Frequently Asked Questions
assembled by 'rith, with kind assistance from others
Vanity, thy name is...but I have gotten enough questions on this series over time to warrant this project. Without further ado....
What About Barbara?
Sex and Romance
Arthur and Garth
Garth and Atlantis
No. And yes.
I am canon's helpless bitch. I am also a slash fan. Two great tastes that go great together...given a little flexibility.
They're not gay. How could either of them be, given their histories? Plenty of AUs start from scratch and rewrite character histories from day one; my personal preference is to use as *much* existing canon as possible in building a world. Kory and Tula had too much influence in shaping these guys' lives and personalities for me to throw out completely. I'd rather add details then subtract them.
Garth: There's little enough about his personal life outside the Titans that it's easy enough to extrapolate bisexuality. It's also canon that Atlantis has no prejudice against homosexuality (see the Atlantis Chronicles, among other sources).
Dick: A number of previously unrevealed details (*g*) have been added without erasing existing canon.
To those who hold that altering a core element such as a character's sexuality automatically renders the premise OOC...I'm not going to argue the point. I'm playing with the 'change one factor' idea and going from there. Characterization is in the eye of the beholder, as always.
Aside from that, the premise is basically...that they fit each other. From some random notes:
Dick emerged from out from the Batman's shadow, found own way in being Nightwing, in Bludhaven, and again with the Titans. Only now his personality has essentially flipped the other way: instead of needing someone to draw out his passion (as Kory did), he needs someone to balance him and keep him rooted. On the one hand he's all gypsy wild passion, throwing himself into danger, while on the other he can be a cold and analytical and withdrawn as Bruce.
It's a good balance. On the one hand Garth's calm stability keeps Dick rooted where adrenaline-junkie boy would go overboard, while Dick's slight wildness (like Tula's) draws out Garth where he tends to be reserved. At the same time Garth's deep emotions keep Dick from his *own* kind of reserve--and Dick gives Garth the kind of *belonging* the sea mage always wanted. Both have been outsiders of a kind, with difficult mentor-father figures. Dick can teach Garth to be more proactive, less complacent; Garth keeps Dick from becoming as obsessive as Batman. They steady each other.
And that in a nutshell is why this pairing does it for me. ;)
Plenty of good sources on the 'net for Nightwing history and information, so I won't repeat it here:
What's different? Dick's attraction to men, obviously; see the next topic. Barbara hesitated too long and didn't let Dick take her to the circus. Other than that, it's mostly a matter of squeezing the various retcons and time-compressions into a timeline that makes some kind of internal sense.
Dick's relationships in canon: *whew* Check out Nightflings: Dick Grayson's Gals for a list. Succinctly: Bette had an unreturned crush on Dick, Dick had an unreturned crush on Barbara Gordon when she was Batgirl (the recent attempts at retcons are bogus; he was UNDERAGED and Babs knew better), Lori was his first girlfriend, Donna was only ever a friend, Kory was his first true love, Miri raped him while disguised as Kory (and THERE'S a bit they'll never mention again), Gypsy dated him briefly while they were with the JL Task Force, nothing happened with Miggie, Emily was a case, Bridget was a couple of dates, and Helena was a one-night stand. And then Babs, halleujah, amen. :)
The S&S list: Essentially the same, with additions. The important ones:
* Barbara Gordon--Dick's unreturned crush on Batgirl.
* Lori Elton--First girlfriend, first m/f sexual experience (mentioned in S&S: Context).
Alex--First boyfriend, first m/m sexual experience (S&S: Context).
Koriand'r, Starfire--First female true love. I was all about Dick/Kory, back in the day. *sigh* But I do think they've both changed since then and moved on, and they need different things in their partners now.
Joe Wilson, Jericho--First male true love (S&S: Whatever You Need).
Helena Bertinelli, Huntress--One night stand (Nightwing/Huntress miniseries).
Garth, Tempest--As begun in S&S: A Sea Change.
Do I need to add...yes. Dick's CANON crazy jealous streak remains intact. He's Mr. Monogamy. Sadly, no threesomes are possible, except as AUs. (Here, Connor Connor Connor...hee.)
