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Cold Weather Friend

One of the things not in the “Welcome to Xavier’s Academy” orientation pack that Doug had received on his first day on campus was any mention of the local weather, and the pack had included sections on everything from the correct form of address should one happen upon the Majestrix of the Shi’ar Imperium on the school grounds, to the proper etiquette for teleporting into a schoolmates private quarters.

It was his new friends who had warned him about the Xavier microclimate.

He’d given them his, by now trademark, “Really?” expression. Xavier’s was less than ten miles from his old school, how different could it be?

The answer was, of course, a lot.

In her day, Ororo Monroe, the X-Man known as Storm had effortlessly commanded every sort of weather you could name, and whilst normally she was scrupulous about not messing with local weather patterns, or at least arranging things so that the patterns were moved BACK as soon as possible, there had been occasions when she’d had to react rather than plan, and as a result weather around the Xavier School had a tendency to be… eccentric.

Ororo (and the part of Doug’s brain that he had come to realise was linked to his translation powers supplied the word Beauty, in at least one Kenyan dialect) no longer had her powers, but there still seemed to be something screwy with the weather around the school. Most people didn’t talk about it in case it caused her painful memories, but some of them had noticed.

So Doug shouldn’t have been surprised when he went for a morning walk before class, to find that what had been a fresh but sunny autumn morning was now more than slightly chilly… to the extent he could now see his breath fogging in front of his face and he shivered within his thin, not-as-adequate-as-it-had-seemed-a-couple-of-minutes-ago, sweater.

Kitty Pryde had told him that it was advisable, every now and again, to be alone for a little while, to put the outlandish facts of being affiliated with Charles Xavier and his mission in their proper perspective. She did it herself, her “outsider days” she called them. It had seemed like good advice, so he thought he’d try it too.


Well, so much for THAT plan. He turned to see his fellow student Warlock hopping towards him from the grounds around the school, his black and gold form currently looking like a seven foot rabbit. Either Warlock had been reading cereal packets again (Who knew Sam Guthrie would be such a glutton for Trix?), had been watching “Harvey” again, or had been on one of his impromptu nature walks.

Doug had quickly given up trying to get Warlock to call him “Doug”, it was just how Warlock’s language defined his worldview; “Self” and “Not Self”, “Friend” and “Foe” and the rest were equally informative prefixes and suffixes, he used them as metatex… he stopped himself. Class was out of session for the moment, and he could stop analysing languages if he wanted to.

Warlock was perhaps the most fascinating person/being Doug had ever imagined, nothing about him stayed constant, and yet he was always unmistakably himself. A mere three months go, Doug would not have imagined being able to even think that last thought, now it was second nature.

“Wait for self, Selffriendcypherdoug!” was followed by distinct “BOING!” sounds as the rabbit bounded along after him.

Warlock’s voice sounded electronic, filtered, but never sounded entirely synthetic, he sounded a bit like Sparky’s Magic Piano most of the time, or any one of a dozen robot voices Doug had heard on television or seen at the movies, and yet, it didn’t sound quite like any of those.

It had taken Doug a little while to work out what sounded odd about his friends voice, until he realised that it was the voice of someone who didn’t need to breathe, who didn’t even have lungs. Humans take a breath before speaking, and pause when they need to breathe as they converse, but people just edit out those little gaps as they hear them. Warlock just kept right on talking from beginning to end, it sometimes made listening to him a little exhausting.

“Salutations Selffriendcypherdoug! Is self functioning satisfactorily?”

“Hey, Warlock! Yes, fine thanks, and a good morning to you too. Just taking a walk. Clearing my head. You?”

“Self has spent friendsleeptime examining local life forms. Is selffriend aware of at least four thousand eight hundred and seventeen species of life in area designated Xaveierschool? Most are segmented hexapods! Shall self approximate appearance of them?”

