710/Little Monsters

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Little Monsters
Date of Scene: 23 March 2020
Location: Titan's Tower - Lobby
Synopsis: This Is How We All Almost Died
Cast of Characters: Terry O'Neil, Gar Logan, Colette O'Connail, Rachel Roth

Terry O'Neil has posed:
The date had been made. Terry was going to come over and spend time with Gar. At the tower. With food.

And that is when Terry started freaking out, as he paced across his apartment floor after dropping off the right drive at the Planet.

"Crap. Am I actually ready for a date? What am I going to do? What if he wants-" Pause. "What if I want...?"

After more freaking out, a sensible plan was hatched. It required two steps.

To Gar: <<HEY! I thought about it better and I'm not going to come>>

And his finger accidentally sent the text before he was finished!
"CRAP CRAP CRAP" furious finger-swiping-

<<over with food first, why don't you meet me at Giorgio's and we can pick up fresh pizza together? I'll drive back!>>

Terry's heart stopped for a second, but once he was certain that Gar didn't think he was bailing, he sent the next message out.

To Colette: <<HEY! I'm going to be at the tower with Gar and whatnot. Thought maybe we could hang out and maybe talk to Raven there? A thought. Meet us at the parking lot at the tower?>>


A short time later, Terry was driving and the car was full of the smell of pizza. Three extra-large pizzas, to be specific. Some gentle nondescript music was playing through the dock as they drove down with Gar on the passenger seat.

"Oh... I forgot!" He did not "Gar, I thought that maybe we could get Colette to come over and see if we can talk to Raven about housing the birdboy in the tower. I mean, as long as I'm going to be there, we could kill two birds with one stone, right?"


"That may be a very poor choice of words right there..."

He looks at Gar out of the corner of his eye.

Gar Logan has posed:
Gar Logan was left shaking his head at the texts, but the continuation of the first came before he could respond to it with something suitably inappropriate. Why was he thinking that way? Maybe Terry is a bad influence.*

Plans shifted, pizza added to the list, and he could have just flown over someplace but the car ride was deliciously mundane for a variety of reasons. The smell of the pies in the back seat left him drumming his fingers against his knees, wanting to dig into one or all of them, but he exhibited tremendous self control in leaving them alone.

Partly, it's because of the Colette/Raven/Kian idea, to which he just laughed. "She might kill all of us before the night's over."

*Footnote: He is.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette's response to the text: <<okay>>. Obviously she's in a communicative mood.

    When the pair arrive, Colette's car is already parked in the lot. She's neither seated inside nor leaning against it as she had been yesterday. Instead she stands some twenty feet away from it, in the shade of a tree. Her arms are crossed, and she looks unusually pensive.

    The normal state of Colette appears to be one of high self-confidence. She even apologizes with an unusual degree of confidence. Mistakes or obstacles she seems to treat as merely a temporary interruption in a smooth journey; things that she's sure she can deal with, even if she's not entirely sure /how/ just yet.

    She doesn't look confident right now.

    As the Dubious Duo dismount from the Terrymobile, Colette calls out to them. "Hey Garfield, hey Terry. Um. Before we go in, can we... I mean... there's something I've been meaning to tell you two, and I... I should do that now. Before... before."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
When Terry got out of the car, he could tell something was wrong. "If she thinks she's going to get enlightenment standing under that tree, she's got something else coming to her." The redhead parks the car and leaves the pizzas in the back. He also makes sure Gar comes with him, so that when they come back there still will be pizzas in the back.

And so it is that Terry O'Neil approaches Colette, whose confidence seems to have left her for another woman. There's something about the way she speaks that gives Terry a bad feeling, so the teen waits until Gar reaches them to reply.

"Before... before what?" he asks, eyebrow raised, hands on hips. He had a bad feeling about this.

Gar Logan has posed:
Gar Logan could /carry/ the pizzas with him, thereby ensuring no pizza thieves would hit the car while they weren't in it.

They'll be fine where they are.

Once they're outside and approaching, Gar takes a couple tentative steps closer after she's spoken. "If this is about the other day when I snapped at you when you asked if he and I were..you know..I already forgave you for it," he starts out with, a palm up at his side. "I was having a bad day and it just kind of snowballed from there."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Raven's a sorceress," Colette replies to Terry. "There's a possibility she might... look, this is something you guys des... " She stops herself with a shake of the head. "I mean I would prefer if you hear it from me. "

    Colette raises a hand to Gar. "Not that, Garfield. I mean... yeah. We talked that through, and..." she glances at Terry. "And yeah. Sooo." She stares at the ground, then up at Gar. "So. Yesterday, with Kian. Could you guys comm... I mean when you changed shape could you contact his mind? Because I kind of figured... well, the Akiar only have one language. So it has to be an artificial syllabary built on a pre-exist... I mean the chances are those guys can... Well, flight is hardly conducive to contact telepathy. So I figured... fuck, I'm stalling."

