Young Justice: Titans – Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving, a day reserved for giving thanks for family, friends, life, love, football and turkey. Pigging out and stuffing bellies are the norm for this day, even if the celebrators were superpowered beings taking on the responsibility of protecting those who lack the ability to. All may have different backgrounds, all may have individual lives to live or share with others, but all were family with families of their own.
"Talk to you later, Kaldur." Standing before the screen on his end, Conner reached forward off screen as a siren went off in Titan Tower.
"I will be looking forward to it, my friend. Take care."
Watching the screen of his satellite linked laptop switch to its desktop mode, the Atlantean black ops leader known as Kaldur'ahm leaned back in the chair he pulled up with the electronic device sitting on an old tree stump. Looking around, he admired the beauty of the Amazon jungle. The lush green of the trees, the rich color of the soil, the sound of the wildlife hidden before his eyes as it moved around within the safety of the foliage, it was all a paradise he had never known. Santa Prisca came close, but there was just something to be said about the Brazilian jungle he just liked. Or maybe it was someone.
Gathering up his laptop, Kaldur headed to the hut where Lilith and her family lived. Actually, hut would be a bad label to call it as it was a house, a hut-house if anything. Wood from the forest trees made up the steps and patio while the structure itself was made of brick. An angled roof made sure any and all rain water would flow to the rear of the house with a line of narrow windows lining the space between the wall and roof. Two large windows allowed the sun to light up the inside with an open door covered with a mosquito net let a slight breeze into the building.
Entering the domicile, Kaldur moved aside the netting and smelled what Lilith's mother was preparing for lunch. Feijoada, a bean stew with smoked meats made by her mother was the main course with biscuits just finishing up in the oven. Side dishes such as salad and other vegetables were sitting on the table where the young woman's father was setting up the final place for their meal.
"Hope you're hungry," Lilith said as she greeted Kaldur once he entered the house.
"The smell, I admit, has got me eager to eat." Setting his computer down next to his bag of gear, which contained his water bearers, the Atlantean followed Lilith, who had taken him by the hand, into the kitchen/dining area.
"I do hope you enjoy my specialty, Kaldur," Lilith's mother said with a smile. "The recipe has been in our family for generations."
"I am sure I will." Pulling a chair out for Lilith, Kaldur scooted her in once she took her seat. "Everything you have prepared has been delicious."
"Are you sure eating shrimp is, um, okay for an Atlantean. Given how you live underwater and all." Pouring water from a pitcher, Lilith's father filled Kladur and his daughter's glasses.
"It is perfectly fine," the Atlantean said with a smile. "Seafood is part of our diet."
"Just wanted to make sure." Standing back, the elder of the family looked at the two sitting side by side. "We cannot thank you enough for saving our daughter. The nightmare she has had to endure hurt us as much as it hurt her."
"It was my pleasure to help her, Mr. Clay," Kaldur responded.
"We are forever in your debt," Lilith's mother said as she brought the main coarse to the table. "You gave her her life back."
"And this time," Lilith said with a wide smile, "I get to enjoy the here and now instead of what might be. Most of the time."
As Lilith's parents sat down to eat, neither noticed what was going on just out of view. Both Kaldur and Lilith were holding hands as her parents got themselves situated.
Entering the living area of Titan Tower, M'gann looked over the three teens she and Conner had taken in as members of the Titans and an extended family. While they were still in their sleep clothes, shirts and shorts, she had morphed her biosuit into a fashionable white puffy coat with hood, light blue leggings, and furry boots.
Terra and Garfield were currently occupying the couch. Each were on opposite sides, slumped over the arm rests in an attempt to get comfortable after waking up so early. Raven stood in the kitchen with the brewing machine, waiting for her morning cup of tea to finish pouring. Unlike the other two, she was awake and ready to start the day after being woken by the Martian lady of the base.
"Re-AAAHHHHHHH-ready." Joining her with a yawn, Conner carried their son, Carter in one arm while holding a bag in the other. Both father and son were dressed for a cold climate, Conner with jeans, boots, and a zipped up black leather jacket with white sweater underneath, and Carter dressed in a morphed Martian biosuit with a small pair of converse shoes, denim stretchy pants, and a hoodie with a turkey and words, 'Little Gobbler', on it.
"He's asleep again?" M'gann asked after grabbing a couple of bottles from the refrigerator for the infant.
"You woke us up at five, forced me to get ready, had Carter fuss for getting up early, and he's been sending me mental pictures of his crib and blanket until he fell asleep again. Do we really have to go?"
"Yes. I want him to see this. We can get there in no time and when its over, we'll be back in plenty of time to have Thanksgiving dinner."