“Bugs, Warlock, we call them bugs… well, insects is the proper name (Insect. Insecta, from Latin “insectum”, a calque of Greek “entomon”, English “Cut into sections”). And thanks, but no, I don’t think I need to see giant bugs at this time in the morning.” Doug shivered suddenly.

“Self perceives that selffriend is not at optimum body temperature for human comfort.”

“It’s nothing ‘Lock, just a bit of a chill in the air.” As he said that he realised that snowflakes were starting to fall in the immediate vicinity. Xavier’s Wacky Weather strikes again.

“This does not conform with selfs studies of human physiology and comfort. According to visual media,,,”,

Oh Lord thought Doug, he’s been watching TV again. This could lead ANYWHERE.

“… reduced temperature and atmospheric crystallised water requires warm clothing, often decorated with stylised depictions of quadrupeds with pointed cranial adornments”

“Reindeers”, Doug automatically translated to himself…

“Heated chocolate-flavoured beverages are also a statistical probability, as is communal singing around ornately decorated arboreal growth”

Ah, so Warlock had been watching Christmas specials… where on Earth would he have seen THOSE, give it was only September? Then he reminded himself that this was an alien who could actually BE his own satellite dish. He prayed that Warlock had either filtered out the adult channels, or had simply not understood them, because he was not prepared to have THE TALK with a technorganic alien, possibly of a gender which there was no human equivalent for… he’d rather leave THAT particular joy to Professor Xavier.

With a soft but insistent sound that made Doug think of rainsticks, the rabbit shape shifted, the black-etched-with-gold substance that was Warlock’s flesh (it might look like metal, but if asked to name what it felt like, the best Doug would have been able to come up with was “warm”) stretched into a new configuration; a long looping, snake like form. Warlock’s head manifested a grinning face as he spiralled around his friend, who wasn’t quite sure what to do… or what Warlock was about to do.

"If selfsoulfriend will not wear proper winter attire, the self will be proper winter attire!"

With that, he looped a length of himself around Doug’s neck, shifting shape, texture and colour to resemble nothing so much as a knitted scarf, and Doug had a sneaking suspicion a woolly hat would be following suit. The pseudo-wool felt warm to the touch too…

"…Thanks buddy. So… selfsoulfriend? eh"

“Affirmative. Selfsoulfriendcypherdoug risked lifestatus to offer lifeglow to self. Acknowledgement required. Self has decided on honorific.”

Doug smiled, and was grateful the cold would hide his blush. If Kitty got some value out of her “outsider days”, then good for her… as for himself, maybe he hadn’t reached the point where he needed one just yet. If the choice was spending time discussing life with a shapechanging alien who was already his best friend, or isolating himself for the sake of some navel-gazing then there wasn’t really much of a choice as far as he could see.

As Doug walked on, chatting amiably with a being from the other side of the galaxy, he settled his selfsoulscarf snugly around his shoulders and didn’t even make a mention as he felt a woolly hat start to form on his head. Well, it WAS snowing.

This piece was inspired by this delightful commission from Leigh Wortley (aka stem-cell)
stemcell Doug and Warlock 1280
The Green Eyed Monster

I don't own any of these characters, and I promise I'll give them back when I'm finished.

This whole thing is based on a single line in Devin Grayson's Titans #1. It's a scene we never saw in any title, but try to imagine the fun it would have been if we had!

"What home? New Tamaran was destroyed. She's been staying with me... On the couch!" - Dick Grayson, Titans #1, 1998

When Dick had mentioned, whilst running out of the building, late for his shift with the BPD yet again, that he'd be having a houseguest for a little while, Bridget Clancy hadn't minded in the slightest. He was a good tenant, regular payer, and fell into her category of "one of the nice guys" so chances were his friends would be fine too.

"Isn't it the job of a landlord to be accomodatin' Dick?" she'd said with a smile. As he rolled his eyes she shrugged "And you'll be tellin' me next you never made a bad pun in your life?"

This time his look was unreadable, but he was muttering under his breath as he dashed off again.