     Colette sighs and takes a step away from the true. "Look the truth is... well. There's a shadow beneath this tree, and another shadow beneath that one over there, right?" She points at the next nearest tree.

    "'Cos actually there's not. There's only one shadow. We talk about things casting shadows, but that's not true. It's light that's cast, not shadow. That's what... that's what the universe is. A small area of light interrupting the endless dark. Even then... even a laser beam is almost entirely darkness. The proportion of it that's actually photons is... tiny. Light... light is energy, limited by time and acceleration. Darkness has no dimension, no volume, no... the universe is finite and delimited. Darkness is infinite and unmeasurable. So... there aren't two shadows, there is only one. Does that make any sense to you?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry crosses his arms and gives Colette a look.

He tries to say something, then stops.

He opens his mouth again, and then stops himself, clearly trying to make sense of what he just heard.

Then, he finally says "And here I thought everybody knew you shouldn't take the brown acid."

Gar Logan has posed:
"Ahh..yeah, when I became, you know, what he is, I found out they can talk inside their heads. The telepathy thing. And we didn't have to be touching each other," Gar explains before coughing into a hand. "There isn't a real good way to say that without it sounding wrong, is there?"

He just shuts up now, in /large/ part because Colette is going on, and on, and on some more, and then talking about shadows and trees and lasers and darkness and who knows what else. His mouth sort of parts just enough that a line of drool dribbles past a lower fang before he catches himself and wipes the back of his hand across the area.

"Could you maybe start over and try alllll of that again in a way that we can understand? That'd be great."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    The crossed arms cross tighter and Colette stares at the ground. "Yeah. Well. I mean neither of you are exactly physicists. But what I just said... people know that. It's the way the universe is. Darkness is what there is until you put light somewhere. The entire universe is a little pocket of a tiny dusting of light in the infinitity of darkness. People don't /get/ that, because they only see the light, not the darkness. So things like these shadows, thinking of them as a pair of shadows when in reality it's just tiny insignificant patches of light in between them."

    Colette sighs again. "So. The difference is that I... I um. I don't just know it. I can see it. I don't just see the light, I see the darkness. I don't just know that this shadow under this tree and that shadow under that tree are the same shadow, both part of the limitless and unmeasured darkness, without dimension or form /intellectually/. I experience it. Like..."

    Colette unfolds her arms, shakes them, and puffs her cheeks out. She take a step backwards.



    When she finishes her step backwards, she's standing beneath the other tree, in the second shadow.

    "I'm a meta."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
At first, Terry gasps when Colette just- teleports? What the hell did she do?

Did she just travel through shadows?

Or, the shadow. Whatever.

Terry's eyes go back to their normal size, then they get narrower. "I thought I came out of the Sabatini affair a little /too/ unscathed. Jesus Christ, Colette!" Terry is stomping over to her, color rising to his cheeks, "Why the hell didn't you tell me? Did you think I was going to be angry about it? Or that I was going to reject you? I mean for crying out loud I have the hots for Gar, how on earth could I---"


He suddenly looks very sheepish. "I did just say that out loud, didn't I?" he says.

Gar Logan has posed:
Gar Logan's reaction when Colette jumps from one shadow to the next is an initial widening of the eyes, but it comes and goes quickly. Terry's reaction is a bit more..pronounced, where in Gar's case he overexaggerates yawning into his hand. "So you're a meta, and...?"

In other words, it doesn't faze or startle him one bit. Consider how long he's been one.

If anything, the last bit from Terry gets more of a response, a tilt of the head and a dry, "Yeah, you did. Very much out loud."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette folds her arms again, and looks down, refusing to meet Terry's eyes. "I didn't tell you because I don't tell /anyone/, Terry. You two are literally the only two people I have ever told. I'd kind of prefer to go through my life without anyone ever knowing, but I... that's not going to happen."

    Colette's hands may be shaking slighty. "It's not... it's not exactly something I'm happy about. It's not..." her eyes flash up momentarily to Gar's, then back down again. "It's not like I've got some fun power that lets me turn into animals. It's... Fuck Terry. You saw. You saw how I was on the car home. You think that's fun? You think I... Jesus. There's... I'm not alone there, Terry. There's.. a... there are voices there. In the darkness. I mean... no. Forget it. It's just... when you said about your father. How that made sense."