I love Dick/Babs in canon, when Devin Grayson isn't playing teenaged angst storylines with them. For S&S purposes, the Dick/Garth thing started while Babs was still pushing Dick away, before they officially got together. Garth just got there first. ;)
Barbara is...okay with that. S&S VII has a bit on her perspective. She's very much in denial, deliberately so, but happy for Dick nonetheless.
There is romance in Barbara's future. Stay tuned. No, it's not with Dinah. Heh.
Sea and Sky: Shadow of the Bat was the big Bruce/Dick confrontation and as far as I'm concerned, the end of the issue. But I realize more explication may be needed.
I'm not a big Bruce/Dick fan, despite having written it, and the bits of it that snuck into S&S as unresolved background. My issues with it are long, many, and boring.
For S&S, there's one essential fact to keep in mind: Bruce isn't gay. He's not even bi. But, you say, what about all that obvious sexual tension in "Shadow of the Bat" and other fics? That's a discussion I've had any number of times, but I particularly like this one, with Chicago (chainsaw-edited and used with permission):
Chicago: I know you're not thrilled with the Bruce/Dick dynamic that is now resolved
Which pretty much sums that up. ;)
Couple of good sources on the 'net for Tempest history and information:
Because Garth's history is generally less well known than Dick's, here are the highlights.
* His mother, Queen Berra, is exiled from the Atlanean city of Shayeris due to fears that her unborn son would inherit his murdered father's talent for sorcery (not without reason).
* Berra gives birth in the Atlanean city of Poseidonis, where prophesies about the evils of purple-eyed children still hold sway among certain religious groups. Garth is taken from her and left on Mercy Reef to die--much as Orin (Arthur) had been, years previous, due to similar prophesies about blond-haired children.
* Garth spends the next decade or so surviving alone in the ocean's wilds; I postulate that the unseen magic of the sorcerer Atlan has a lot to do with not only how he survived, but kept from going completely feral.
* He is found by Aquaman and becomes his sidekick--although not granted the protections of a ward, much less a son. See Arthur and Garth below for more.
* Garth, now called Aqualad, meets Robin and Kid Flash and soon after becomes one of the founding members of the Teen Titans.
* In Poseidonis he meets Tula, and the two of them quickly fall in love. She is the true love of Garth's life, the single most important person ever for him. Garth irregularly participates in Teen Titans adventures over the years, mainly concerned with Tula and Arthur's demands on his time.
* Garth is 18 when the Crisis occurs. Tula dies in the Crisis, leaving him devastated.
* He joins in Titans adventures a few times, the result of which usually leave him kidnapped by villains (with no rescue from his teammates forthcoming) or comatose.
* In the course of a mission for Arthur and due to a bit of mistaken identity, Garth gets himself tied to a stake while the Sher'Hedeen (mer-sharks) loose some flesh-eating water on him to kill him. One of the Sher'Hedeen, Letifos, tries to interfere, but she is too late and Garth is seemingly devoured. Neither Aquaman nor the Titans (who have disbanded) seem to notice.
* Rather than getting dissolved, Garth is actually sucked into an alternate dimension by Atlan, the immortal (and immoral) sea mage...who happens to be Arthur's father (biological father, not the king from whom Aquaman got his throne). Atlan spends a few years teaching Garth how to be a mage--and a powerful one at that. Garth eventually returns to his native dimension, where only a few months have passed, so he's now he's the eldest of the Titans instead of being one of the youngest. He pops up out of nowhere to save Aquaman and Dolphin. Garth's arrival surprises Arthur, who doesn't seem to have noticed that he was gone, and impresses Dolphin, who thinks he's grown up nicely.