The last couple of guests he'd had over had been fine. The older one, Bruce Something-or-other, whom Dick had introduced like a proud son, had struck her as being basically decent, not to mention devastatingly handsome, if not the sharpest knife in the kitchen. She was enough of a people watcher, what building super wasn't, to sense something underneath that. For starters she couldn't image Dick talking that warmly about anyone that apparently vapid, so there had to be more to "Bruce" than the nice-but-dim appearance and a suit that probably cost more than six months rent.

And Dick's "little brother" Tim had been cute too, quiet and watchful, much like Dick, and with a face like that he'd be breaking hearts all over Gotham soon if he weren't already. She knew Dick had been an only child, which made it nice that he'd made time to join the Big Brother scheme, even if it was for someone based in another city

So she wasn't sure who it would be that Dick had visiting, but she couldn't see it being a problem. She put it out of her mind and forgot about it amidst the other hundred and one chores and studies that took up her time.

The following morning that she went to check the wiring in Dick's room. She didn't have any classes until the afternoon and, despite the recent refit, she still took a professional interest in the fittings in her apartments.

As she approached the door she was trying hard not tiptoe. She lived in hope that someday she'd be able to surprise Dick properly. It was like a game between them, he moved so quietly in his apartment that she could never be entirely sure that he was even there half the time. It was like she'd rented the place out to some sort of ninja.

Half-listening, and that was NOT the same eavesdropping she told herself, she could hear the shower running. That boy took more showers than any human being she'd ever met. She knocked at the door and waited for him to answer, certain that this time she'd caught him out.

When the door opened she certainly did not expect to find herself face to... well... bust, of the tallest woman she'd ever seen in her life.

She had to be well over six and a half feet tall, and most of that seemed to be leg, perfectly formed leg too, more than seemed entirely fair to Clancy. The woman had a towel wrapped around her middle, and another was around her hair. Her skin, and there was a lot of it on show, was a warm copper colour. She was still dripping somewhat from the shower and for some reason was wearing dark glasses.

She was, if not the most incongruous sight she'd ever come across, certainly in Clancy's top ten.

"Oh hello" the woman sounded completely calm "You must be the building super Dick told me about you. He's working the early shift today. I was thinking about coming down to say hi, but I guessed you must be busy."

Clancy kept telling herself that Dick was a tenant, and one who paid on time too, his private life was his own.

Dick's life may be his own affair, but he might have told her, as a pizza buddy if nothing else.

She tried hard to keep prudishness out of her voice but had a feeling she was starting to sound like her mother, "Well he managed to avoid telling me about you, miss...?"

"Kory Anders, please call me Kory."

The woman's name struck a chord with Clancy. She'd get it in a moment.

"And you? Do you prefer Bridget, or Clancy?"

So Dick had told the woman about her. Fair enough.

"Clancy's just fine with most people, and I don't see why you should be any different." Damn, she was usually able to say that with a smile. It wasn't like she felt intimidated by this.... Enormously tall, perfectly formed, suntanned amazon with a killer smile, wandering around in a bathrobe... No, not intimidated at all.

"Would you like to come in? I hadn't anything planned for today until Dick gets back and I'd love the company. Perhaps some tea?"

And she was being charming too! "That would be nice, thank you."

"I'll just put the kettle one and then get dressed. I shan't be a moment."

Clancy made herself comfortable whilst the woman went off into the bedroom. She could see that the couch had been slept on but couldn't tell who had been on it. It somehow made her feel better. (Nope, still not intimidated). Looking at the couch more closely she spotted a reddish brown hair and plucked it off. It was only when she realised that it was over three feet long she started to get a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. This should mean something to her, but what.

When Kory emerged a couple of minutes later she was wearing a simple shift dress in white. It was elegant, showed off her body and her colour to spectacular effect and she seemed totally unaware of just how good it made her look. On the other hand, thought Clancy, with a body like that she could probably wear a couple of sacks and still make Marilyn Monroe look like Marilyn Manson. She was just finishing towelling off her hair.