    Colette raises her head again and looks straight at Terry. "Remember? About how he took monsters with him to deal with mobsters? Yeah, that fucking did make sense Terry. Like father, like son."

    Colette takes a few sullen breaths and pushes away from the tree, letting her arms fall by her sides. She steps out from the shadow. "Yeah. You totally said it out loud, Terry. We all heard. Don't worry, it's not like he didn't already know."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry tries to walk past that statement, and instead he makes a U-ey and heads back to Colette's previous statement. "Colette, what bullshit! I do /not/ tolerate those walking human prolapses to call you or Gar or anyone with powers 'monsters', and I am sure as hell not going to tolerate any of you saying that about yourselves, okay?" The redhead's eyes flash. For a moment, just a moment, his eyes look like they are slitted, and the iris appears greener than it was "And don't bottle it up inside, for crying out loud." He walks up to Colette, trying to get to her before Gar can so he can deliver the next lines in a voice that only Colette could hear it.

"How do you want him to deal with his hurt if you model hiding yours like this?"

He gives her a look, speaking in a normal voice now, "I remember somebody telling me once that the people I cared about deserved honesty. I will add to that that shared burdens are easier to carry."

Gar Logan has posed:
Gar Logan finds he has nothing he can think of to say to this. At first, his attitude was 'So you're a meta. What's the big deal?' Clearly, there is more to it beneath the surface than that. There are also things Colette and Terry have done that he only knows minimal details about, but those things have obviously impacted both of them in ways he doesn't fully grasp yet.

While the two of them have it out verbally, there is nothing from the one who can do fun things like turn into animals. It leaves him chewing at his lower lip, looking anywhere but at the two of them. The car. The pizzas. One of the other trees. Anything else.

For once, Garfield Logan, Beast Boy, is dead silent.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
"Fuck. Jesus fucking Christ on a hoverboard. Terry, I'm not..." she stumbles for words, gesticulating in Gar's direction. "Don't you get it? I'm not calling /Gar/ a monster. Or Carol. Look at him! He's the sweetest guy you could meet. Gar a monster? That's fucking joke. I'm calling /me/ a monster. Not because I'm a meta, but because I am. "

    Colette raps her knuckles not too hard on Terry's head. "Hello in there? Remember my whole fucking 'purify the Earth' rant? That's what it does to me. When I use my powers too much, too quickly. It's fucking /scary/, Terry. I'm calling /me/ a monster. Not anyone else. Because it's what I am. I'm trying real hard not to be. But I am. Or... or there's a monster inside of me, if you like. I don't want it to ever get loose. Whatever. Burden shared."

    Colette walks away from Terry and steps up to face Gar. "What was... what did it feel like, talking to Kian? Did you feel... I mean was it just a sharing of thoughts, like just having a really easy and comfortable conversation with someone, with that sense that you know you are being fully understood? Or did you get a sense of... unity?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Okay, you have a Nietzchean Malthusianist inside you," Terry says, rubbing his forehead after the rapping. "Burden shared. If you start talking like a Dalek again, I'll hit you with logic again."

He walks over to Gar as Colette asks him questions. He reaches over and wraps his arm around Gar's shoulders. Because this is a thing he has already done, and thus feels comfortable doing again. Maybe. "Not that I mind playing Q and A, but we shouldn't take /too/ long out here." He glances over at the Tower.

Gar Logan has posed:
"I don't really understand what's going on right now, guys," Gar shares, after Colette has been talking about a rant along the lines of purifying the Earth, or doing..something if she doesn't have control. "But I do know we all have dark sides and we all have to control them if we don't want them to take us over." That indicates he's including himself in that.

The talk of what it was like with Kian is a welcome diversion but even with that the case, his answers to Colette are somewhat clipped, Terry there with an arm at his shoulders or not. "It was..kind of all of that, yeah." Terry could feel him leaning in the direction of the car.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "No Terry. The Grand Malthusian Solution is the compromise part. Because part of me wants to save the world. The other part of me, that part that it's compromising with, wants to destroy it. I want to kill all of you. I want to tear you to pieces, I want to empty the seas and fill them with the blood of the living. I want to make a choir of agony, I want to compose a hosanna to the dark, with the screams of your souls. I want to expunge the foul pollution of light and bring the universe into the perfect embrace of darkness."

