Sea and Sky X:

Three Words (a Titans moment)

by 'rith

Archive: Ask first, please.
Warnings: mild M/M slash implication.
Fandom: Modern comicsverse. Tenth in the "Sea and Sky" series, the previous parts of which can be found at
Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics. What I have done with them is mine.

Days had gone by, and Donna Troy had just about enough.

Garth had returned to Titans' Tower and *stayed,* which was unusual enough, but add to that a considerable amount of what Donna could only call "brooding" and something had to be done. Not that he'd revealed whatever was wrong to anyone, though that wasn't strange in and of itself. Garth rarely shared personal troubles even with his oldest friends.

But Donna wasn't about to let him get away with it this time.

She cornered him in the kitchen. "Garth, are you all right?"

"Hm?" He looked at her blankly. "Fine."

"Oh, sure, you *sound* 'fine.'"

"It's nothi--" he began, than stopped. "Perhaps I should have returned to Poseidonis after all."

She frowned. "And what? Been miserable there instead of here? Your friends are here, Garth, talk to us. Talk to *me.*"

He looked at her searchingly, then away. "You have enough trouble playing 'mom' to the rest of the team, I wouldn't add to that."

"Oh, stop." The annoyance in her voice was enough to draw his gaze back. "I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want to know. You know I love you, and it hurts to see you like this."

"...I do know. Thank you, Donna. That means the world to me."

It wasn't another refusal, so.... Donna considered for a moment and then asked carefully, "Does this have something to do with Aquaman?"

"No." There was nothing but utter certainty in that reply. Garth continued without bitterness. "We have come to an understanding. He has stopped trying to order my life and I have learned to stop caring for his approval. We have a very civil relationship, Arthur and I."

She winced a little at that, but let it go. "So then--what is it? I'm worried, that's all. I haven't seen you this hurt since--well, in a long time."

"Since Tula. I remember how you were there for me, Donna."

"Then let me be there again. Let me help."

He stared off for a long several moments before answering. "Say there were someone. Someone who means a great deal to me, and has come to mean even more in recent days--" he broke off. "I'm sorry. That sounds terribly formal. This is--this is difficult...."

Wow. That *was* news. Trust Garth to be close-mouthed about even something that important. But this sounded like serious heartbreak-potential. "Something happened?"

"Yes. We--things had been going so well, and then suddenly it was *over.* For reasons that are so irrational--" He looked at her helplessly. "What do you say to someone so determined to hide behind a lie?"

"Well, if she--

Garth spoke quietly. "And if I said 'he' instead--"

That was new too, but then again the Atlantean mindset wasn't so different from the Amazon one about that kind of thing. Donna went on without blinking. "--if he isn't willing to be honest, then maybe it's for the best."

"Except that I haven't felt anything as deeply since Tula, and I can't let it go so easily. I *want* to fight for this. If he gives me the chance. But he's been avoiding me, and I won't chase him."

Insight came in one of those moments of perfect clarity. "Someone who means a great deal--" and Donna didn't know all of Garth's friends undersea, but he'd never mentioned anyone that close. She knew he'd been down to Blüdhaven a number of times in recent past because he'd left Dick's number for an emergency contact. And Nightwing hadn't been around the Titans lately. He'd been "busy."

And Donna thought, "Oh, Dick, what have you done?"

Aloud, she said, "Then...Garth, if you feel that strongly, the relationship *is* worth fighting for. Find him. Tell him. He'd be a fool not to appreciate you." Oh, she could just imagine the lies Dick was telling himself. He'd pulled the same kind of nonsense with Kory. She loved him dearly, but there was no one as good at hiding from his own emotions as Dick Grayson. Unless it was his mentor.

"Ah, but I knew *that.*" She was startled by the unexpected humor in Garth's voice, and relieved to see him smiling. He'd be so *good* for Dick--if he could get through. Then he sobered again, and said, "Perhaps you're right."

"Just be honest. Don't accept anything less than honesty from him. And--*don't give up.*" Which was probably the most important thing about dealing with Dick, but if she said any more she'd give away what she knew.

But he only nodded and then asked slyly about her redeveloping relationship with Roy, and once she'd blushed and stammered and found a way to evade the question he didn't seem inclined to discuss the problem further.

He surprised her by saying, "In any case I should have things to keep me busy shortly. There have been difficulties between Atlantis and the surface world, and not diplomatic. To put it mildly. So I thought it was time I stepped in and took on the responsibilities of an ambassador, not just the title. 'Earning my keep,' as it were."

Donna smiled. "I think that'd be good for you. We...well, we'd all noticed you were spending more time away from Atlantis. I'm trying to figure out what to do with myself when the Titans aren't fighting, too." Too easy to fall into despair over everything she'd lost, but she deliberately pushed the memories down. This wasn't about her. Not today.

He looked curious. "Your photography?"

"Mm-hmm, maybe." A thought struck her and she grinned. "Well, now. You're going to play diplomat, you should look the part. And who better to dress you for it than a fashion photographer?" At his questioning look she just laughed. "Let's go shopping."

He raised an eyebrow at her, starting to smile. "I thought that was Argent's vice."

Donna laughed. "I can endure shopping in a good cause. Besides, you should look respectable. Wouldn't *that* be a nice change for this group?"

"Too true." He came around the counter and pulled her into an embrace. "Thank you, Donna."


He kissed her cheek and let her go and they left the Tower, and the rest of the day was given over to just *being* without thought for the Titans, or her troubled past, or his troubled romance. Which was, Donna thought later, precisely what they'd both needed.

And virtuously, she refrained from calling Dick and telling him what an idiot he was. But only just.


That title? Huh?

...well, I once read that the three most beautiful words in the English language weren't the expected "I love you," but rather, "*let me help.*"

That must have some truth to it, because the saying has stuck with me. And they *exemplify* Donna Troy.

Oh, and both Dannell and Carmen wanted me to write the shopping trip, but I loathe shopping ;), and in any case I didn't want to hold this series up any longer. Anyone up for that? Please? I think it'd be hysterical.

Next: What has Dick been up to?

The plot thickens.

Dannell? You're up, O co-plotter of mine. :)