Then she looked up and saw the woman had taken off her glasses and Clancy could have slapped her forehead at not recognising Dick's guest before.

The woman had green eyes, but not just green eyes, GREEN eyes. No pupil, no iris, no white, just a solid emerald green colour. And the hair that was now hanging loosely down her back was a solid mass of rich golden brown.

"Oh bloody hell!"

"I can put the glasses back on if you prefer?" the alien asked. She didn't look so much surprised as disappointed.

"No, no, I'm sorry, that wasn't why I said it. Whatever you're comfortable with. I was annoyed with myself because I can't believe I didn't recognise you just because you were wearing glasses."

"You'd be surprised some of the people I know who say the same thing."

"Sorry Miss Anders, it's just I've never had a real supermodel in my house before. And of all the models it could have been it's Kory Anders, 'The Hair''". She recalled that had been the name the paperazzi had given her. Most models had an identifying feature; Kate Moss had been "The Waif", Twiggy had been, well "The Twig", Kory Anders had been, for very obvious reasons, "The Hair".

Realising it mght be somewhat gauche she asked "Umm... You don't mind me calling you that do you?"

"Well I do have a lot of hair, so I suppose it fits, but I prefer Kory. I have to say that this is practically a first for me too Clancy."


"Because most people think of the work I did as a superhero before my modelling career."

"Not me. Not that I've got anything against you being a superhero or anythin' but... well, this'll probably sound totally nuts, me bein' a grown woman and all, but I was always a fan."

Kory looked pleased "Thank you. It's nice to meet someone who isn't an adolescent male or a professional photographer saying that."

"You get it a lot I guess."

"Actually, since I've been back, not really, fashion is a fast moving business, and at the moment I'm a bit... dated. Like my wardrobe." She looked down at the dress frowning slightly. "I took some of my stuff out of storage when I got back. I like to travel light, but a photographer friend kept most of my belongings for me."

"Believe me.. Kory, There isn't a sane person on the face of this, or any other, planet who would believe that that look was dated seeing you wear it."

Kory dimpled dazzingly (as Clancy was sure she would, Kory probably even belched prettily, and there she was again, going on the defensive for no reason).

"Thank you. Dick is always complimentary about what I look like, but I'm never sure whether he's just being nice or feels it's safer. He's that kind of guy."

"All men are, if they're smart, and Dick is definitely smart. But he's also right."

"Will you be doing more modelling now you're back here Kory?"

"I'm not really sure."

"I hope you do, I have to say that you helped me quite a bit when I was younger.

"Really? How?"

Clancy sighed, this was going to sound SOOOO dumb. "I don't think I need to tell you that there's not much room for fantasy in Bludhaven. Kory. Some try to find escape in books, or drink or sometimes drugs. With me it was the glossies, the fashion magazines.

"When I got to America for the first time I was homesick as all get out, I grew up in Ireland, and it's nothing like Bludhaven, well, not the part I grew up in anyway. It wasn't that I was that bothered with the clothes, but I could see a lifestyle that I'd never have, and I could be there, even if it was only for a few minutes. You were even more than that though, you were a real live alien princess, with superpowers! Who doesn't dream about that kind of life when they're younger."

Well, actually I was college age, but we don't need to go into that do we, Clancy added silently to herself.

Kory had a wistful expression. "That's nice of you to say so. We all have times like that Clancy. We all have our little escapes into fantasy when times are bad for whatever reason. With me it was always the dirthals."

"Excuse me?"

"Dirthals, they're a type of animal that live... lived on my homeworld of Tamaran. They were these small, blue, fuzzy animals with long snouts and short legs. Kind of plump and slow-moving and VERY cute. When you were little you couldn't help but worry about them, they looked so helpless.