    These words are not spoken. Colette doesn't say any of them. She might have, but she did not.

    "Okay. Well..." Colette shakes her head slightly. "I guess a side effect of my... stuff. I have a psychic barrier. Can't communicate with Kian." She sighs a little. "Anyway. We should... well. Thing is, Garfield? You know her. Raven. Based on what I just said... is this a good idea? I mean I've read a bit about her. She's a sorceress, and... well. Maybe I should just stay away? What do you think?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Oh for cryin' out loud." Terry rubs his forehead and reaches over to grab Colette gently by the elbow. "Garfield, bring the pizzas. Colette, stop overthinking everything. You told me I was overthinking it. Well, stop overthinking it. We've got someone to see and a mission to accomplish."

If she will let him, Terry will guide Colette gently to the entrance, with Gar bearing pizza behind them, hopefully. "Besides, what could possibly go wrong?"

Gar Logan has posed:
"No, it's probably not a good idea, but we're here, she probably already knows we're here, and maybe you'll be surprised," Gar says, and he throws up his hands before actually reaching out to smack Terry at the back of his head. "You should know better than to say something like that, dude. Now come on. We're doing this for Kian, and maybe we can help you get through some of this too, Colette."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    The door to the tower swooshes open. Nobody rang for service, as the sign outside demands, which means it's an ex-Titan returning. Probably Garfield, as he's the only one who ever does on any kind of regular basis. This fact may be no surprise to Raven by now, as Gar has been outside for some minutes already, with two other people. Presumably he is bringing vistors to the tower. Depending on what attention Raven has paid to the goings on in the parking lot, she may already be aware that both the people accompanying Gar have something vaguely magical about them. She probably considers this unacceptable.

    Colette is virtually frog-marched into the building, feeling distinctly unconvinced of the wisdom of this, but going along with it anyway. As the doors open and they step inside, she gives a low whistle. Speaking at a whisper, as if in a cathedral, she says "Impressive. Dusty though. You should get the cleaners in, Garfield."

Gar Logan has posed:
"Dunno what you're talking about, Colette," Gar says as they enter the place. It isn't as dark as it was when Nightwing and Gar showed up and Raven nearly scared him off before he got more than a few steps inside. Since then, he's been back enough to make his room feel mostly like it once did, but things haven't exactly felt welcoming. "I rode on top of the Roomba myself."

Gesturing around, he adds, "Anyway, this is the lobby. It's seen busier days, but I think it can get back there again." The eternal optimist, most of the time, even in the wake of some pretty heavy stuff going on. "Besides, we have Kian to think about, and Nightwing said there's another person from, uhhh, he said it was an alternate reality. Someone named Gwen Stacy."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Well... this is awesome!" Terry says, despite himself. His voice is louder than it probably should be. But he can't help it. He spreads his hands, letting go of Colette's elbow, to encompass the lobby. "I never thought I'd actually be standing here, you know? The lobby of the tower of the Titans."

He has a smile on his face, Colette's Bad Feeling About This forgotten momentarily as he looks around. "Is that a bar over there?" he says, peering. "Wow."

Rachel Roth has posed:
    The tower isn't quite as dark, but it -is- impassively cold. It also has this... Surgical cleanliness to it, that you get when nobody is present for a very long time.

    For the whole time that these people have been on the island, Raven has been watching. For the eagle-eyed, it would be incredibly difficult, but possible, to see Raven standing in one of the windows of the tower, honed in on the presence of minds, on the emotions they hold.

    She was displeased.

    When they dare enter the Tower, Raven is not immediately present. It is only shortly after they're within it, -exploring,- that Raven makes her appearance, at the foot of the two elevator shafts, appearing from the void between them, from the darkness of the deeper tower.

    Her presence can be stifling, an aura of fear, rage, and depression that can be at once mildly infectious as much as it is wholly crushing. She has little restraint, at the moment, because...

    "Garfield Logan." She doesn't need to shout, as her voice seems to echo from the walls of the Tower- as if she were part of it.

    "I allowed you, in your infinite stubbornness and foolishness, to come to the tower- and now you bring -others- here? As if this is a place for anything other than a forgotten legacy."

    A pause. "As if this place should be anything other than a -warning.-"

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "There's a few guys I know who might work out too," Colette says to Gar. "Damian and Sam are probably the closest to being ready. They are very young, but have some /really/ impressive skills. Also some... well. Not sure about Damian yet, some issues there need dealing with." Like that habit of saying hello with a knife. "Got quite an ego on him. Sam has a really great dog, though. You'd like him. He's the Goodest Boy. The dog I mean, not Sam."