Taking her son, M'gann floated the bottles to her husband who stuffed them into the bag he held when his phone rang. "Shh, I know, baby," she told the fussy child. "But this is something you'll want to see in person like I did."
"You really think it's a good idea taking him out in public?" Raven asked. "He still changes colors and his eyes are always red."
"Inhibitor bracelet will keep him from doing the chameleon thing and he's got little sunglasses to hide his eyes."
"It would be something to see Carter turn blue like a Smurf," Terra lazily commented.
"That was Wally," Conner spoke up once he was through with his phone. "He asked if we could drop off some extra marshmallows on our way to New York."
"Didn't Artemis buy a case for Isis?" M'gann asked.
"Yeah. She got into them last night and ate them all."
"The whole case?"
"The whole case."
As if he were part of the conversation, Carter giggled from his parent's words.
"You sure you three don't want to go?" Conner asked the teens.
Terra snored, Garfield waived his hand, and Raven rolled her eyes after seeing their response.
"I think that's a 'no'," the Goth girl told the Kryptonian.
"Red Tornado will be here in a bit to monitor you three." Conner told them. "We're taking the Zeta tube to Star City then heading to the parade."
"Red Tornado?" Terra said while leaping off of the couch as if she were wide awake the entire time. "A babysitter?!"
"A monitor," Conner told her.
"Den mother," Garfield added. "We just saved the world. Don't you trust us for a few hours?"
"Really, a little slack would be nice," Raven agreed.
"They just want to make sure you three don't make a 'G' day into a 'PG-13' day like they always did. WOOOOO!"
Looking at the cell in Conner's hand, the three teen's eyes widened severely, M'gann gawked, Conner had a guilty look, and Carter squealed as if it were the finniest thing on Earth.
"I thought I hung you up," Conner told Wally. It was impossible to miss the irritability in his voice.
"But you didn't. WOOOOO!" Wally said in sing-song.
"Get your own marshmallows," the Krypto-human forcefully said.
"Oh, come on, Supey. Don't be like-"
Hammering the 'END CALL' icon, Conner cracked the screen and pocketed the device. He could always get another from the many spares kept in the storage room. It was common practice with his super strength since he received his first one years ago.
"Red Tornado's coming by for monitor duty, keep your eye on the city, the Bioship and Sphere are yours to use if need be, and Wolf is somewhere around here. Most likely still eating the leftover turkey bones from yesterday."
"So, that's still a no on being unsupervised, then," Raven dryly said.
"Just in case something happens."
"See you three later," M'gann said as she headed for the Zeta transporter with Carter in her arms and Conner behind her. "Take care."
Once the two 'parental' leaders were gone, the three teens glanced at each other with mischievous looks on their faces.
"Barbara, Dick's here." Inviting the young man in, and still in the dark about his other life, Jim Gordon lead Dick Grayson into the living room where they waited to leave once his daughter wheeled herself in.
"Sorry for the early pick up," Dick told the police commissioner, "but Alfred wanted to start things early with appetizers while the games start."
"No need to apologize. We're early risers around here." Grabbing his coat, Commissioner Gordon slipped it on over his short coat, which concealed his firearm just incase he should be required to use it, even on his day off.
"Morning, Mister Grayson." Riding her motorized wheelchair into the living room, Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl, smiled at her father and longtime friend.
"Morning, Miss Gordon," Dick answered back. "Ready to go?"
"Sure. Are you sure there's nothing we can bring?"
"When has Bruce, let alone Alfred, ask anyone to bring anything to a holiday meal?"
Smirking, Barbara nodded. "You're right. Just wanted to be a good guest."
"Since when are you and your father guests?"
"Got me there."
"Well if we don't want to keep Bruce and Alfred waiting, we should be going, hon. I'll get the van warmed for you." Kissing his daughter on the head, Commissioner Gordon shook hands with Dick then headed out into Gotham's cold weather to retrieve the specially made van for getting Barbara around when she needed.
"So how are things on the cape and tights side of town?" the paralyzed woman asked.
"He's still searching for Joker. I convinced him to take the day off for you and Jim. Wasn't easy. You know how Bruce is."
"Yeah. Guy won't be happy until every criminal is caught and behind bars for all eternity."
"Which brings me to another subject involving happiness."
"And what is that, Wing?"
Moving closer to the former Batgirl, who looked stunning in her black dress, Dick knelt down in front of her and let a breath out.
"Dick? What are you doing?"
"Barbara," he said as he took her hand.
"Richard Grayson, you're not doing what I think you're-"
"Barbara Gordon, will you do me the honor-"
"Oh my gosh."