"During the summer they'd waddle up to the edge of cliffs and just throw themselves off them. All my friends and I were so shocked by that the first time they saw them, but then we saw that the reason dirthals looks so plump is that they have their wings folded around them most of the time. They'd unfold these huge gossamer wings and then they could glide for hours on the thermals with almost no effort, looking as if they were loving every minute of it. During the bad times I'd remember them. I'd think about how they always managed to turn something that looked like it was going to be a disaster into something almost magical. Imagining them got me through som... very tough times."

From her tone Clancy could guess that Kory's idea of "tough" was a lot worse than anything she could imagine, and didn't interrupt.

Kory continued, "...of course the REAL drawback to them was that at certain times of year, flying anywhere near a cliff meant it was almost impossible to avoid getting dirthal poop in your hair. But they were cute little things all the same." She laughed as she saw the look on Clancy's face. "Sorry, couldn't resist."

"..and someday a lemming will fly." Clancy recalled the phrase.

"Pardon me?" Kory looked curious.

"Sorry, didn't realise I'd said that out loud. I heard it somewhere. Lemmings are these little animals that supposedly throw themselves off cliffs and commit suicide. Someone once said that the laws of evolution would ultimately mean that someday a lemming would fly."

"So that's what a lemming was, I always did wonder what Victor meant when he told Gar to turn into one. "

"Ummm, the big metal guy and the cute green kid that grinned a lot right?"

"Yes, that's them. Don't get the wrong idea, Victor didn't REALLY mean for Gar to hurt himself, but Gar could be...." She was waving her hands vaguely clearly trying to find a put down that wouldn't sound too cruel.

Clancy shrugged, "It's okay Kory, I have family like that too. Tenants too, come to that. I'll let you into a secret, I had a bit of a crush on Changeling at one time. He had a really cute smile, which was nice, and rich which was also nice, and green, which was well... different. Best of all he just didn't seem to care what other people thought of him being green. For a Chinese girl already confused enough with an Irish accent that was very reassuring."

Kory shrugged in return, only she managed to turn it into something that would leave any straight guy Clancy could think of a panting heap on the floor. "I never really thought about the fact he was rich, or even green, quite a few people I've met have been. The fact he was prepared to make a complete stranger like me feel so welcome seemed a lot more important than anything else. By the way, remind me to tell you a story about Garfield sometime. Judging by the accent I think you'd like it. It involves Garfield, a pair of "Spock" ears and the St Patrick's Day parade."

"He always struck me as being kind of like "Concentrated essence of kid brother"? Annoying as hell but you got to love him because he's family?"

"Yes, you do. Family is very important."

As she said this, Kory's brow furrowed slightly. Clancy guessed that whatever else Kory might be, she was probably a truly lousy poker player, she had the most expressive face of anyone she'd ever met. She found herself watching that perfect face closely, the muscle groups under the skin were almost the same as a human's, but not quite. You wouldn't notice it until you sat and talked to her like this, but sometimes her face moved slightly... differently.... She pulled herself out of her med student mindset.

"If you don't mind me asking. How do you know Dick?" This was the $64,000 question, so might as well ask it outright.

"Oh, we used to date. Back when he lived in New York for a while. We met socially, and we just seemed to click."

"Really? Sorry, that came out sounding wrong, he's a great fella, I know. He didn't mind the, y'know, being a superhero AND a supermodel too."

Kory drew on the backstory she and Dick had established years ago. "Well, to be honest Dick was never really comfortable with the heroing part of my life, he worried about me so much that we didn't talk about it very often. I always liked to keep that part of my life out of my private life."

"That can't have been easy."

"It's part of why we eventually broke up. He worried about me being a hero, and I worried about him being a target BECAUSE I was a hero. It was hard for both of us to admit to it but our goals were so different."

"It's hard to believe Dick had goals that far back. He seemed so unfocussed when he got here, nice, but no real aspirations. First he wanted to be a writer, then a barman, then a cop, of all things, and in Bludhaven of all places."

Kory gave a quirky smile, "Dick can be a strange man sometimes, but he always meant well. And to be fair, he was always a good writer, when the mood took him." His case notes had always been meticulously exhaustive at any rate, so it wasn't a complete lie.