    Raven's arrival elicits very little reaction from Colette, either visible or otherwise. Mostly just a sideways glance at Garfield, then another slightly longer at Terry. Emotionally she gives away nothing at all - Raven will already have noticed that when observing minds through the window earlier. Raven will have met psychics before. Colette's psychic barrier would rate on the stronger end of the spectrum.

    This is Gar's territory and Colette falls silent, be that wise or not.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"I may be new to this stuff, but should you be using names?" Terry asks, turning around to face Colette and Gar and thus does not see The Presence when she emerges. "I mean, you two might actually end up being team-mates, but I'm always going to be the civilian outsider. There's knowledge I probably should not-"

And then that voice. When Terry turns to look at Raven for the first time, there is a chill that goes through his whole spine, even the part of it that is the tail he hasn't got yet.

He doesn't quite know how he manages to arrive by Garfield's side, since he doesn't have teleportation, but he is suddenly there. As Raven speaks, he frowns... but he doesn't say anything. Yet.

Gar Logan has posed:
There are things Gar would say to the visitors with him, but Raven's appearance takes up all of his attention and if they're reading his expression, it falters for a few seconds before he sets his jaw.

"Okay, Raven. This is probably gonna end with you sending me off into space or something, and if that's how it is then that's how it is. But this place doesn't belong to you. I came back because I thought there was something to salvage, and I still believe that." He touches Terry's shoulder lightly and shakes his head, motioning for him to stay put, same with Colette, as he takes a couple steps closer toward the elevators, toward Raven.

He goes on. "Since I came back here, I've been..off. I've second-guessed everything, hesitated, froze up, because I wasn't sure if I could get past Doomsday and losing Dove and Kole. But we still have things to live for, people to help. That bird alien, Kian? He's going to need someone to help him get used to this world, and I'm not giving up on that. There are gonna be others."

He gestures with his palms out, taking in the lobby. "I know there are bad memories, and nightmares, and we have to live with the mistakes we made, but have you even left this place since then? All I see you doing is trying to haunt the Tower, to keep people from trying to come back, to try to be what the Titans are supposed to be here for, all because we failed hard one time. /Superman/ died to stop Doomsday. What were /we/ really supposed to be able to do? We didn't know!"

There is some fear in the green shifter, fear at digging up the past, fear at how Raven might react, but there is also strength from somewhere in there, passion, a sense of doing right. "I'm not going anywhere whether you like it or not, Raven, and I'm not giving up. I'm tired of living like half of me has already died, like this is a place everyone should pretend doesn't exist any more even though it's still visible from anywhere in Metropolis. I want to live again. I /need/ to live again. /We/ need to live again!"

If this was a movie, there'd be a crowd before him, applauding the speech.

It's not a movie.

Rachel Roth has posed:
    And Raven isn't applauding. She looks altogether like something that might appear in a bad dream, a -thing- in human guise. In the darkness, She appears as just a hooded figure, with glowing purple eyes.

    The more these people speak, the more that shadow spreads, consuming the elevator, the flight tube, and some of the lobby. The more Garfield speaks, the more Raven advances- like the shade you see in the corner of the room during sleep paralysis... Only altogether more real.

    "I don't care if you haven't been feeling well. Maybe the -deaths- have been weighing on you like they should. Maybe the sensation of your own cowardice has finally caught up to you."

    By this point, Raven is only a few feet from Gar now.

    "You didn't feel the light leave them. Buried under rubble. Cold and alone. You didn't promise them safety. You didn't tell them that it would be okay. We pulled their bodies out of the ashes and I watched Hope flee the scene when everyone realized that there was nothing left."

    By now, the inky, impenetrable blackness that is Raven's soul-self has expanded thoroughly, darkening the lobby as if it is consuming the tower. Truth be told, it -feels- like it, too. Metropolis is so far away, now.

    "We all lost -everything- that day, the world lost its greatest champion, and I SENT the beast there!" By now she's shouting, and such a thing can be deafening. Raven is suddenly much taller.

    "And here you have the gall, to say that we turn on the carousel, invite others in so that we can give them hope, give them purpose, give them promises of power and safety, so that one day we can do this all again?"

    There is a pause, Raven now looms above those present. Whether it's because she's flying or because of something much more horrific is not obvious. Not even her arms are visible anymore. Just the face, and those eyes. There are only two... For now.

    "Will you shoulder the burden? Will you tell the families? The friends?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
There isn't much Terry can say right now. There is just too much dread, too much... //darkness// for him to speak right now. He is still gathering his strength (not to mention his wits).

