'rith: ::looks sternly at Carmen:: You're not going to be satisfied until [Garth] sleeps with all of the Titans, are you? ::slow grin:: I may not, either....
Carmen: I'm not requiring him to sleep with Grant or Toni. Or Wally, although it's probably workable if you wanted. Everybody else, well...he *is* pretty cute....
'rith: Uh-huh... ::gets dreamy-eyed again::
'rith: ::musing:: Now, Garth and Donna...there's a PWP. Almost terminally sweet.

Centering

by 'rith



Archive: Ask first, please.
Fandom: Titans, modern 'verse. Set immediately after Titans #12 (the HIVE battle). Canon exception: Garth is not married to Dolphin, because, good lord, what a dreadful plot development THAT was. :p
Warnings: M/F sex.
Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics. What I have done with them is mine.
Thanks to: Carmen, from whose brain all plot bunnies hop. Oh, the prettiest lines are hers too, from her great beta.




All the way back to Titans' Tower the tension was palpable, setting their nerves on edge. It stemmed from the intensity of the fight itself, what Kory had done, what Roy had done--

*She* was still reeling from it all, and it didn't help that immediately after reaching the Tower it began.

"Can I talk to you for a minute, Donna?"

"Listen, I really need--"

"Donna, can you *believe* what she--"

It was too much.

"Listen, people! I am NOT the den mother here! Go talk to somebody *else!*" And she'd stormed off, angry and depressed and feeling the weight of the team on her shoulders.

She loved them all, she really did, but sometimes...sometimes she had to take a step back. To stop being Troia of the Titans for little while and just be Donna Troy.

Whoever *that* was.

Somehow she'd always been everyone's ear, the team counselor, and usually she didn't mind. Except she'd been feeling a little lost herself these days, and it was hard to find the patience and energy to start rebuilding herself when everyone was constantly knocking on her door for help with their own crises.

But this wasn't helping either, stewing about it alone in her room. She *needed* people, needed their warmth and friendship. That was only part of the reason why the Titans had always been such an important part of her life. But right now she needed that with no demands on it, no qualifiers, and she wanted--

Just to be *held,* dammit! And maybe...no, definitely. To be loved.

Determined now, she showered away the stink of battle and threw on some casual clothes. She wasn't the angel or the saint or the excruciatingly perfect "good girl" everyone thought she was, she was a flesh-and-blood woman with needs of her own. Right now she was in dire need of comfort, and reassurance, and love--and she knew where precisely to find them.

Without hesitating she left her quarters and went down the stairs to her teammate's door. It opened to her knock. "Hi."

"Donna! Come in." She took a moment to appreciate the view: Garth was only wearing a pair of sweatpants, and his hair was wet. That made sense; he'd probably gone straight to the shower when they got back. A lot of the time the others forgot that his Atlantean heritage made his being out of water for long periods of time uncomfortable, and even dangerous.

But he'd come back to the Titans anyway, just like she always did. The team was home in a way that no number of years or changes could alter. They were all part of each other...more than teammates, more than friends.

He was looking at her closely now, purple eyes full of concern. That connection didn't let them hide from each other, either. "...You look upset."

She nodded and took a surprisingly steady breath. " If you don't mind--I don't feel like being alone right now."

"Of course. Please, sit down. Can I get you--"

"No, you don't understand." To hell with subtlety. Donna moved deliberately into his space and kissed him firmly on the mouth. It was almost a shock, how strange it felt and how familiar; like the taste of him was something she'd always known and was only rediscovering. Sea and warmth and sweetness. Reluctantly she drew back from that warmth to look him in the eye. "I don't want to be *alone* right now."

There was surprise in his face, but not as much as she might have expected. That was Garth, though; all accepting, always calm. His hand came up to touch her cheek. "Donna...you're certain?"

"Yes. Please, Garth. I..."

"Shhh." He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her eyes, her cheeks, drifting slowly down until he caught her mouth with his own.




(later)

They lay together, sweat from their bodies cool in the night air drawn in by the Tower's recyclers. Donna pillowed her head contentedly on Garth's shoulder. "Why didn't we ever do this before?"

He considered the question seriously. "Because when we were very young I was too shy to barely look at you, never mind anything else, and later there was Tula and Terry, and later still...well." He hugged her to him. "Why now, Donna?"