* Garth goes off to explore his past. (This is the four-issue Tempest miniseries.) He goes to the ruins of his parents' castle and runs into both Letifos and the supposedly deceased Tula, who says she got better. Garth's too happy to care about specifics. Letifos tries to warn him of danger, but Tula fights her off. Garth becomes Tempest...with the help of a bedsheet. Frustrated with the girls and himself, Garth throws a bit of a hissy while wrapped in the bedspread (that happens to be a copy of the flag of Shayeris), decides that the shredded comforter actually makes a nice design, and makes it his uniform. He also decides to call himself Tempest. The girls stop fighting long enough to be unimpressed. Sadly, Letifos is right. Tula is still dead. She is one of the minions of Slizzath, an evil wizard and Garth's uncle. Slizzath is on the scene to steal Garth's magical heritage and he is using Tula to interrupt the ritual Garth needs to perform the transfer. Various hijinx occur: Garth stabs himself in the heart (thinking he's magically protected), runs into his mother, who is now the leader of a clan called the Idylists--radical pacifists who would rather be destroyed than fight Slizzath--and ends up defeating Slizzath and his army of undead. The most poignant moment is when Tula realizes that she's part of that zombie army and begs Garth to kill her again. Garth, who never got over Tula's death (in the Crisis) the first time, complies with much anguish.
* (Canon from which S&S has diverged) Garth hooks up later with Dolphin -- he eventually finds out then that she'd been with Aquaman first -- and, well, Cerdian happened. Dolphin is impatient with Tempest's work with the Titans (he is the team's financier as well as an active member), preferring him to stay home with her and baby and be happy with his role as Prince and Ambassador from Atlantis. After Garth is nearly killed by some pointy-faced bad guys in another dimension, Dolphin issues an ultimatum: quit or she leaves. She does, in fact, leave when Garth stalls. Garth anguishes for a bit, then the Titans series ends and Garth is home in Atlantis with his family. This leads into the post-Obsidian Age goofiness in Atlantis and has Garth and his family under house arrest, Garth sneaking away to find Arthur, and Garth adventuring with Aquaman while trying (in vain) to get Orin of Atlantis to come home and fix things. [You'll note that Garth is constantly fleeing his wife. Discerning readers take this as a sign.]
What's different? Garth's attraction to men, obviously; see the next topic. Specifically, the fact tht he had a thing for Dick since the first time they met. A breakup with Dolphin rather than a loveless marriage. Other than that, it's mostly a matter of squeezing the various retcons and time-compressions into a timeline that makes some kind of internal sense.
Garth's relationships in canon: Pretty much boil down to Tula, 'Syndi' (a random chick he picked up in New Titans 112), and Dolphin, near as I can tell.
The S&S list: Essentially the same, with additions. The important ones:
Tula--First female true love, first m/f sexual experience (S&S: Reverie)
Lori Lemaris--Comfort sex after Tula's death (S&S: Beneath the Waves)
Dolphin--Relationship began after Garth returned as Tempest, ended some months later. See below for more.
Dick--As begun in S&S: A Sea Change.
S&S history: Garth did *not* know she had previously dated Arthur when they got together. The relationship was intensely sexual and they had genuine fondness for each other, but Dolphin abruptly broke it off and vanished from Atlantis shortly thereafter. She'll be back.
Short version for why she's not in S&S: Dolphin's whole domestication is somewhat out of character. She's not out of the story arc completely, but her role is more what it should be considering her personal history. Dolphins are not monogamous creatures. Dolphin's an adventurer in her own right and...well...aptly named. Not much for settling down or serious things. The issues where she and Garth hook up are extremely bad. The whole idea that she'd suddenly crave wifedom, even in light of being pregnant, was a little off. That Garth, now Tempest, would ask anyway is not so odd. That she'd accept is.
What's this about Aquaman mistreating Garth? Question 9 of the Tempest FAQ gives the historical perspective.
S&S-wise:There are some unkindnesses to Arthur within the series (although pay close attention to the POV and motives of those making the remarks), and I mean to address them. He's not an utter villain. But he's not blameless, either. Arthur does a fair job of explaining his mistakes in S&S: Revelations and Conversations--he's talking to *Diana,* so rest assured he's telling the truth. Garth has his turn in S&S: Diplomatic Relations II. It boils down to a great deal of emotional neglect and a measure of inadvertent physically rough treatment. There was no sexual abuse whatsoever. Arthur is not a child molester. (And this is only specifically noted in this FAQ because I've seen the idea in other fics, and want to make it very clear that is not the case here.)
For all of Arthur's faults, he is still a hero. One who had no idea how to deal with a child, but a hero nonetheless.