Mischievously she added "Ask him to read you some of his poetry sometime." That ought to keep Dick busy some night, she thought, making up verse in case he needs to quote it at short notice.

"I hope you don't think I was prying. I didn't mean to open old wounds."

"It's okay, we had fun together, but it's over now and he's still one of my best friends. That's more than most ex-couples have."

"Didn't you date one of the Titans's too?"

"Yes, I dated a couple of them actually. First it was Robin and after he left the team, Nightwing."

Clancy rolled her eyes "Please, I'm not that ignorant Kory. I know they were the same person."

"Were they? What makes you say that?" Kory gave her quirky smile again, she knew a lot of people had guessed the link but it never struck them as important. She was always interested to know how they made the connection though.

"Well, a guy can change his name and his outfit and even his hair, but he couldn't change a butt like that, now could he?"

Kory laughed out loud, and Clancy liked the sound of it. It wasn't quite a human laugh, the way her voice was, it had another sound underlying it, almost a purr. A young Eartha Kitt with a higher register.

Kory leaned over conspiratorially to Clancy and whispered "Okay, they're the same guy, but if you ever see Nightwing, don't tell him I told you!"

Clancy laughed in return. If someone had told her a couple of hours ago she'd discussing the merits of superheroic bums with an alien supermodel then she'd have laughed in their face. Now it seemed natural, Kory was incredibly easy to talk to, open and especially charming because she never realised she was being charming.

"Actually, I was quite the social butterfly on Earth. I had so much to learn about your culture and peoples and if I got a date at the same time, then that was a plus too. Even if he was boring, at least we both usually got a meal out of it."

"But Dick?"

"Dick was special."

"Weren't you engaged to be married to someone at one point? The gossip columns were full of it for a while. Some young stud from Gotham wasn't it.. Started with an R.... Robert? Ricky? No, Richard it was definitely Richard.."

The smile fell from her face and Clancy's eyes bugged out as realisation struck. "Mother of God! I must be the densest human being on the face of the Earth! You were engaged to Richard Grayson. I never once made the connection, never thought to... The papers always called him "Richard" in the announcements, but I always just think of him as Dick."

She caught Kory's expression and shut up quickly. Those wide, impossibly green eyes conveyed sorrow and deep hurt as easily as good humour.

"I'd really rather not talk about that if you don't mind. It's a painful part of my life, and I know it hurts Dick too, so I'd be grateful if you didn't discuss it with him either."

Clancy was mortified "Of course I won't. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you, letting myself just keep on gossiping like that."

"You didn't mean any harm, so I won't blast you through the wall."

"Um, could you?"

"Oh yes, without too much trouble. But I was taught better than that, and my teachers were very strict about such things."

"Yeah nuns can be like that on Earth too."

"I was talking about the Warlords of Okaara"

"They sound like an indie band. I was talking about the Sisters of Perpetual Mercy at the Magdalen School for Girls, Derry. I'd put odds on them against any Warlord you care to mention." Clancy rolled her eyes at the memory.

"I love the way you humans can do that," said Kory, in a conversational tone.

For a moment Clancy had forgotten that Kory wasn't human, yes the eyes and all were different, but everything else about her was so human. She wondered if that might be viewed as insult, so decided not to say it out loud.

Instead she asked "Do what?"

"Move your eyes like that. I know I shouldn't say it, but it's the one thing I always find a little strange about humans; their eyes."

Clancy had to admit she'd never thought of it from that viewpoint.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I love the fact your people's eyes come in so many different colours, on my world you only really get green like mine and sometimes blue, but it's the white bits around the edges that make the difference. That and the way your eyes dart around all over the place when you're looking around."

"Don't yours? I mean don't your eyes move in their sockets when you look round?"

"Actually, no. The entire surface of Tamaranean eyes is photo-receptive and we don't have optic muscles like that because we never needed them."

