A/n: Erick is a living contradiction, isn't he? After saying "THERE WILL BE NO SEQUEL"... just like I did with Never Fear... What do I do? I begin work on what will surely be another drain on my already strained psyche...
AND WITH THAT OUT OF THE WAY, WELCOME BACK! For all of those who are wondering, this time around I'm taking a slightly different approach. While the drama and darkness will still be present, I'm thinking about expanding the humor just a little bit. After three years of living with Raven, Gar's lightened up a bit... Can't say the same for the villians he runs into though. Lets hope I finish this one because I only have a vague idea where this is heading!

The Watchman II

Jump City, Market Avenue.. A bustling city in the midst of the noon-time rush of a Tuesday workday. Crammed streets are filled with all forms of vehicles from bicycles to freight trucks. Horns sounding off like a New York orchestra, people flooding the sidewalks as they browse the shops and stores lined along the downtown avenues. Those not busy shopping or indulging on the city's copious amounts of food fill the towering high-rises, working their nine-to-fives with all the awareness of a blind man to the world around them. Blue sky, occasionally rippled with clouds like fog over a lake reflect off the massive buildings, illuminating the streets below in an off-white glow. If not for the ever-present Jump City Bay, the city might find itself in the midst of a sweltering heat wave. Thankfully the cool breeze, sea salt in its wisps, gulls in the currents, keeps the heat at a relatively comfortable day...

Peaceful to all but those that know the truth of the city's true ugliness...

Sitting on a bench, alone, wearing a loose, black button-down shirt and blue jeans, sits a rather ordinary looking man. His blonde hair, messy and stretching over his eyes, carelessly drifts in the breeze. Slightly tan from the summer rays, he doesn't seem to care about the light bathing him today. No, only the pair of headphones concealed under his hair and a chocolate-filled, warm-baked croissant seem to attract his interest. In one ear is the sound of a soft, chill-out cover of a Bob Dylan song, the other is silent and waiting for someone to speak up. A smile on his face, the man seems at peace with the world.
At least, to the untrained eye it would seem that way. Behind a pair of green-tinted sunglasses, emerald eyes see things much differently. After all, three years can be both a quick time and yet a long time...

"Enjoying your lunch?" Interrupting the peaceful music in his right ear, the inquisitive voice of the Question appears in the other. Someone really needs to give that man a ring tone.

"Trying to. Don't try and lecture me about bad food either, Raven couldn't even stop it." Ignoring the looks of people passing by, often too busy to care, Gar instead continues to munch on his pastry.

"Well might want to wrap it up soon. Dessert's about to be served."

Eyeglasses reflecting the sunlight, obscuring his forest eyes, Gar replies with less enthusiasm. "Funny, I don't remember ordering that. How many plates and cupcakes?"

"You got four cupcakes, each packing sprinkles, delivered on a four-door white plate."

"I was hoping for a slice of lemon pie too." Gar sarcastically whines, taking his second-to-last bite of pastry before it disappears entirely.

"Your girlfriend's idea I'm afraid. Says you're getting too big off the sweets."

Asshole. Now he's just toying with me.

"I bet you just called me an asshole inside of your mind, didn't you?"

Glare vanishing from the lenses, one can see his eyes again. Though once they were originally full with a peaceful mirth, they now have all the love of a cold, Siberian night.

"That's the question, isn't it? I think it's time I go pick up the check."

Tapping off the earpiece before Q can respond, Gar finishes his pastry with a lick of his finger. Good to the last bite. Switching the music to a entirely different, much more grungy soundtrack, Gar can't help but wonder if the sweets inside the Jump City Regional Bank will taste even sweeter.

"Sir, we've got the place on lock down. Silent alarm still hasn't been tripped."

The scene inside the bank is chaotic at best. Two security guards are beaten down and throw on the floor with bindings around their limbs. Customers, clutching to themselves huddled in groups, watch in horror as a masked burglar walks by, aiming his AK-47 at their faces. Each worker, though panicked, swiftly moves to fill up duffel bags with cash, ready for transport. Finally, the four robbers inside keep the hostages in check until the getaway van arrives once more.

"Good. The sooner we get in, the sooner we can get the fuck out of here. I don't like this one damn bit."

Aiming at the crowd, one of the robbers asks cautiously "Because the Titans haven't shown up yet?"

Looking away from the man asking, the leader stares at the shadows at the back replying "I'm more worried about the Watchman than the Titans."

"Move it lady!" one of the men yells, angry as one of the tellers is slacking off in his eyes. "I thought Watchman wasn't doing small time busts no more?"

"He isn't." The leader replies, tension thick in his accent. Behind the mask, his beady eyes narrow. "But this isn't for a small time cause, is it?"

Around the block from the bank awaits a white, two-door van with back doors shut. Engine on, exhaust fuming, radio playing, it doesn't look very harmful in the busy city environment. Of course the man inside would betray that thought. Looking to and fro for anything "suspicious", like he isn't, the man in question prays silently that a meter cop isn't on patrol.

Like a flash, a man appears next to the driver's side window. Before the man can shout back, startled, the man growls a single word of cynical humor.