"of trying a new experimental surgery to possibly give you the ability to walk again?"
"What?" Barbara asked shocked.
"With everything we have gained from Despero's ship, Atom thinks he can make your legs work again."
With her mouth open, Barbara simply stared at her friend and once crime fighting partner.
"Okay, so, what do I add next?" Garfield asked as he looked over a bowl full of batter.
"Who took the cinnamon? Where is the cinnamon?" Terra all but shouted.
"Turkey's in…and I got giblet slime on me. Gross." With a disgusted look, Raven used her black energy to turn the faucet on and pour soap onto her hands to wash them thoroughly.
Watching the three teens, Red Tornado silently stood by without interfering. Since the moment he arrived, the three Titans were running rampant through the base with various ingredients suited for a Thanksgiving feast. Each had a job to do and explained to the robotic hero how it was imperative they succeed in their mission. M'gann's personal cookbooks were splayed open on the counters with each Titan taking on a different responsibility. Raven had the turkey and potatoes, Garfield had side dishes and cornbread stuffing, and Terra had desserts. To the robot, it looked as if each were worried about their individual jobs instead of the main goal they wanted to achieve.
Loud drums thundered throughout the streets of New York as bands from around the country marched down the street. People dressed in colorful costumes danced and waived at the spectators while cartoon characters come to life excited the children with their antics. Above, large character shaped balloons tethered by cables held by groups of people floated between the buildings as they too made their way down the street with loud music filling the air from both the bands and musical performers.
Squealing loudly, Carter Kent clapped as a person dressed as Snoopy came close to him. The mascot waived and danced, causing Carter to clap his hands in excitement. As he bounced in his mother's arms, Conner watched as the disguised Martian woman smiled brightly at the way their son enjoyed the sights. More and more, he was letting his usual dark and brooding self fade with all the time he spent with his family, one that originally was going to be denied him given how he was only made to be nothing more than a weapon.
Smiling himself, Conner watched as his family had fun at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and smiled brighter when M'gann looked up at him. He drew her close and the three continued watching the spectacle as it traveled down the street.
"Wally! Stop eating all the food before it gets to the table!"
Yelling from the kitchen, Artemis turned just in time to see a blur race by the candy yams while she buttered the rolls beside Roy who was wondering if he should drain the can of corn or pour it all in the pot he had on the stove.
"It's not me, babe, I swear." Skidding to a stop behind his wife, Wally hugged her from behind and kissed her cheek before dashing out the back door of the Queen residence.
"Caught ya!" Zipping up behind the toddler, Berry scooped the strawberry blonde girl up in his arms and tickled her stomach. The girl's face was covered in marshmallow residue, the only evidence needed to convict her of grand theft candy yams.
Away from the kitchen, an attractive blonde woman and dark haired Vietnamese woman made their way down the hall and into the foyer of the Queen residence.
"You have such a lovely home," Paula Crock, Artemis' mother commented to Dinah Queen, also known as the heroine Black Canary, as she traveled around in her motorized wheelchair.
"Thank you Paula. My husband and I want you to treat our home as if it is yours while you are here. Artemis is as much a part of our family as Wally is." Allowing the paralyzed woman to enter the living area first, Dinah saw Berry arrive with Isis to drop her off along side his and his wife's children along with Lian, Jade and Roy's daughter. "And that includes them as well."
"Roy, just drain the corn and add butter!"
"But how much butter?"
Hearing Artemis and Roy fight in the kitchen, Dinah and Paula joined the others in rolling their eyes.
"Although, sometimes, I just want to smack them," Dinah said just loud enough for Paula to hear.
Agreeing with a laugh, Paula was just about to say something when her phone went off. She instantly recognized the number and excused herself to take it privately. Wheeling herself into a private room, the wheelchair bound woman shut the door to the old trophy room and sighed before answering.
"Crusher," she said as civil as she could.
"Paula," came her ex husband's voice.
"Didn't expect to hear from you today."
"You know I always call today."
"And I'm always surprised when you do."
"Well you shouldn't."
"Well, since you called, I'm fine, your daughters are fine, and your grandkids are fine."
Remaining quiet for a moment, Crusher, or Sportsmaster in the criminal circles, could be heard swallowing hard. "Listen, between me and you, just incase I can't call again…well…you know."
"What is this about, Crusher?" Shifting in her seat, Paula thought she could hear something in her ex's voice, something she had not heard in years.
"I never liked how fast Jade climbed the ranks in the Shadows," Crusher began. "Or how Artemis was able to keep up with me. Or the way you left, chose the other side of life instead of what we were best at."