She raised herself on one arm to look at him. "Because I need to feel loved, right now." He nodded soberly, and she smiled. "See? That's *exactly* why. You understand. "

"And...let me guess..." He raised a hand, counting off. "Roy is obviously out of the question at the moment, and Wally is...nowhere to be found." They were both silent for a moment, thinking of their missing friend. None of the Titans believed the Flash was dead--Wally had gone missing so many times before and always made it back, they held faith that this time, too, he would return. The "Flash" with the team now was tolerated warily, no substitute for the friend they missed. Donna alone had seen his face, and still barely believed the truth of his identity.

She shook her head, dismissing the thought. "He'd fall over in shock anyway. And Dick, well...I think he's concentrating on Barbara these days. Besides, he's got me firmly in his head as a 'sister.'"

"He had to, back then, to keep from fighting with Roy over you. That was the choice he made."

She nodded. "And he takes everything so...seriously."

"That's our Robbie." There was something rueful in his tone, and they exchanged a glance of total agreement.

"And Gar and Vic feel like *my* brothers, Grant and Toni are so young, Kory's...upset right now, and I don't know Jesse well enough to judge how she'd react." Donna shrugged, then flushed with sudden embarrassment. "I hope you don't think you were the last person I thought of...."

Garth smiled. "It didn't even cross my mind." He touched her cheek. "I'm glad I was here."

"Me, too." Donna slid over so her whole body rested comfortably on top of his. "What are we going to do, Garth?"

He raised an eyebrow. "Now?"

The gleam of wicked merriment in his eyes, in contrast to the studied innocence of his tone, surprised an answering laugh from her. She bit his shoulder lightly in mock-retribution before continuing. "No, I meant about the team. Everyone's upset with Roy and Kory--" including me, she added silently-- "and I don't know how to help..."

A long, thorough kiss stopped her words. When he finally pulled back, his voice washed over her, soothing and certain. " Right now, I think you should stop worrying about it."

"I'm sorry, it's just..."

"Donna." He held her gaze with his. "You are the very heart of this team. If anyone can bring the Titans through this, it will be you."

Her protest was immediate and automatic. "No, it's Dick who--"

"He is *not.*" Garth's tone was serious. "Dick has always been the team's finest leader and certainly indispensable; I'm not arguing that. But you have always been our center. And to misquote, the center cannot hold...if she is not herself balanced. We need you, and we need you badly. But you must care for your own heart first."

She was silent for a long moment. "I can't *deal* with this alone."

"You never have to. I'm flattered you came to me." He rubbed the strong muscles of her shoulders and back. "But it seems I haven't done enough; despite all my efforts, you're still tense."

"It's not you, believe me!" She smiled down at him. "I haven't felt this good in...a long time."

"Truthfully? Neither have I." Garth hugged her hard, Atlantean strength to Amazon muscles. "I love you, Donna."

"Love you, too." And it was such a relief to be able to say it, and have the other understand exactly *how.* Sometimes she remembered Paradise Island, even with her fragmented memory, and part of her missed the different ways it could be expressed with no misunderstanding.

But before that thought could turn into depression over all she'd lost, Garth had picked her up and carried her to the oversized tub in his bathroom and laid her gently down.

He slid in behind her so she could rest her head against his chest and she watched, nearly hypnotized by the warmth and steam and the strength of him holding her, as the water crept up their legs and filled the spaces between them.

"Relax," he murmured, and she tried, leaning back against him and closing her eyes. Even as comfortable as she was, she couldn't help worrying--

Behind her, she heard Garth sigh. "So stubborn." Before she could begin to apologize he brought his hands up to massage her temples. "Stop *thinking.*" He began to whisper in Atlantean, the words unimportant but the shape and texture of that liquid tongue making a soothing litany. Donna sank into it gratefully.

It was only gradually that she became aware his hands had begun to sweep over her body again, matching the cadence and tempo of his voice. Small currents in the water echoed the ripples of growing desire. She moaned softly, then more insistently as his seeking hands rediscovered the sensitive spot under her breasts, the tender skin of her inner thigh. His lips were still at her ear but she wasn't hearing, wasn't seeing, she was only feeling that touch, feeling his body respond to her passion, feeling herself rising to meet his hand, feeling the world narrow to a single point, feeling the wave wash through her, over her, gently drowning her fears.