Atlantis: The great undersea kingdom, a former continent, made up of a bunch of city-states such as Poseidonis (the main city, where Arthur rules), Tritonis (where the mer-people such as Lori Lemaris live), Shayeris (formerly Crastinus, in the Hidden Valley--destroyed by Slizzath and since rebuilt), Thierna na Oge, and Hy-Brasil, among others. The city of Poseidonis is commonly referred to as "Atlantis" in and of itself by surface-dwellers who don't know better.
So what's Shayeris, anyway? As in "Garth of...". As noted above, it's the city his parents came from and the source of his mystical heritage. His father was a king, so that makes Garth....
Is Garth a Prince? Yes. Actually, technically, he's a King. Garth is heir to the throne of Shayeris. He's refused to take the throne and the city is currently ruled by a regent.
(Caveat: This is the S&S take/fanon. The canon version might vary in certain respects, though frankly, I've lost track.)
Garth faced a lot of prejudice when Arthur brought him to Atlantis, due to his purple eyes. The religious faction of Shalakites, in particular, would just as soon have seen him exiled again.
Most of the rest of the Atlanteans have come to know Garth as Arthur's associate, under his protection to begin with and certainly capable of protecting himself now. Some of their attitudes toward him are possibly warmer than Garth himself would believe. Along with Arthur, he's helped save the city any number of times, and Arthur has left the city in his care when he was absent.
Garth is NOT Arthur's heir to Atlantis by his own choice, although the common perception remains that he is. Mera (Arthur's ex- and possibly future wife) is the current named heir; both Arthur and Mera hope that Garth will someday change his mind and accept the throne.
Garth does not have any contact with Shayeris at the moment. He may not have the luxury of ignoring his heritage forever.
The Atlantean Embassy is currently under construction at the UN, in large part due to Garth's efforts. It'll consist of a dome with surface and underwater portions to accommodate the Atlantean diplomats. (The grand opening will be a fic of its own.) At the moment, the only Atlanteans on the surface are Arthur and Garth.
Canon has been unkind to Garth: either he's powerless, or he's building uncontrolled magical gates that send Atlantis spinning lost through time. Blah. Darkseid used him as a channel to save the world during Our Worlds at War (OWAW), which was nice but...odd.
My worst fear is to see him become mage ex machina, with a spell for every occasion. For S&S purposes:
* The magical training he received from Atlan mainly taught him to access his elemental powers and manifest beams of pure magical force from his eyes, not to cast spells. Atlan *wants* him to come back for proper spellcasting training. At the moment, Garth isn't interested. (And I would like to point out that super-strength and endurance + elemental powers + magical optic blasts make him Really Freaking Powerful already.)
* He has cast a gate spell. Once, in the Tempest mini, from a scroll. This is *not* something he can do at will. However, he may have an affinity for such magic, and this is the quality Darkseid can use when S&S catches up to OWAW. I'm probably going to modify OWAW a bit--if Atlantis disappears, it'll be because Atlan or *Arion* had a hand in it, using Garth as a conduit. Those meddlers.
* Okay, he knows two spells in S&S. *g* The one that makes it possible for him to live on the surface, for one. And the one that allows Dick (or any other landsman) to breathe and see underwater. Since they're both water-related, I don't think that's too far a stretch.
Garth is publically known as the Titan, Tempest, and as the Atlantean ambassador. He's about as famous as...any foreign ambassador. How many ambassadors do you know by name? He's not commonly known, but his identity is public, both as ambassador and Titan.
In Gotham, Dick is publically known as Bruce Wayne's former ward. In Bludhaven, he's known as a cop. He doesn't hide one from the other, but doesn't go out of his way to advertise. Up to this point, no one in Bludhaven has put two and two together yet. Inevitably, someone will.
Nightwing can't be seen with Garth, except when they're both on a Titans mission, and then they're both strictly professional. Garth is living with Dick Grayson. Nightwing who? ;)
As far as Dick publicly being involved with Garth--I have canon to draw on for this one, specifically that it was *Dick* who stood at Kory's side at their much-publicized wedding, not Nightwing. Granted, he was on his slow slide toward lunacy at the time (the long hair is a clue), but its nevertheless a guide to how Dick handles relationships and his ID.
Garth can't drive.