There is one basic impulse that drives him to one simple action, however. He takes a step forward and, still quivering somewhat, stretches out his arm to grab Gar's shoulder. He keeps his hand there, one very simple message: I'm right here.

For whatever that might be worth.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    On Colette's face, curiosity gives way to increasing... bafflement. She leans close to Terry and whispers "I can see her. I mean... in the dark. I can see her shadow, in the darkness. How does a shadow..." She shakes her head, trying to clear it. "I don't understand."

    When Terry steps forwards, Colette follows, to stand beside Garfield on his other side. "The carousel turns, with or without anyone here." She speaks at just above a whisper. "Until the last light in the universe goes out, the carousel turns. You can't stop it turning. Can't stop people falling off. You can avert your eyes while it turns. Or you can try to help at least some of the riders stay seated. Or you can switch off the lights. There are no other choices."

Gar Logan has posed:
This is..going in a direction Gar was afraid it might. He expected something like this. Didn't want to think it'd go this way, but he was prepared.

Or so he thought.

As Raven issues her response and does /that/ thing, he takes a half-step back. It's human nature to flee the darkness, to shy away from it, and he /knows/ her, /knows/ the dark side she carries. Maybe that's what makes this moment more vital. It's something that's needed to happen for a long, long time.

"Raven.." he begins, his voice shaky in response to the fearsome demonstration, the harsh words that cut deep. Terry's hand is felt and touched once. Colette's presence is noted. But, he steps forward again, and in doing so closes the gap further between Raven and himself.

"You're right. I didn't feel what you felt, but I felt the loss anyway. I was sixteen. /Sixteen!/ None of us should ever have to face what we did, but it happened and we can't avoid it. We can't keep hiding from it. Everyone just..gave up, and I didn't know what else to do but give up with them. I thought I could go off and do something, I don't know, different that would make me happy, but all I felt was more of an emptiness, like everything around me was fake, like I needed to find something real again, something worth fighting for."

No surprise that even he can see how much of Hollywood is made up, fabricated.

That coldness begins to seep in, causing his skin to crawl, to create goosebumps beneath the long-sleeved sweatshirt he's got on. It was meant to guard against the cold weather outside, but this is a different kind of chill. It goes through to the soul. "Yeah, we lost everything, but we can rebuild." Shouts from Raven or not, he keeps his voice under control, a thing for him to focus on to stand firm. "But she's right. It doesn't stop turning. There are always gonna be people who need help, who need guidance. I wasn't one of the first Titans, and you guys took me in. I'm ready to take on that burden, but I need you to come back down. Just for a minute. I need to tell you something, face to face."

It's a gamble, a risk, but one he's determined to see through. His expression is plainly visible, sincere as he can be. "Please."

Rachel Roth has posed:
    Gar is being bold. This isn't really good for his health, but for the continued health of a rejuvenated Titans, it's probably a good thing. These two interlopers, though, Raven doesn't have much mind for them.

    One of them manages to speak, though, so she directs her attention to those very, very unfortunate words. "Oh yes, it turns. And here we were, practically -begging- others like us to take a seat. We said they'd be okay. We said they'd be happy here. We never said we'd be the ones to push them off the ride. Perhaps we should have?"

    Shifting her gaze to Colette, Raven's expression shifts slightly. "But, the lights going out, you have no idea how close to that you -really- are." For a tiny, singular, fraction of a second, there are four eyes upon Raven's visage. Momentarily, she is even smiling.

    It happens just as Gar's courage is worked up again. For only this tiny iota of time, the presence not necessarily of Trigon, but of what Raven would -be- if she gave in, -when- she gave in, is there. It's horrible. It's like a living nightmare. The death of a universe. The Daughter of the Demon, and the Demon Itself- it is there. For Gar and perhaps Terry, it is just a redoubling- perhaps retripling- of the oppression that Raven's presence in this state brings. For those psychically active, it is a glimpse into horrors untold. A momentary eye into an unmaking of all that Is, and all that will be. The tiniest fragment of what Raven holds at bay every moment of every day.

    Untold Death, untold Pain, encompassing all that exists. For eternity.

    However, Gar- whether it be because he's stupid, or just lucky that he's not psychic, or just that he doesn't know what's beneath the surface and therefore can't actually realize it- soldiers on. It pulls her back from that precipice, if only because it shifts her attention from the apocalyptic.

    The shape that Raven has become shifts and seems to, despite its invisibility, coil upon itself like a snake, bringing her head dangerously close to Gar's. She's back to two eyes. That's good.

