganger, and the very random and stray thought that Terry had when he first saw himself: 'Maybe I wouldn't look that bad in motorcycle gear.'
    Because, of course, it's Terry.
    "So Gar is awake… and I figured you'd want to see him…" he gestures, opening a Rabbit Hole leading straight to the lab.  This is accompanied by another sassy remark to SHIELD.
    "I'm going to go visit my boyfriend, so you peepin' toms are going to get exactly what you deserve if you persist."

Kian has posed:
    Terry's—or Vorpal's—resistance to mental manipulation goes untested.  Kían would never probe deeper than Terry (or anyone else) would want, that just wouldn't be decent.
    He does, however, insist on seeing all.
    It leaves him pale, unsurprisingly, and he breaks physical contact.  "The other, he iss not Gar.  I do not know what he iss.  I am sorry, Terry tavárik'h, that I did not force some sort of contac' with him when we firs' saw him.  I coul' have got us the trut' sooner, maybe you coul' haf found the real Gar sooner.  Yis, please, I woul' like to see him."
    He gives Terry an odd look for announcing his Rabbit Hole—that's new—and steps through.  Quietly, he asks, "Gar /tavárik'h/?"

Gar Logan has posed:
    A large tank sits in the middle of the lab.  Not far away is a twin bed, the one from Gar's quarters in the Tower.  There is also evidence of food nearby, whether waiting to be eaten or whatever remains following feeding time.  It is an otherwise normal, sterile lab, one of at least a few in the building.
    Within that tank is water that is constantly being filtered and refreshed to maintain certain levels of quality based on need, and sand has been brought in from the sea floor along with a few underwater plants to mimic the proper conditions.  The only abnormal additions are a bench or chair of some kind against one wall of the open-topped tank, and there's a small coral castle prominently seen.
    The tank also has an occupant: Beast Boy in the hybrid 'Amphibian Man' appearance he's been working on, like some mix of Creature from the Black Lagoon crossed with an Atlantean of a fishy nature, and we're not talking about trustworthiness here.  He's currently floating on his back, slowly treading water.  There are a few fins, and frills along the limbs, back, and head sway with the gentle motions in the water.  It's true: the left arm is just a stump a bit below the elbow.  The good thing is it's grown back from having been mauled above the elbow.
    As he hears his name, his head turns in the direction of the rabbit hole.  "Hmmm?"  The only thing he wears is some sort of black bike shorts.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Hey hon," Vorpal says, closing the Rabbit Hole behind him, and switching back to Terry after a consultation with his hand mirror.  "I brought Kian to see you…" he says, giving Gar a smile.  He approaches the tank and reaches out to touch Gar's hand.  Last night, as he snuggled into bed with Gar, he finally told his boyfriend everything that had led up to him getting shot—leaving nothing out, including Robin's interference… and hinting very strongly at where the redhead stood on killing another version of Gar.
    He also pointed out that Wonder Woman had punched him in the face to stop him from killing said version of Gar, so maybe she was up to something.  But he didn't pursue the discussion further, not wanting to tire Gar our while he was recovering.  There was plenty of time to discuss how to proceed coming up.

Kian has posed:
    Kían's mouth just hangs open, trying to get what he's seeing into his head without suffering a mental bluescreen.  He approaches slowly, until his three-fingered hand is pressed up against the glass, just… staring.  "It iss Gar—?" he asks, although not really expecting an answer.  He knows this is the correct Terry for himself, and he knows Donna can verify real from other.  Stupid question, really, and he answers it for himself: "It iss Gar tavárik'h."
    And then he's talking to himself, putting all the pieces together.  "Yis, iss make sense.  Gar can become Akiár, so if there iss a water species, he can become that, too.  It iss for healin' that, yis?" he asks, glancing for the first time at Gar's injured arm—and only very fleetingly.

