5290/Happy Birbday, Kian

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Happy Birbday, Kian
Date of Scene: 21 February 2021
Location: Main Room - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: It's Kian's first Earthday, because he doesn't have a birthday. The birb is joined by Wally, Colette, Terry and Gar to celebrate!
Cast of Characters: Kian, Colette O'Connail, Gar Logan, Terry O'Neil, Wally West

Kian has posed:
    It is February, and this planet's weather priorities are questionable.
    Kían's home is… was at a latitude comparable to, say, the Florida Keys.  Snow is something that happens elsewhere.  As such, the birdman is not impressed with the view outside the window.  White frozen water on the ground is clearly a design flaw.
    The where: a table near a window, looking out over the ocean.
    The who: Kían, not really paying attention the view, but occasionally glancing outside… and then immediately returning to his notepad.
    The what: well, Kían is by nature a studious birdman, and he's writing.  In his own language.  And taking the occasional pull from a large tumbler of purple Kool-Ade.  Which may or may not have been enhanced with Harley's high-proof gift.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    It has been a while since Colette brought Kian another lesson plan, so it's no surprise that she has contacted the bird-man to indicate that there is another one ready to be delivered, along with notes on his work for the last plan.  The last few sets have notes have been pretty complimentary—Colette has been pleased with Kian's progress lately, and she has promised some more interesting lessons this time.
    It should be clarified that it is Colette Colette, not Mirror-Colette who is doing this.  The Colette who walks into the main room with a cheery, "Hi, Kian tavár'h!" has the blonde hair she normally has, and the body language is what the bird-man has become used to seeing, not the rather discordant and unfamiliar body language of that other Colette, who had asked him not to mention her existence to this one—but we'll see.
    "I've got your lesson plan—and a couple of things for you to study that are a little different from what you're used to.  Think of this as an experiment—if it gives you too much of a headache, just put it aside.  I think you're ready to stretch yourself now though, so I have brought you two poems.  Compositions that are intended for reading aloud, where the purpose of the words is not just communication through overt meaning, but use the pattern of sounds to be evocative.  In these cases this is taken to an unusual degree in that the words themselves don't always have a great deal of meaning.  I've written a notes to help you out."
    She pulls out a thumb drive with the latest lesson plan, and sets a couple of print-outs next to them.  "This first is called 'The Owl and the Pussycat' and belongs to a school of writing called 'nonsense verse'—it is intentionally nonsensical.  The second is a piece of experimental writing intended to present the world as it might be seen from an alien perspective, and is called 'A Martian Sends a Postcard home'.  You'll find a lot of notes for this one, it's pretty complicated.  I think going through this will help you with understanding the use of English in more abstract modes of thought.  Oh… and one more thing."
    She reaches into her bag again, and pulls out a bottle of something to match Harley's gift: Noah's Mill cask-strength bourbon.  "A gift.  Be careful, it's strong.  Kian, there's a good chance you didn't get a chance to catch the exact dates involved, but the Earth has moved an entire rotation around the sun since the day you arrived.  Normally on Earth we celebrate the anniversary of people's birthdays, but there's no real way we can do that given you come from a different planet.  I figured the day you arrived makes a good substitute.  I can't wish you a happy birthday, Kian, but I figure it makes sense to wish you a happy Earthday."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan was out with Terry, shopping.  He's got a few bags in hand from some home furnishing place.  Now why might that be?  The green teen of the Titans is in casual attire with a winter coat over the rest, but after entering he sheds it to toss the thing over the back of a chair upon setting the bags down.  If there's larger stuff, maybe it's already been put away through certain abilities.
    "Hey, Kian," he calls over, pausing to make note of who else is there with him.  "Colette," he adds, the smile lightly forced.  The two have not spoken much lately, certainly not for a while since before everything went sideways with the doppelganger attack.
    Of note, he has on a colorful copper pendant of a phoenix.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Hey, everybody!  Colette, good to see you!" Vorpal says, setting his own packages down.  A glance.  Blonde hair?  Yep.  Roots showing?  Yep.  This is Colette, not Colette(2) in disguise.  Which is good to know.  "Chilly outside.  I think my whiskers froze… so I might make some legit hot chocolate.  Who's up for it?"
    He walks towards the kitchen, glancing over at the bird and Colette.  "That looks like a new bottle.  Lettie, are you trying to out-booze Harley?"