"Boo."

"Alright ladies and gentlemen!" The leader inside the bank yells out, gun waving in the air. "You've all been wonderful. We hope to do business again with your fine establishment!" A few steps towards the door, he stops suddenly and turns back to the crowd. "Just so you don't get any ideas about following us..."

Several gunshots ring out across the hall, snapping the support off of a chandler. Thundering onto the floor, throwing twisted bits of steel and a snowstorm of glass everywhere, the crowd is too scared to abandon their gaze from the display. With a gloved hand waving goodbye as the leader walks away, it would seem all is going their way. The getaway van is parked out front, pulling up in a heartbeat as per plan. Time to slip the goods into the back and get out of here before the cops show up.

Inside, as the four pile into the back of the van, bags in tow, the leader looks to the driver and shouts "Get us out of here! We don't have all day!"

"That's a shame." The four men, their originally gleeful expressions draining from their faces, recoil with horror at the voice. Grizzled as a graveyard digger, and just as haunting.. "I got all day to kill."

Their horror is justified as the man sitting in the driver's seat turns back to look at their expressions. They might have guns but if the rumors are true, guns won't stop the evilly smiling maniac before them.

Hours later, with the sun setting on the ocean's horizon, police officers have the four men leaning against the van in cuffs. Parked near the break line of the surf by a jetty, the place seems so serene compared to the reason for the gathering. Their eyes, still wide from the ordeal, contrast the bored expressions on the beat cops.

"Ok, lets go through this again... What happened?"

The leader, scratches on his face and neck, looks up and shivers...

On the opposite side of town, below the remains of an old hippie record store, a man walks down a hidden stairwell. Eyes staring down the walkway, glasses long since returned to the breast pocket, he knows the inevitable is coming. After so long living alone, with nothing but a television and a comfy couch waiting for him, it was only a matter of time... The door opens, revealing the cool-lit room within. Gone is the ragged couch, so similar to a long-since abandoned trench coat, and in with a leather wrap around. Sitting on the couch is the one thing that Gar wasn't entirely wishing to see at the moment.

"Your stunt made the six o'clock news."

Yup, Raven might be able to buy her own beer now but not even time can change all habits. Voice still as dry as the other side of a towel, full of cynicism and chill, it reminds Gar of times long since past. No, focus on the present! No time to think about the past when a pale-skinned, short-haired Goth is glaring holes at your forehead.

"Meditating to the newscast? You're scaring me sometimes." Gar reminds, unbuttoning the shirt, walking towards the kitchen in the back of the room.

Eyeing him as he walks, Raven reminds him "Remember when I warned you about being subtle?"

"Vaguely."

"Or the time I warned you to stay off the highway?"

"Possibly."

Fading into his view from the floor up, Raven appears through her psychic "soul-self". Amethyst eyes meeting emerald, the resident Goth reminds him.

"Or about ignoring me?"

Stopping now, Gar nervously laughs, throwing a hand behind his head "Gee, how could I forget that one?"

SMACK, a howl of pain.

Walking back towards the couch, Raven replies with a huff "Make sure you remember that for next time you do wheelies on the highway."

Clutching his chest delicately, hand print burned into the skin, Gar's eyes look like floods as he whimpers back "And they say I'M the scary one.."

Looking back at him with an obviously fake smile, Raven reminds him "Only outside of the house. Inside you're mine."

Shrinking away towards the shelving area, Gar replies with a bit of fear on his face. "If I would've known what I was getting into three years ago..."

"You would've done it anyway. So what did you learn anyway?"

Setting water to boil on the stove in a black kettle, Gar's voice changes back into a business tone to match her own.

"Not much. Seems whoever hired them was good about keeping them silent. Told only to rough up the place, steal a couple thousand in differential bills, then drop it off. They didn't give up the warehouse easily, hence the wheelie."

"Vans don't do wheelies. How'd you pull that off?" Despite the contempt for the blatant stunt, a small part of her admits it was interesting to see on the TV.

"Animal magnetism."

Rolling her eyes, Raven looks towards any direction that isn't his way. "You're something, you know that?"

Whistle blowing on the kettle, Gar lets out a small laugh "Aww, you don't mean that."

"Things like that got you reprimanded by Lantern last week." Raven reminds coldly, smelling the sweet smell of lavender and green mint fill the air.

Filling the contents of the cups with ease, Gar defends simply "Dealer wouldn't talk. Not my fault if he fell down a slippery fire escape."

Turning back on the couch to look his direction, Raven points out "Claiming he fell on ice in the middle of Summer isn't the best way to lie. You could've at least said he fell trying to escape."

Both cups in hand, he walks towards his girlfriend with a sly smirk. Tooth protruding as ever, Gar admits "Could've but I like my stories to make an impact. That and I don't like being babysat by the League if we're supposed to be autonomous."

Blowing on the steaming contents of the mug in hand, plaintively she reminds him "Take that up with Question next time you see him."

After a quick sip of his own tea, Gar points out "The warehouse, by the way, turned out to be a dead lead. Nothing but some old spider webs and a few bottles of beer. Tried talking to the spiders to figure out..."