    "What could -you- possibly have to say to -me?-"

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    For the briefest moment, Raven's four-eyed smile meets the flicker of another smile. To a significant part of Colette, what Raven offers doesn't seem so much a threat as fulfilment.

    Maybe it's not /enough/. Maybe it doesn't go far enough. This darkness... this darkness is demonic. It's not the final darkness. An eternity of pain, of death, of blood? No, that should only be a means to and end. It seems somehow... naive, to Colette. What's the point? Just changing one state into another. It doesn't /resolve/ anything. Why turn the light to the crimson red of blood, when you can snuff it out altogether?

    It's only a part of Colette that thinks that way though. The rest wants to see the carousel turning. Maybe even wants to help the carousel turn.

    That merest hint of a smile fades quickly from Colette's lips, and she remains silent, eyes on Garfield.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
It is like staring into the death of death. It is a horror that is too large, too ancient for Terry's mind to really grasp and comprehend. Were it not for the fact that his legs are holding him up, he would collapse upon the ground, his being shrinking in protest and recognition of something that wants him to not exist.

As Gar leaves him to close the gap even further, there is an edge of terror dancing in his brain that almost pushes him to surrender. Almost.

Some of the theories about our universe say that first there was a lot of nothing, which exploded.

This theory isn't quite accurate. The universe, some believe, wasn't born out of nothingness, but out of a primordial force of perpetual change that is constantly altering, ever constant in its lack of constancy. This, some have named chaos. To be honest, it has gotten a lot of bad press- some of it deserved, a good amount of it not.

When Terry's human mind and soul cower in the face of this soul-shattering horror, there is suddenly something /else/ there that makes itself known, that rears its head and answers.

It's a good thing Colette and Gar are not looking at Terry right now, because his expression would have puzzled them. He is smiling. It isn't a boastful smile, or even a particularly happy smile, but it is the kind of serene smile you would see on a Taoist master. Or certain illustrations on certain books.

Beware the Jabberwock, my son
The claws that catch, the jaws that bite
Beware the JubJub bird
And shun the frumious Bandersnatch...

The lines of a poem he can't remember, and whose lines are completely nonsensical, bring him a strange sense of comfort. He feels he is not alone-- which, really, he isn't physically... but more importantly, that he isn't alone inside himself.

From somewhere, it's as if the laughter of the universe is looking at the death of the universe, shrugging, and saying 'Well, that's the way the cosmic paradigm crumbles!'

And there's something incredibly, unusually liberating at that.

So Terry doesn't run to Garfield as he would have just a few moments before, following the terror-filled urge to try to keep him safe. Because he couldn't keep him safe from Raven. There was, literally nothing he could do to affect Raven. All he could control was himself. And if they were all going to be erased, right here and right now, then the only important thing was what he would choose to do with his last seconds.

"You are loved," he says very quietly. Just who exactly is the recipient of those words might be up for debate.

Gar Logan has posed:
This is borderline more dangerous than Gar was expecting. He knew things weren't good with Raven, knew for a while, but he wasn't sure just how bad they truly were. It has him certain that what he's about to do is as right as can be, whether it's the last thing he does or not. If it is, maybe he wouldn't be going out the smartest person in history, but he couldn't be faulted for trying to do something good.

He just has to get that far first.

Deep breaths. Focus. Focus harder than ever before, because as far as he knows, everything the Titans were, are, and might be hangs in the balance here and now. It's impossible for him to look comfortable, like this is anything normal or natural. He's scared, but he's too far to turn back now. That would just reinforce the image Raven seems to have of him as spineless, quick to run away from bad things.

"I was happy here. I was happier here than any other time in my life, because I had a real family and real friends. What happened never changed that." He pauses as the signs of Trigon show more strongly, and /that/ is what almost gets him to tuck tail and run. He hesitates, freezes like he did on the beach filming the PSA, like he did at other times, in other ways. He knows what resides within Raven, knows how close she can be to losing out to that darker side, how much effort she has to put in to keep it under control. And she's been alone with that for so long.

The shape she provides for him might not be everything he was hoping for, but it'll have to do. It might take her doing a little more, but the moment comes.

"Just this. I'm sorry, Raven. I'm sorry for leaving you alone with all of the nightmares and bad stuff. I'm sorry I thought everything would be fine the more time went by. I know you think I'm a useless idiot and a moron and maybe I am for even trying this, but I want to be here to help everyone, especially you. I had no idea you were still going through all of this so bad."