Kian has posed:
    Kían looks up from his notes and breaks into a huge grin.  "Colette tavár'h!"  He flits over, executes an unnecessary but perfect flip, and touches down right in front of her, then grabs her for a hug of greeting.  "It iss good to see you again.  Thin's have been a little… I was goin' to say weird, but this planet iss already weird."  There seems something less hesitant about him; he seems a lot less hesitant, a lot less nervous.
    He accepts the bottle… and looks at it a little funny.  "Iss it really one year?  One of your years?" he asks, a little indifferently.
    Terry and Gar get his attention, and he beams at Gar when he sees the pendant.  "Kié, tavárik'yw.  Colette say I haf been on your worl' for one of your years now."  He turns back to Colette, head tilted inquisitively.  "Iss that really some-thin' that woul' be celebrate here?  It iss not like I was tryin' to come here.  It more jus' happen to me."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette grins wide at Kian's hug, returning it with a hint of puzzlement but a larger hint of amusement.  "It has been a year," she confirms.  "And… well there's not a whole lot of precedent, Kian.  We don't as a rule celebrate the anniversary of people falling into the ocean.  But it seems to me like it's only fair you get an Earthday if you don't have a birthday.  If you think about it, a birthday is the celebration of the anniversary of someone's first day on Earth, so it's close enough, right?"
    "I'll out-booze Harley any day she's ready for it!" Colette announces to Vorpal with a grin.  "She's a lot of fun to go drinking with.  Hey Terry, looks like you got your cat back.  And hey Gar, you're looking well.  Last time I visited you were dead, so it's quite an improvement.  If you want my opinion being alive suits you better.
    "No though, this is the kind of booze Harley would probably disapprove of.  This is the real stuff.  She'd probably complain that I could have got Kian two bottles of something perfectly good for the same price.  The trouble I had persuading her that wagyu steak is better than Salisbury steak…."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan flashes Kian a grin at the greeting, but he keeps back in order to give the alien bird-man a chance to share a moment with Colette, who he says to, "Technically I never died, but… yeah, too close for comfort.  I'm definitely a fan of being alive."  The response is somewhat subdued, for the entire situation is not one to make much light of.  "And I had some help getting better.  So did he."  A thumb is directed Terry's way as he finishes setting his stuff down to approach the kitchen as well.  "We got some pizza around or anything like that?" he wonders.
    Afterward, he squints at the part-time cat.  "We met almost a year ago, didn't we?" he asks.  The date… well, Terry probably knows it down to the very second.  "And before any of you guys think about offering me some of that, I'm just gonna pass."  He doesn't seem inclined to partake of libations that are there.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "I don't know—did we?" the cat asks, putting that enigmatic smile on as he reaches into the refrigerator for the milk.  "I'm going to have to check."  He totally did, and totally does know.  He's just playing innocent.
    He's totally pulling it off.  Not.
    "Well, Kian, the way I see it, nobody was consciously trying to get born, yet here we are, and we still celebrate it, so… the logic holds.  Happy Earthday!" the Cheshire winks and reaches into the cupboard for his fancy, very expensive cocoa powder.  "We got ourselves back together, Lettie.  But right now we've got a doppelganger Cass and Nadia we need to take care of.  It's lucky that you don't have a doppelganger.  That would be such a headache."

Wally West has posed:
    Wally shows up with the kind of lateness that only someone with superspeed can achieve.  He is wearing his heavier costume with a red and yellow striped scarf and a Flash (tm) beanie.  It is good to be with the gang again, even if it is the young whippersnapper group.  He should really try harder to relate to the youth of today.
    "Of course we celebrate you being here a year.  Surviving here is an accomplishment to be celebrated."  He smiles.  "Just sit back and enjoy the party.  I hear there will be cake."  He offers hugs to everyone who wants them.
    Wally is slightly melancholy at the talk of booze.  He never got to have any of the good stuff before the speed.  These days that kind of thing doesn't really do anything for him.  The way people talk about it, it feels like he is missing out.
    "If it's food you want, I have some stuff from a Latverian place down town."  He appears with a big box full of plastic containers.  "Remember to save some room for cake."