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan's eyes, which are more rounded and blackened than usual in this form, shift as he turns toward one side.  The facial features, while markedly less human, retain just enough familiarity that someone who knows Gar can recognize a few things that confirm his identity.  Otherwise, he could probably pass for one of the more inhuman Atlanteans out there.
    "Hey, dork," he tells Terry, one of the things he's taken to calling him in the form of a retort.  It's meant to keep things light, a momentary bit of silliness in the midst of more serious matters.  The news of what happened when Vorpal set the trap that not only the other Gar responded to, but Robin as well, was taken quietly.  He didn't have much to offer in response aside from general worry, but finding out there were things about the doppelganger that weren't much different from his own past?  It was sobering, very sobering.  The Wonder Woman news drew a sniff of amusement, and it was filed away.  That wouldn't be forgotten.
    For now, it was Kian more in his line of sight after Gar takes up a spot on the bench so he can kneel on it and rest his arms across the top of the tank, having squeezed Terry's hand back.  His are webbed between the fingers.  "Once this is all done, I'm gonna have to really go swimming like this.  I feel… powerful in the water.  And yeah, it's me.  We're trying some things that might help me get the rest of this back faster."
    He gestures to the stump of an arm, and the smile he gives is a little forced, a little genuine, but still an effort to keep from thinking too much about things that will only weigh heavily on him.  "If not, they might make something for me and it'd be my first step toward becoming the next Cyborg.  You could call me Cybeast Boy, then."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Hey, goof—" is Terry's own reply, it's an exchange they're falling into rather easily.  "How about we stay optimistic for now, because rebranding is hell and you don't own the domain names?  The good news is that I've convinced mom not to give us more breakfast because we still have, like, two boxes left."
    He glances over at Kian.  "This is one hundred percent Gar.  We found him at the bottom of the sea hanging out with Ariel and Flounder and wait you're not going to get that reference.  Movie night tonight," he says after that particular choo choo thought train derailed.  "Harley and Kori and I were swimming about underwater, guided by Garth.  It was Harley's idea, too."
    Which goes to show you that Harley Quinn can have good ideas.  She had also been dueting little mermaid songs with Koriand'r over the comms.  Now he can look back and laugh.  At the moment, he was hard-pressed to smile.  "You're looking good, fishboy.  Do you want any snacks?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían makes his way to the edge of the tank.  "Harley has… an interestin' mind," he says, although that could mean almost anything.
    He peers into the water, and shivers, feathers fluffing out and then smoothing.  "I think maybe it iss like flyin', but with very thick air?" he asks, trying to build a frame of reference for something as mad as willingly submerging one's self.
    And also, he rests his hand, palm up, on the edge of the tank near Gar.  There is one way to be absolutely sure that a mistake hasn't been made.  What the right Gar can do, so can the wrong one, and he's accustomed to knowing things for himself, not relying on someone else's words when he can't reach their mind.  He assumes the right Gar would get the hint.
    And reflects on what being on Earth has done to his assumptions about others.  This planet is weird.

Gar Logan has posed:
    "I'm trying," Gar answers Terry's call for optimism.  "The dreams haven't been very good, though."  He leaves that sitting there, no need to elaborate on it.  "The food helps, at least."
    He lets Terry's explanation for how he was tracked down serve for him, but the revelation has him looking between them quietly.  "I thought I saw her there," he realizes, and it leaves him looking thoughtful for a time.  "I'll eat in a little bit."
    First things first.  With Kian there, he gives the Akiar some extra attention.  "I hope my other self didn't do anything bad to you, like try to cover you in barbeque sauce or something, because I'd totally act like I was gonna do that if I wanted to prank you."  Too close to home, there.  "But yeah, I dunno.  Maybe swimming is kind of like flying.  Anyone can swim with enough practice, but not just anyone can fly."
    He extends his webbed right hand, since that's the only one he's got right now, and contact is made.  Other Gar wouldn't have been so willing, unless it was meant to be a trap.
    It doesn't take long to verify this one's identity, or feel a little of what he felt when he was attacked, or experience what life was like as a starfish on the sea floor.
    Spoiler alert: it was boring.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Yeah… I know what you mean," Terry says in regards to the dreams.  "They'll get better.  You'll get through them and we'll be right here with you," he says, resting his hand by the side of the tank, letting Gar and Kian do the mind meld to verify the identity.
    He does NOT talk about the barbecue sauce.  "You should get a little more time to fishify… Kian and I can go talk on the rooftop."
    He reaches over to touch Gar's cheek.  He's doing his best to provide positive support for Gar and whenever the green boy needs to vent, or to talk, or to cry, there's always a Terry-shaped pillow available.  "I love you."

Kian has posed:
    The wave of relief as Kían realizes this is Gar and not the fake is intense, and the birdman withdraws his hand so as not to overwhelm his convalescing friend—although not until after getting a taste of being a starfish, or, unfortunately, of being mauled.  "I haf only seen him the one time," he explains.  "Terry move me to safety right away.  He did not do a good job of keeping me inform as to what was happenin', though.  I know he has had other thin's on his mind."
    He gives Gar's hand a squeeze, accompanied by a wave of relief and friendship.  "You mus' rest an' recover now.  Terry iss give good advice."  He adds, after a beat and with a smirk, "For once."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan nods.  "I know.  Once we find… the other me and deal with him," he says.  Don't think for a second he isn't formulating ways to win that fight that the other Gar (hopefully) won't even be ready for.  There won't be an ambush and a surprise again.
    "Things happened without warning.  Now we're gonna be prepared.  And I know you'll help, somehow," he explains to Kian, letting go after another moment or two.  There is relief in his thoughts, his body language, his expression.  "Yeah, I'm sleeping a lot in between eating and getting my strength back up."  Aquatic exercises are pretty good to do.
    There's a yawn, then he rubs the side of his face.  He's more scaly and shiny than not, and the frills and fins create a more exotic appearance.  "I'll see you again real soon.  You guys go talk.  I love both of you."  A hand comes up to ruffle Terry's hair, but not before cupping some more water in to dump over his head.  Less then what he splashed him with the first time, though.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry smirks.  "Man, I am going to frame those words and put them over my bed, I don't hear those that often," Terry jokes when Kian compliments him on his advice, and then he acks when he gets soaked by Gar.  Brushing some wet hair out of his face, he smirks.  "You only get away with that because you're adorable.  Now get your rest or I'll dump crabs in the aquarium."
    He grins and blows Gar a kiss, and starts heading for the elevator, patting Kian's arm.  "I'll see you on the rooftop."  Knowing that the bird boy would take the shaft and that Terry, in his human form, would have to take the elevator.  It was an unofficial race—one that Terry would lose, because wings are faster than elevators.  Most elevators.