Dick is seemingly incapable of cleaning up after himself.
They both speak a number of languages, including Japanese. Dick is learning Atlantean, slowly.
Dick does not give interviews to the press, and never has. This policy goes back to when he was Bruce's ward and continues to this day.
I consciously made a significant change from the comics: Garth's accent. It only made sense that since English is his second language, he'd speak with an accent, and somewhat more formally than a native speaker.
(more to be added at whim)
What point in canon has the series reached? At the moment it's still just short of "Tower of Babel," which was dated...Jul-Aug 2000. Ergh. So I'm running more than four years behind canon. That's a lot further behind than I ever intended to get. Babel is a big break point; after I get past that, I'm going to be more open to bouncing around the timeline rather than going in strict order. In theory.
What canon events just didn't/won't happen in S&S?
I'm not doing the adoption story--the dynamic is too weird in regard to S&S. Bruce Wayne: Murderer will probably be skipped, because unlike NML, that storyline ended up being a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It's over and its effects = nil, so I feel no difficulty in ignoring it or finding some variant or substitute. There will probably be some variant on the vomitous Graduation Day.
Aside from the Dick/Garth hotness, what are the differences between S&S and the main DCU?
Discontinuities: You know, I occasionally go back through the series, mostly to check for details...it amuses me that some people think it actually *looks* like a series that was all planned out. Ha. Ha. So Very Not. Everything was written out-of-order, jury-rigged, and held together with duct tape. The flaws are...painfully obvious to me. Specific niggly bits:
* Dinah is dating Pieter some months before canon. Ooops.
* There's a major Flash discontinuity that I try not to think about too hard.
* The beginning fics, in particular, are all over the place in terms of timing. The massive (horrible, scary, obsessive-compulsive) timeline-chart I've assembled since then helps with the later stuff. Again, I try not to think about the early stuff too hard.
* I want to rewrite S&S II for two reasons: to disentangle S&S from the World's Finest series (because they're not the same), and because Tim really should be complaining to Dick about Steph problems. However, my list of unwritten fics is already so long it's anyone's guess if I ever get to it. Don't hold your breath.
Having discussed Bruce and Dick above, we can move on to other topics....
Will/can Bruce ever be happy? Answer hazy, ask again later. The very factors that make him the character he is argue against it, though. I'd settle for 'content.'
Is Bruce going to wind up with Selina? At the moment, they're dating/enjoying the hot monkey sex. The question assumes either of them *wants* more than that and I'll tell ya, they haven't given me a sign one way or the other. They're okay with the uncertainty, and I'm not going to push.
Or maybe Bruce and...? I have a soft spot for Talia, but the chance of Bruce ever really *trusting* her approaches nil. Bruce/Diana would be a spectacular disaster. (Although...hm...no.) My Dinah thinks he's insane and is quite happy dating Pieter Cross, Dr. Mid-Nite.
It's mostly business as usual for the Bat-squad, unchanged by the 'verse.
Barbara, aka Oracle: As I said above, there's romance in her future. Wait and see. It's the best noncanon pairing ever. *g*
Tim, aka Robin: Yeah, I want to retcon the Tim/Kon bits out of S&S. It's really not necessary and may actually be troublesome if, say, Carmen ever writes those Kon/Cass fics I wanted to steal for this series.
Cassandra, aka Batgirl: Only cameos thus far. She lives with Babs, though, so she'll be around.
Jean-Paul, aka Azrael: Ehh...I'm not a big Azrael fan. I'm content to leave him where Dannell did.
Other characters involving themselves in this 'verse. Notes mostly in relation to The Guys.
Dinah Lance, aka Black Canary: As Smitty says, Dinah stomps through fic like she owns it. I hadn't intended for her to be as much of a presence as she is, but far be it from me to get in her way. She's Barbara's best friend and her romantic life tends to be a study in chaos. What's not to love? Dinah tends to be kind of den-mothery (though she'd deny it) to Garth and Dick by extension of her relationship with Roy.