Fool or not, it's what leads to him stepping into that presence, eyes closed, no matter how 'there' Raven is or not, and simply trying to give her a hug. If she lets him, it might just be the firmest embrace she's ever felt.

If he remains on this earthly plane, that is.

Rachel Roth has posed:
    For two years, the door has been open a crack. It was the most she could do when she truly lost all sense of herself, to keep Him at bay only enough that she physically -struck- Doomsday, hard enough to send him, momentarily unconscious, to Metropolis proper.

    For that half-minute, this universe was doomed. That gap was never closed. Raven never sought therapy, there was never any resolution. For two years, she has not heard anything from her Father aside from the barest chuckle when she forced him out of her mind and body- the confident laugh of someone who has won.

    He is not convincing, anymore. Not corrupting. Not coercing. He is just waiting.

    The depth that she has fallen manifests itself in her thoughts immediately following Gar's embrace.

    She could kill him. It probably wouldn't even require any real effort. She could put what's inside, outside, and in the doing cover these two new people in what remained of the Titans' heart. For a second- and, really, it is as worryingly long as it is short- she considers that that might be an effective message.

    It spreads, too. Raven knows nothing of what these two can do, and that inspires a level of Pride. She could kill all of them, and call Nightwing. She could see what happens when, as the barest fragments of hope have begun to burn again in his chest, he returns to the Tower to find an incomprehensible mess that had once been living things. How she'd challenge him, then, to pick apart what's left and find out who they were, and how many had been there.

    However, luckily for all of those present- herself perhaps most of all- that thought ends up being drowned out in a million shades of her own voice, shouting it back into the void.

    Raven seems altogether human-shaped, after a moment. Standing there, in the darkness. Embraced by Gar, the signal that at least -something- has worked to -some- degree is that Gar can feel that he is embracing a very human, very female shape.

    "Happiness. What torrid foolishness." All of a sudden, Raven is no longer being embraced by Gar. She is six feet away, towards where she arrived.

    "I won't have any part in it."

    That she disappears into the darkness and leaves them alone is the same result as before- yet, she didn't remove anyone, the universe is still here, and nobody is dead that wasn't dead before. So, it can be assumed, that Raven has acquiesced at least to the idea of housing more people in need.

    Whether she will do much other than that, is uncertain.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    When it's all over, when Raven is gone and the darkness repeated, Colette gives a little sniff. Then she punches Gar.

    Not hard. It's a friendly sort of punch.

    "Good going, Garfield. You uh... won? Not the right word. You... did it. Whatever 'it' is. You didn't make anyone laugh, but you did it anyway. More to you than you thought, I guess."

    Colette stares in the direction Raven vanished. "Why's she hiding in the darkness? What's she hiding from?" she wonders, shaking her head. "It's easier to hide in the light..."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Now that everything is back to 'normal' , something inevitable happens. That something is that Gar gets tackled by a hugging Terry, who is no longer in the throes of some philosophical Master Zen Dao Meow-type paradigm shift. He's just a teenager who is still coming down from a terror 'high', and worried.

"I'm so glad you're alright," Terry says.

He thought Garfield had been damaged. He had no idea what Raven went through. What she was currently going through. There was damaged, and then there was... that.

He finds himself hugging Garfield a little tighter when his mind tells him that it can't think of any way anyone could help Raven...

"... whou could ever get through to her..."

Gar Logan has posed:
Gar Logan braces himself for the worst, because there is a part of him that understands: this could easily go south in the blink of an eye. He could be ended, just like Dove and Kole. Only, this would have been by the demonic hand of someone he had once called friend, teammate, even family.

But there is contact made, whether it lasts for seconds or more than that. A leap of faith, rewarded in the sense Raven did not give in to that darkness, even if she did not fully embrace the light or even come all that close to standing in it. How much of her she allowed him to see, that won't be known immediately. Some things take time.

Once she's slipped out of the hug, there's a moment where Gar almost stumbles forward with his arms wrapped around nothing, but he catches himself. Eyes snap back open when Colette hits him, leading to a rapid blinking and a look around. Just a glimpse of Raven before she's gone, back into whatever depths of the Tower she takes up, and he eyes Terry as well.

Then he's on the ground with an "Oof!"

Squirming, he tries to extract himself, and only after landing does a deep breath finally escape him. "C'mon, let me up. I just did what I thought was right, and I think that was as much of a blessing from her as we're gonna get and I think things are gonna be all right and I also think I need to change my underoos now."

Thankfully, that seems to be an exaggeration.