Kian has posed:
    Kían does not blow a kiss—that's a custom they don't have—but he does bow slightly, careful not to whack anything or anyone with his wings.
    Once on the roof, he does not immediately take to the sky, and can be found sitting atop the elevator housing when Terry gets up there.  "I haf thought," he explains when Terry arrives, "that there might be another me out here.  Or that the wrong Gar might be watchin' us from above.  There haf not been repor's of another winged man like me?"
    He drops lightly to the rooftop, as automatic and effortless as dismounting the last step in a staircase.  "An' why haf you been tellin' someone when you make your holes?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    When Kian descends from on high, he'll find a Terry eager to hug him.  "I haven't heard of any reports of you flying around when you shouldn't, so I think it's safe to assume that you either don't have a double… or that you, as always, were the sensible one and decided not to get mixed up in this.  Which tracks with the fact that my double seems to have jumped feet-first into all of this nonsense."
    He smirks a little, leaning into Kian.  "The other Gar is too smart to try anything here.  Donna and I verified Raven is real…" and here he initiates contact, relaying the entire scene to Kian of how he and Donna had set up a potential ambush for a potential fake Raven which involved a rigged submarine set to explode if Rae did not respond correctly… but fortunately, it was their Raven, all right.  "…and that means that anyone who tries to attack the tower is going to have a very angry Raven to contend to.  Gar can annoy Rae when he gets into his silly moods, so you can only imagine what an evil version would do…."
    He chuckles, dropping his arms to rest around Kian's hips.  "Nadia invented a device that detects portals, so we could track the Doppelganger intrusions.  Unfortunately, my Rabbit Holes trigger them.  She is going to work on trying to isolate these pings to trips into this dimension from without, not intra-dimensional trips.  Every Rabbit Hole triggers SHIELD's alerts, and if I don't tell them it's me I might end up with a bunch of bozos in black eager to show me the place they took you when you first landed, under the assumption that I'm a doppelganger.  Nadia gave me this comm to talk to them but… yesterday Donna got a message from them asking her if she could make me stop."
    He smiles, all innocence.  "I can't imagine why."

Kian has posed:
    Kían relaxes into the embrace.  He's missed contact with others during his isolation, and he appreciates the mental contact as well, even if it's not used for communication.  He expects to hear the minds around him, even if not clearly.  "Yis, if I were ask to go to another Eart' while still gettin' use to the one I was on, I woul' probably stay behin'.  I do not know how much choice they had, though.  Are there any that I can min'-touch safely?  All I need to do is ask, an' I will learn much, I think."
    He shivers at mention, and at mental sight, of Rae—whom he doesn't think of as being any less scary than evil versions of his friends.  Probably more scary, despite reassurances that she's on the side of good.
    He sighs, and rests his head on Terry's shoulder, checking first that it's the uninjured one and only then remembering that in some ways Terry and Vorpal are separate beings.  "I did not spend long with SHIEL', but they take everythin' very serious.  I prefer to thin' you are bringin' a smile to some bored radio monitor's day."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Well, it's either a smile, or I am driving them to drink. Either way, they're definitely not bored now," Terry says with a glint in his eye.  He leans in and returns the gesture, letting his head rest against Kian's.
    "We're planning something, but I need to see if Nadia would be okay with it.  She has this laboratory… you've worked with her, so you probably know about it.  Time… runs differently there.  Cait liked the idea, where Gar and I could basically spend thirty hours in that lab recovering… but it'll really be thirty days for anyone in the lab.  That's plenty of time for Caitlin's therapy to work, and some physical therapy for Gar… and maybe some emotional healing.  Kian, I am very worried about him… and you know how Gar is."
    He sighs, grabbing Kian's hand and leading him over to the rim of the hot tub, where they can sit down.  It's got a nice elevation.  "He keeps things to himself when he's wounded.  And normally that'd be fine they just bubble up in time and we deal with them.  But if he keeps this bottled, I'm afraid it's going to hurt him."