Kian has posed:
    Kían looks around a little blankly.  "I do not celebrate the anniversary of my birt'.  I was jus' there, it was my paren's who made all the effor'.  They celebrate it, not me.  I hope they still do.  I woul' celebrate the anniversary of my I'takár, my Firs' Flight, but I do not know when that will be by your time."
    He sets the bottle down, and hugs Colette again regardless.  "You shoul' celebrate the day you safe my life.  It iss one Eart' year since you pull me out of the ocean.  An' as hard as this worl' has been sometimes…"  He glances over at Gar and Terry.  "…some thin's have been so very wort' it.  I haf a home again.  I can not thank you enough."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Must be pretty close to a year for you guys," Colette concurs.  "It was about the time I met Terry, and that was the day after Kian's spectacular arrival on Earth.  Got anything planned?  I suppose you should wait until the anniversary of when you guys made it official, but seeing how long Terry spent fretting about the whole thing and doubting his own senses, you might have a hard time pinning that down to the nearest month."
    Colette gives a laugh when she finds herself being hugged again by Kian, and shakes her head slightly.  "Well, it's the date of your first flight on Earth, anyway.  Admittedly a rather short flight because you didn't really have time to counteract the effects of gravity before the sea got in the way, but still.  First time your wings took in the air of our world.  But the important thing, the thing that makes it a celebration, is because you've got friends, right?  We're celebrating the day that brought you to us, and that's pretty much what a birthday is too."
    Colette breaks into a smirk.  "Don't argue, bird-man!  You get delicious bourbon out of the deal."
    Wally's arrival takes Colette somewhat by surprise as the speedster always seems to be off running around the place when she visits.  When that running takes him into a room where she is she responds with, "Damnit Wally, where did you spring from?" and a laugh.  She's not accustomed to the ways of speedsters, though it's a pretty mild expletive by her standards.  "Latverian place?  I've been meaning to try it.  Any good?"

Gar Logan has posed:
    "I learned a little bit about first flights," Gar says without elaborating, though he does look down at the pendant as he turns it in between a few fingers.  Perhaps Kian will explain, perhaps not.  The opening is there.  He gives Terry a smirk as he suggests not being exactly certain of the timing, but he lets it slide in lieu of the offered hot chocolate.  "You can make me a big cup of that."
    Wally receives a wave and a, "Hey, dude," then he looks between those gathered.  "So he got to Earth just before I met Terry?  That's kind of a weird coincidence.  I feel like you're a big part of things here now, Kian."  His head shakes back and forth slowly as he admits to Colette, "I don't know.  We were just out getting some things for the apartment.  I wasn't even thinking beyond that."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    "Three days before we met, in fact," Terry says.  He's in automatic mode now, mixing the chocolate and putting it in the machine, so his mouth is running off without his supervision.  "I met Colette three days after that in the morning, and then I met you in the afternoon at one fort—"
    Pause.  "OH HEY WALLY!" Terry says, quickly hanging the topic.  He leaves the machine to do its thing and he goes over to give Colette her hug now that he's done with the mixing, and then one for Kian.  Then he glances at Colette.  "I was not fretting and doubting my own senses, thank you very much.  They should call you the maligner instead of the meddler, you know!" he sticks his tongue at Colette.

Wally West has posed:
    "You think I would bring you substandard takeout?  I am insulted."  He huffs in mock outrage.  "It is food fit to shake your metal gauntlet at Reed Richards to."  Wally of course has an encyclopædic knowledge of buffets and takeout places.  Not surprising since he has eaten at ALL of them.
    "You kids have an apartment?  I am jealous.  I wasn't able to afford an apartment till after college."  It is of course more extreme than that.  His apartment is in Kansas where land is cheaper.
    Terry and Gar continue to be Terry and Gar.  "Stop being adorable you two.  We are here trying to celebrate Kian and you are over here giving everyone cavities before we even take a bite."  He smiles.  He turns his head to Kian.  "Any way.  Here's to a year of you being in the gang, and many more to come."

Kian has posed:
    "Oh, I haf not been at the Tower for year yet.  Firs' I was at the SHIEL' base for a little while.  An' then I spend some time at that school," Kían explains pedantically.  "An' only then Cap-ten Mar-fel bring me here, to meet Gar an' see if may-be I woul' be better lifin' here instead."
    He grins.  "An' here I am."
    He sniffs at the hot chocolate, makes a pleased sound, but does not drink it.  He knows what chocolate does to him.
    For that matter, so does Terry, which raises the question of whether the cat forgot about that… or whether he remembers and did it anyway.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette gives Gar a thoughtful nod.  "It all kind of happened in one go really, didn't it?  I met Kian, then I met Terry and told him about Kian.  You met Terry, got him thinking about the Titans getting back together.  He got me thinking about the Titans, and I figured that would be a good thing for Kian.  It's not really a coincidence unless things are linked, but in this case I think the fact that they happened close together is what caused the link.  If any one of those links in that chain had been broken, you guys might never have got back together again.  But you don't really know they are links until you can see the entire chain, know what I mean?"
    This is obviously too philosophical to hold Colette's interest for long though, so she resorts to insulting Terry instead, because he's asking for it.  "But basically it's all Terry's fault when you think about it.  If he wasn't so obsessed with getting himself shot at all the time we wouldn't have all been trying to keep him from getting himself killed in his latest dumb plan du jour, and none of this would have happened.  That even extends to you, Wally.  I ended up taking Wally out for a coffee and persuading him to turn up at the tower again to try to cheer Gar up because every time I met Terry and Gar together, Gar seemed to need cheering up.  Remember, Wally?"
    Colette's nostrils twitch as the scent of warm cocoa starts to fill the air.  "Yeah, uh… Terry?  Would you mind making one for me?  And what is it with you guys and money?  You're the fucking Titans…"  Yes, this is clearly the real Colette.  "…you shouldn't have any trouble affording apartments.  Who's in charge of your marketing anyway?  If you're not all making roll by now, they aren't doing their jobs."