And it was easy then to rise up, turning gracefully to straddle him, leaning forward for a kiss and easing down, that slow welcome feeling of being *filled* and desired. Gentle movements, finding the right angles, and he was gasping against her mouth. "Donna. Ohhh."

Falling into that leisurely rhythm again, except that suddenly he had pulled his lips away and taken her face in his hands. "Donna," his voice was a low rasp and urgent, "let go. I felt the way you held back before, even now--but you *won't hurt me.*"

She stared at him, astonished, and realized he was absolutely right. She'd always had to hold herself in control, Amazon strength wasn't meant for human flesh like Terry's or Kyle's or Roy's, but Garth *wasn't human.* Atlantean muscles shaped by the deep sea--

With him she could--

Gripping his shoulders she leaned in to kiss him again, this time hard, harder than she'd dared kiss anyone in a long time, and felt him meet her strength to strength. She lifted a little and came down with more force and cried out, hearing him echo her. "Yes!"

"Garth-- oh, Rhea-- hang on!" Her flight powers were an act of silent will and they rose as she wrapped her legs around him and drew him closer still. For a moment they hovered, intimately entwined, and then she began to fly a shaky path back to the bedroom. Unsteady because of the distraction of his hands, and his mouth, and his--

She lost control and they fell to the carpeted floor, neither hurt, both laughing. His hands came up to cup her face, drawing her down into another kiss. The touch of his tongue to hers made her gasp, her body sparking with sudden pleasure. She moved over him, *rode* him fiercely, letting all her usual restraint go in sheer primal release. Groaning now, almost sobbing with the intensity as she spiraled up and the world narrowed and there right there right--ah, *gods!*

Panting, she half-fell over him, aftershocks streaming through her.

Then his mouth was traveling down to her throat, recalling the way he'd traced her body so thoroughly earlier. His voice full of joy in her pleasure. "So beautiful, Donna..." His strong arms rolling them over so she was beneath him and he began to move on *her* and she felt another sudden swelling surge. She'd thought she was finished but her fingers were gripping at his back and she cried out again, not caring who might hear. She was rising again, meeting him thrust for thrust, bodies crashing together and not gentle at all but passionate and strong and love and desire and sheer *abandon* as the world went away in the force of her climax. Just as she'd needed it to.

Her next sensation was warmth and comfort, and she realized that he'd brought her back to the bed. How long had it been since she'd been this at ease, this thoroughly *relaxed,* not the exhaustion of battle and stress but true contentedness? It was this kind of relief her body had needed, had known even before she did.

Next to her and propped up on one elbow, Garth was gently stroking her hair, brushing it with his fingers. His words, when they came, were quiet, his violet eyes fixed intently on her. "Do you want to talk about it?"

She shook her head drowsily. "Mmm. Not now."

"But if you need to--"

Donna smiled at him, *not* feeling the need and reveling in its lack. "Yeah. I know."

"All right." He returned the smile and pulled her close, settling in. "Sleep, Donna. Rest in me."

The phrasing made her blink, but it was true. Safe in the refuge of his strength, his understanding and love, she sighed and let the pure quiet peace of it take her into sleep.




(morning)

No matter how deeply and comfortably she'd slept, she couldn't escape the horror of...morning breath. So much for her "perfect Donna" image. She smiled at Garth's sleepily blinking face and peeled herself away. "Be right back."

A few minutes later she returned, feeling a little shy. "Um--"

"Hmm? Oh." His look was both affectionate and ever-so-slightly amused. "After all this time, as if you'd have reason to be embarrassed. Never mind. Come back."

She snuggled into bed, his arms wrapping around her. "I guess...it's silly, but I was sort of feeling like I used you last night...."

He chuckled a little. "That's like--that story, what the rabbit said to the farmer. 'Please don't throw me into that briar patch.'" He kissed her forehead. "I have no complaints, believe me. And Donna..." he tilted her head up so she could see his eyes, "we're both aware of what this is, and what it isn't. You don't need to apologize, or feel guilty."

She smiled. "Okay." And just like that, she didn't.

"Good." They held each other for a long time in comfortable silence.

Soon enough, she'd have to go back out and face the rest of the team, try to help Dick hold it together and make peace where she could. Soon enough. But for right now--

She could rest in the arms of her friend who loved her, and be content.




{end}





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