Kian has posed:
    "Gar iss much more demandin' of himself than anyone else iss," Kían says with a sad sigh.  "An' much more than anyone else shoul' be.  I do not know why he does that.  He shoul' not.  I wish I know how to show him what he iss doin'.  I thin' sometime he knows he does that.  I do not know how to fix it."
    He listens to the explanation about Nadia's lab and nods, settling in on the edge of the tub with only his legs dangling in.  "Time can flow at differen' rates.  Usually it iss an effec' of gravity or of speed.  An' Nadia does thin's with science that I do not always follow."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "He does.  And I love the nobility that drives him to do it, but also wish I could show him he doesn't have to do it."
    He swings his legs back and forth, tapping his heels against the edge of the hot tub, pondering.  "I can be there for him, and it's not going to be easy.  But I've had some time to think about this and I realize that I'm not alone in this."  He glances over at the bird man.
    "There's a bond, and I did you wrong by trying to shield you too much from what was going on.  I know Gar doesn't show his wounded side to many, and you're probably the only other exception to that.  I'd like you to consider joining us… if you think that spending thirty days with me won't cause you to consider your non-aggression principle."  A slow smile spreads over his face, with that mischievous glint in his eye.
    "I can do it alone… but like I said… I'm not really the only person in Gar's life who cares about him like that and who isn't a relative."

Kian has posed:
    Kían thinks about that for a moment.  "If it iss not confinin'.  I haf my own mental limits, you know.  An' if my rhy'thar does not reac' bad to it.  I do not wan' to bounce to another Eart'."
    He kicks his feet in the water a little, and laughs.  "You do not make me crazy, Terry tavárik'h.  Although I haf not spen' thirty days confine wit' you before.  If this planet has not break my min' yet, maybe I am not breakable.  So yes, I will go wit' you, if my rhy'thar will let me.  I can help wit' Gar's mental recovery, and help you keep your min' together.  An' maybe we can thin' of somethin' I can do to help stop the others."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry smiles.  "That means a lot, thank you Kian."  He leans over and runs a hand through the Akiar's hair briefly.  "I'll check with Nadia to see how confining it is.  From the way it sounded, there's a lot of space.  And you might be able to fly around it… provided you… I don't know, don't end up going off in orbit or something.  My mind is not scientific… so I have no clue what the implications of that would be."  He laughs and shakes his head.  "Science wasn't my forte in school.  You can tell."
    He looks up and breathes a little.  "You know, it occurs to me that your education into the pop culture of this world has been interrupted a little by all the shenanigans.  Gar's going to be out for a few hours and we really shouldn't disturb him, so…" he tilts his head, "wanna go down to the commons and watch one of the movies in my 'To watch' list?  This one's a good one—the first Star Wars."  He pauses.  "Or I guess it's the fourth.  Even though it came out first."  He glances over at Kian.  "Don't ask me to explain how that works and I'll let you snuggle," he says with a smirk.

Kian has posed:
    "If it feels at all wron', I will not go in.  I do not want to bounce to another planet.  Not only for havin' to go through learnin' a new worl' again, but for not wantin' to lose my tavárik'yw, you an' Gar.  An' all my other tavár'yw here," Kían says, sensibly enough.  "I… almos' do not wan' to fin' my way home, if it means never seein' all of you again.  Almos`."
    He listens to Terry's vague description of his proposed movie night with a skeptical expression.  "Star… wars?  I do not know if I want to see a war.  And I assume the fourt' is the firs', or the firs' is the fourt', because it is on Eart' and nothin' else here makes sense anyway."  That, with a smirk of his own.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry smiles.  "That's very sweet, Kian."  He leans forward and places a peck on Kian's cheek, leaving his head to rest against the bird man's.  "Maybe we'll find your world someday, and maybe we'll figure out a way to go back and forth.  I mean, technically I haven't discovered a limit to my Rabbit Holes.  Nothing says you have to leave us behind."  He puts an arm around the bird-man's lower back, and then he grins.  "Oh… I think you'll like this one.  It's the struggle of a small band of rebels against an evil regime.  It's got a noble hero with a pure soul, a feisty princess with great hair, and a devilish rogue with a reckless streak and a heart of gold.  And a fuzzy, loud creature.  You might find them familiar.  C'mon!"
    With that, Terry leaps off the edge of the hot tub and jobs towards the elevator.  "Race you down!"  He's going to lose.

Kian has posed:
    Kían is still trying to sort out the cast of characters before Terry has challenged A Race.  "Kya!"  He scrambles into the air, splashing hot water behind him, and dives for the open shaft.
    If he can manage it, he'll try to look like he's been waiting on the couch for hours by the time Terry arrives.  Birds have a sense of humor too!