Gar Logan has posed:
    Gar Logan manages to patiently wait for his serving, testing it for temperature in the meantime.  "Well, I've made a bit from the movies and TV shows, and we're not exactly poor here."  He happens to have a very, very rich adoptive father, but he's trying not to use that as a crutch.  "Terry's also working, you know.  Between us, we can afford to have an apartment for a little bit of a life away from the Tower.  We're not even sneaking food over there from the kitchen!  Unless, maybe, Cait made something."
    He lets some of the memories come over him from those times close to a year ago, admitting, "Yeah, maybe you're right, Colette.  What if I came back here a week earlier, or a week later?  Or I didn't go out that day and bump into Terry?  By the way, he's still getting shot at.  Anyway… yeah.  He kind of helped me figure out I was doing the right thing by coming back here, and helping Kian when we met him was pretty important too."  Rubbing the back of his head, he admits, "Colette, I know we haven't agreed on everything lately, but you tried getting me to think about some things a little differently as well."

Wally West has posed:
    At this point Wally sets out the containers on the table.  "Colette, you make it sound like Terry was abusing him."  He looks at Terry with mock suspicion.  "Which is completely incorrect… right?"  He resumes setting the table.  "Yeah, we all blame Terry.  It is our team hobby. It's what brings us all together."
    "I don't know if Cait left anything for you two to scavenge, but we have food out now, so dig in."  There is goulash, stuffed cabbage, egg-noodle-dumplings and a variety of soups and breads.  All together perfect cold weather food.  "He is back to being shot at already?  Sometimes I wonder if he just likes being rescued."  He gets out a bottle.  "For those interested, this is the mint liquor that is traditionally drank with this kind of food.  I can't tell you if its any good because booze doesn't do anything for me."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
    Terry O'Neil says, "Fooor the record, it was Kate who was doing the shooting at me.  This was in our danger room, so…."  Terry smirks, going back to get the cocoa and pours a mug for everyone but himself.  After distributing the drinks, he says, "Everything being my fault is not the team sport, it's more like a tradition."  He glances at Kian, suddenly remembering what the drink does to him.  "Oops, this one is mine," he takes the drink away from the bird man.  Tragedy averted, right?
    "I'm going to take a hard pass on the Latverian cuisine.  It's delicious and all, but after half an hour, you're hungry… for power."  Nobody tell Doctor Doom he made that joke.  Then, in a moment of candor, he says, "Bumping into Gar was one of the best things that ever happened to me, admittedly."  He sips his chocolate.


Kian has posed:
    Kían raises no objection to Terry taking the chocolate away.  It's probably for the best.
    "I… do not know if I can say that endin' up here is the best thin' that has happen to me.  But it iss I thin' the bes' thin' that coul´ haf happen after I came to this worl'."  He shakes his head and laughs.  "An' even min' to min' I will never be able to ex-plain if we fin' my worl'."
    He peers at the food, but sticks with his purple Kool-Ade.  He doesn't recognize any of it, so he doesn't want to take the chance on any of them including bird or eggs.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Mmm," Colette says to Gar non-committally.  She studies him with an inscrutable expression for a few moments then gives a faint shrug.  "Gar, if you agreed with me on everything you'd probably need your head examined," she says finally.  It might be some sort of a concession or attempt a peace offering, but it can be hard to tell with Colette.
    "Did you say liquor? Now you're speaking my language," Colette says, moving over to the kitchen area to locate suitable glasses.  The time when the Titans wouldn't have a set of shot glasses is long in the past, and Colette may not be a member of the team but she has made sure she knows where they are kept.  As she's not sure how many people are going to try the Latverian booze—apart from being reasonably confident after his prior refusal that Gar will be on the 'no' list, she fetches one more glass than there are people in the room.  That way nobody has an assigned glass, and thus isn't leaving their glass empty.  Just occasionally she can be thoughtful.
    "Where's your sense of adventure, Terry?" she demands.  "Build up that spirit!  Try some of the goulash.  The smoked paprika'll have you fired up and invading Symkaria in no time."  She blinks a couple of times and glances over to Kian.  "You too.  Don't worry, it doesn't actually make you invade countries, that was just a joke.  It's bird-free, don't worry."  After a year on Earth, people by now are used to Kian's eating habits and rarely bother with the 'but you're a mammal' line any more.