Eyebrow raised, Raven's expression matches the unusualness of his comment.

"Spiders have eyes too." Gar informs, ever the zoologist. "And some of them have good suggestions too."

Setting down her cup on the coffee table, she suggests "And what, pray tell, would those be?"

Evil grin forming on his face, he taunts her "Now now, if I told you some of them, you'd try it out on me. I don't mind being nice sometimes but you do have a bit of a dominatrix thing... ARGH!"

Faster than he can realize, Gar finds himself smashing back-first into the ceiling, courtesy of a black mass of psychic energy underneath him. Squeaking in pain, he tries to escape the energy field.

"I don't even know what you're talking about." Raven denies, a smile on her lips as she looks away from Gar's terrified form.

With the moon glowing bright over the city, you would think most of the city would be asleep by now. Nope, not Garfield Logan. No time for sleep when you have a cup of coffee in one hand and images on a computer screen going at the same time. Dozens of newspaper clippings, each scanned from library reels, feeds into his database as he searches for something in particular. Steam long-since faded from the coffee, keyboard keys worn down, someone's been awake far too long it seems.

"Who hired you thugs anyway? What is it you're planning now? Another gun-running scheme through the waterfront?"

Shaking his head, Gar silences that suggestion with a sip of his brown beverage.

"Can't be. The Titans took them out before it got too big. Maybe they're using it to bring someone in from overseas?"

Another sip of the coffee.. Why does it taste colder than usual? Time better not be speeding up or else...

"Starting to sound like Question. Got to figure this out. Four men hit the bank, one man drives away. JCRB... that poor bank gets hit up more times than a drug dealer with the junkies..."

Coffee cup tips a bit, surprising Gar. Looking down at the liquid, his expression changes to intrigue.

"Hmm... Warehouse district, twenty-five thousand dollars.. Small job by definition but with something larger in mind?White Rabbit hasn't gone away and they've definitely moved to a new location. Too much to consider at the moment."

"I need more coffee."

Beep Beep on the earpiece. "What you want isn't inside that box of Folders, Gar."

Bored expression on his tired face, Gar points out in the dark "But its the best part of waking up, Doc."

He can almost swear he heard a snort coming from the other end of the line. "You've been awake for two days now. I'd suggest you get some sleep."

"Sorry doc but you're starting to sound like Rae and Q... and Huntress... Crap, everyone's telling me to sleep again."

"You can't rise and shine unless you go to bed and.."

"Doc, its almost two in the morning, please no puns this early?" Scratching an inch on his face, Gar doesn't particularly care for light-related humor right now. ESPECIALLY when it deals with his sleep habits.

"You'll need it for more than just that, Watchman. Big Blue's calling a meeting tomorrow and we're all supposed to be there."

Stopping at the fridge, Gar bangs his head off the door lightly. "Dammit. Didn't we just talk to him last week?"

"He says its urgent." a pause enters the comm-link, surprising Gar for a second. "They think they found a lead to Ripper's trail."

Whatever sense of boredom, weariness, and fatigue on Gar's face is seemingly vanished like a magician's hand. Eyes looking at the shelves with a stoic gaze, he replies back solemnly.

"What time?"

"Five at night. He's trying to squeeze this in after his day job and some date he's having with Ms. Lane."

"Better be right this time. If this turns out to be another dead link.."

"Gar?"

"Got to go Doc. See you at the tower."

"Sleep, Watchman."

Click.

From the doorway, Gar's intense stare matches the questioning eyes on Raven's face.

"Who was that?"

Collecting himself, Gar replies simply "Light. Meeting with Big Blue tomorrow evening."

"Must be important. I could feel the shift in the air from halfway down the hall."

Fist balling, veins starting to form on the limbs.. "They might have an idea where Ripper is."

For only a fraction of a moment, Raven's eyes widen in stark realization. As quick as it happens though, it returns to normal. "Gar.. come to bed. I don't want you brooding all night again like the last Ripper lead."

"Are all of you conspiring against me to make me sleep?" Gar asks, trying not to sound overly serious despite the revelation.

Crossing the gap, Raven pulls Gar into an embrace despite his nearly being a foot taller than her. Leaning her head into his chest, she reminds him.

"Stressing yourself isn't going to make you anymore aware of what's going on."

Pulling her closer with a hug of his own, looking down at the nearly black hair on her head, Gar asks "Is that really the only reason why?"

"No... I'm cold too."

A/n2: Not overly action I admit but I didn't want to kick you in the stomach right away. Possible return of Ripper? White Rabbit rearing its ugly head again? Rorschach-inspired Gar turning into Vash-inspired Gar? Find out more later.
And I will be taking my time with this story, not rushing it like the last one. I want this one to both last as well as be enjoyable... like sex after not having it for months.

Trivia:
"Three years is both a quick time and yet a long time", modified quote from Big O's Schwarzwald. That guy would've made a great nemesis for Gar.

Recommended Listening:
Emma - In The Summertime

Question:
If Watchman and the gang have grouped up, do you suppose a few other villians from the prequel might've also as well? Hehe.