"Sorry to keep on, but it's the medical student in me, I keep thinking along the lines of anatomy term papers."

"Believe me, there are whole teams of scientists at STAR Labs who have the same idea. They look at me, they see papers and treatises and doctorates."

Clancy blushed even harder "Sorry, I didn't mean to come over all 'Roswell autopsy' on you."

"It's okay, I'm used to it" She leaned forward again, and grinned ferally, "Actually, there's a little story about me and human eyes you might like. The first human I made a real "connection" with was Robin. He was the one I learned English from and things, you know what first drew me to him?"

"Those feathered pants?"

Kory chuckled, "Well, those certainly didn't hurt his case, but no. It was his eyes."

"Didn't he wear one of those... oh, what do you call them,,, dominey masks?"

"That's 'domino', and he did, but it had lenses fitted to it so you couldn't see his actual eyes behind them, but I didn't know about that at the time. I'd never met a normal human before, most of the Titans weren't exactly the norm, so all I could see what that his eyes were totally white behind his mask. I thought 'Well, that's a strange colour, but at least they look almost normal.'"

Clancy laughed again, she'd never stopped to think that for all the things humans had to get used to about aliens, the reverse was also true (Admittedly it wasn't a situation she'd ever found herself in before). "So were you disappointed the first time you saw Robin without his mask? When you saw he had human eyes like all the others?"

A nostalgic look came over her face, "Believe me, there was nothing to be disappointed in on that score."

"It's sounds silly but I always hoped he have brown eyes."

"Oh? Why?"

"Because there are so many blue eyed heroes out there. It seemed liked all the "big ones" have blue eyes; Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman. At least with the ones in the masks there was hope for the brown eyed folks. And I just find brown eyes attractive".

Kory smiled, "Well, I really shouldn't be saying this, but if it makes you feel any better, Robin had the most amazing brown eyes you ever saw. Chocolate brown and VERY sexy. I was so distracted by them that I hardly even noticed his wig..."

Kory was never comfortable lying, and not just because wasn't terribly good at it. A little white lie wouldn't hurt though, and if it deflected any attention from Dick, well that was a bonus.

"A wig!"

Success, thought Kory, rather pleased with herself. That bit of gossip would distract Clancy for a long time.

"Of course. You don't think he just relied on that little mask to hide what he looked at did you? And I..." she deliberately caught herself, "...think that's all I can tell you about that side of things."

The talk of hair though, had drawn Clancy to another topic. Kory's hair, when she had first dropped by, had been wrapped in neatly a fairly small bath towel, but now as it dried it was, and there really was no other word for it, ballooning until it was nearing the bulk and length she was used to seeing in the old fashion pictures, it was perhaps no wonder she hadn't recognised her instantly. It would be like trying to recognise Naomi Campbell if she were bald.

"Speaking of alien physiology, I have to ask. How on earth does your hair do that?"


"When it was wet, it didn't look very bulky, but now it's dried it's all over the place."

"Oh that, It's just a natural thing. Our hair is very fine and springy compared to human hair, so when it's wet it all clumps together, but when it dries out it springs out and apart again. If it was as thick or heavy as human hair I don't think I'd be able to stop my head falling back with the weight of it all!"

Feeling it was time to move back onto slightly deeper topics again Clancy thought of another question.

"So, why did you come to Earth again? If you don't mind me asking"

Kory's face immediately fell again. "I lost my world, for the third time."

"Oh great," Clancy thought with a groan, "What have I asked this time? Out of the frying pan, into the Starfire, but I brought it up..."

Out loud she said, as gently as she could. "I'm sorry?"

Kory nodded "When I was young I lost my world when I was sold into slavery. I regained it, only to watch it, and my family, destroyed in a pointless, terrible war. And then we founded a new world, and we were starting to build a new home, and then it was destroyed too."

The sadness in her voice was almost more than Clancy could bear, but she sensed something else.