Connor Hawke: Poor neglected Connor. *cuddle* I love him. He's gotten three fics in his own sub-series so far and I'd like to do more. Not including the...AU fic. *snicker*
Donna Troy, aka Troia: Currently dating Roy, although they'll be breaking up as in canon. There's probably a whiff of regret in her otherwise-pleased reaction to Dick/Garth, because I belatedly realized Donna/Garth was my sekrit OTP. Ah, well, other 'verses for that. ;) No, she's not going to die in Graduation Day or any other variant.
Roy Harper, aka Arsenal: Hmm, what's to say? Raising Lian, in a pretty good place at the moment (despite forthcoming breakup with Donna).
Jesse Chambers, aka Jesse Quick: Whom I swear to protect from hideous canon plot travesties at ALL COSTS. She's a Titan, and a Titan she'll remain.
Toni Monetti, aka Argent: Our little yaoi fangirl. All about the boylove, which doesn't diminish her crush on Garth one bit.
Koriand'r, aka Starfire: Offplanet as of S&S: Transitions. She'll be back sometime.
Victor Stone, aka Cyborg: Gained a human body as of S&S: Transitions and is off enjoying that for now.
Grant Emerson, aka Damage: On a leave of absence from the Titans as of S&S: Transitions. Currently at the Navajo reservation where Roy grew up.
Wally West, aka Flash: Poor abused Wally. *pets* I'm not sure what will happen with him re: canon developments; fortunately I have plenty of time to figure that out.
Garfield Logan, aka Changeling: Will never, ever again call himself 'Beast Boy' in one of my fics, unless it's a flashback. Bah. Not currently a Titan, but he's never that far away.
Lian Harper: Unofficial Titans' mascot. :D
Alfred Pennyworth: As ever, the voice of reason within the Batclan.
Leslie Thompkins: Would really rather everyone retired the costume business, and knows they never will.
Mera: Learned her lesson about meddling in Garth's life as of S&S: Affairs of State. Probably.
Alianne: An original character created by Elay and used with her permission. She appeared in S&S: Affairs of State and will be showing up again--she's assigned to the UN Atlantean embassy and will work there when it opens. Probably Garth's best friend in Atlantis.
Atlan: Arthur's father and Garth's mage-mentor. Hasn't appeared yet, but expect fireworks when he does.
Tula, aka Aquagirl: She's dead and not coming back, but that doesn't mean she doesn't get to have her say.
Bridget Clancy: Manages the apartment building where Dick and Garth live. Has recently been accepted to medical school on a Wayne Foundation scholarship. She doesn't yet know of their other identities.
Jonathan Law, aka the Tarantula (retired): Lives down the hall from Dick and Garth. Has hinted that he's aware of Dick's identity as Nightwing.
Kyle Rayner, aka Green Lantern: Assured his place in the 'verse by being an extremely convenient gossip. Hee. He's a dork, but I adore him.
Diana of Themyscria, aka Wonder Woman: Rarely onscreen so far, although since she and Garth both work at the UN, her presence seems inevitable.
Clark Kent, aka Superman: Took it on himself to watch out for Batman's first junior partner and has maintained a distant but uncle-ish relationship with Dick ever since.
J'onn J'onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter: Took it on himself to watch out for all of the Teen Titans when they first formed, though none of them knew it at the time. We'll see more of him as Chicago writes him. ;)
Patrick 'Eel' O'Brian, aka Plastic Man: He's not a homophobe. Honest.
Doc Mid-Nite I (deceased) and Connor Hawke. This is true in any universe I write. Sand of the JSA is...ambiguous (thanks, Smitty! *g*), though the chances of him showing up in this series is slim. (Though now having written that, I may have half a cameo for him. Heh.)
Is Kyle going to wind up with Connor? No. Kyle is canon-straight and will be back with Jade before too long. Poor Connor. If you want K/C, bug Carmen to write the series she has in her head. ;)
So Connor's going to end up with... Considering the lack of canon gay characters for him to date, probably an Original Character. Since I don't write OCs, this may be difficult.
There was supposed to be a long rambling essay here, but this is quite (too) long enough. It boiled down to this: a profound thank you to everyone who has read, contributed to, and hand-held this series. Particular, and grateful, thanks to Kaylee, Kael, Carmen, Smitty, Becky, Chicago, and Domenika.
Finally and always: to Dannell.