"You lost more that that this last time though, didn't you?" Clancy would never be certain why she was sure about that. She was loathe to use the term female intuition, but sometimes it worked. From the slight gasp that Kory gave, she knew she'd been right, though she'd hoped she'd been wrong.

Kory hung her head and nodded "I had lost my parents, and I thought that hurt more than anything ever could. But on New Tamaran, I lost not only a world, but a husband and... a child." The last word was barely a whisper and tears brimmed in her eyes.

Clancy went over and hugged the alien woman, who was starting to weep uncontrollably.

"I can tell you've been carrying that inside you for too long now Kory, haven't you. Do your friends know?"

"I think some of the Titans have guessed. I'm sure Troia knows, she suffered a similar loss not too long ago, but she's had so many problems recently that I can't burden her with mine. Dick knew I had married a man of my own kind, and that he died with New Tamaran, but he doesn't know about the baby, and I don't want him too either."

Clancy murmured "He won't find out from me, you have my word on that, Kory."

"I'm sorry to unload this on you, I mean I hardly know you, and I haven't been able to tell my oldest friends on this world"

"That's okay. Sometimes it helps to talk to a relative stranger, less baggage to bring to the table, less fear of recrimination. I've seen it a few times with my tenants in the past. You just cry if that's what you want."

It took more than a few minutes for Kory to stop crying, but Clancy just let her go on, occasionally murmuring something consoling sounding. When she did eventually stop, she straightened up, not quite shaking off Clancy's hug, but making it clear that this session of emotion was over.

Clancy tried to find another opening gambit.

"So tell me more about your time with the Titans, or your times with Dick, if you like. You must have some stories to tell..."

Kory dabbed at her eyes and forced a smile "Only if you tell me about your growing up. I've not met many people from Ireland, and I want to hear all about it.... Oh, and I do have some stories about Dick you might like too.."

- - - -

It was several hours later when Dick returned to his apartment to find Kory and Clancy sprawled on the couch, chatting away like long lost sisters. Kory's charms had done it again he though to himself. Judging by the number of dirty coffee cups on the floor, which he somehow knew he'd be washing, they'd been talking for a long time. This was not necessarily a good thing when one is a woman you almost married, and the other is.... well, Clancy. The potential for long-term embarrassment was very high.

They turned to face him in unison, the ever elegant Kory, and the "not caring if her dungarees are covered in paint" Clancy, both with matching grins plastered across their faces. This was also not a good thing, in his experience.

Clancy sketched a rough shape in the air that Dick couldn't quite make out and managed to get out between giggles "He really was..?"

Kory, already laughing the throaty laugh that could still drive Dick wild inside, nodded, clearly not trusting herself to speak for another moment "...and nothing else other than his socks!"

They dissolved again, leaning helplessly against each other. Every time it looked like they might quiet down, one or other would point at him, make that sketching shape, (and he STILL couldn't work out what it was supposed to be) and set the other off again.

He attempted to take control of the situation.

"So ladies, I see you've met. And what, pray tell, might we have been talking about in my absence?"

"Socks" said Kory with a straight face, though only just.

"...and nothing else" screeched Clancy and then they were off again.

Dick sank into an available seat and held his head in his hands.

"Why do I have to be such a sucker for women with green eyes" he said to no one in particular. "Monsters, every one of them!"

And the rest of this scene you can make up for yourselves..... :)

No permission has been granted, no offence has been intended. I most definitely don't own any of these characters, but you knew that already, and no money is being made, so please don't sue!

Spoiler Warning! If you haven't watched "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker", then don't read this unless you are prepared to have several major plot points spoiled. Go out and watch the movie already, it's worth it, believe me!

This was also written before the first appearance of the Teen Titans in animated form, so any reference to characters who might have featured in that show are completely coincidental.

Okay, you were warned....Collapse )
On the other hand, if you want a dose of complete adoreableness...!Collapse )

If you'd rather see something a little less cute, but way cool, you can check out my most recent commission acquisition, which I'm rather pleased with!