"Crusher, are you-"
"Just tell that goody goody archer and freckled geek they better not cross them in anyway. Or they'll have to answer to me, in this life or the next. I didn't cross the Shadows for those weapons they used just for them to put up with that crap from those sissies."
Sighing, Paula knew what he was saying. It was not like him to show a soft side after her accident resulting in the loss of her legs and their divorce so something like this was so incredibly out of character for him, she knew it had to be bad. "For what it's worth, we did have good times. And the girls are better away from you and that life. You just better make sure it doesn't come back to haunt them.
"You know the rules. Shadows are only after the ones who cross them. Anyway, I gotta go. Never was one for this kind of stuff."
"Keep telling yourself that."
With the phone conversation ended, Paula placed her cell on her lap. She sniffed and wiped an eye clear of a moist trickle then recomposed herself. She knew what was going to happen. She knew what the Shadows would do to her ex should they catch him and knew what he just said to her, even though he tried to disguise it.
"At least I can still call you a man, Crusher."
Maneuvering her wheelchair around, Paula opened the door and rejoined her family and friends for the upcoming Thanksgiving feast.
"Okay, so, which do we want?" Standing before the counter with a large mixing bowl, Terra glanced at several different recipes in one of M'gann's cookbooks.
"What do you mean what do we want?" Garfield asked as Red Tornado silently looked on.
"Which macaroni and cheese do we want?"
"It's macaroni and cheese, Raven said. "What's so difficult about it?"
"I mean, do we want regular, extra creamy, bacon, pepperjackary, three cheese, fried, or baked?" Picking up the book, Terra showed the other two pictures of their choices.
"Bacon. Everybody loves bacon," Raven told her.
"Scuse me, vegetarian over here," Garfield reminded her.
"Switch to the porkside, Garfield," Terra told him. "I guess the extra creamy would be good."
Heading to the refrigerator, Terra reached in and grabbed the cheese the book called for.
"Where's the milk for the potatoes?" Raven asked after tossing a few large spoonfuls of butter into the bowl of steaming spuds.
"I got it." Grabbing one of three bottles, the blonde Titan let the door to the fridge close on its own and handed the milk to the Gothic teen girl. "Here you go."
"Ummm." Looking at the offered bottle, Raven rose an eyebrow then stared back at Terra. "Funny, but I need the canned milk," she flatly said.
"What's the difference? Milk's milk."
"Um, Ter," Garfield said once he saw what she was holding, "that's Carter's milk."
Looking at the bottle, which was nothing special as it resembled a hard plastic half gallon milk jug, Terra shrugged. "So? He won't mind."
"That milk is not going in here," Raven told her as she casted a black dome over the potatoes.
"Why? Because canned milk is special or something?" Terra asked.
"Think about it. Carter drinks milk. That milk has to come from somewhere."
"Cows make Earth milk," Garfield pointed out. "That's Martian milk."
"So Martian cows?"
"Mars doesn't have cows. That has to come from a Martian. A Martian makes that milk."
"And since Martian Manhunter is a male," Raven continued, "and males can't make milk, that means that comes from a female Martian and the only one on Earth is-"
Widening her eyes, Terra finally understood what she was overlooking. "You mean this is M'gann's-"
The other two teens nodded as Red Tornado quietly looked on.
"EW!" Dropping the bottle, Terra jumped back when the lid popped off and spilt the liquid across the floor.
"I'm not cleaning that up." Taking the bowl of potatoes, Raven floated into the air and headed for the pantry where the canned milk was stored.
"I'm out." Following Raven's lead, Garfield grabbed a cookie sheet and a bag of rolls to butter and moved to the other side of the counter.
"Great, great! I spill Martian milk, and the lovebirds run away. Some team this is." Responding to Terra's little rant, both Garfield and Raven beaned her head with an unbaked roll and a roll of paper towels.
With the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade winding down with the appearance of Santa Claus, people began to leave and head home for the holiday. Families moved together so none would lose each other with sleeping kids perched on their parent's shoulders or teens taking last minute selfies before departing.
"Well?" M'gann asked as she and Conner walked away after letting Carter see the man in the red suit.
"Well what?" Conner asked as he shouldered the bag he carried with Carter's things.
"Was it a good idea to bring Carter to his first parade?"
Remembering how his son laughed and clapped at the colorful costumes and antics of the parade participants, Conner grinned and nodded. "Yeah. It was a good idea."
"And you had fun. Admit it."
Snickering, Conner answered, "Because you two were having fun."
Walking back to the alley where the Zeta Transporter was located, neither noticed a man wearing a long coat following them. With the spectator crowd growing thinner the further they walked, the man made sure he would not stick out too much as he kept a safe distance behind them. He looked like just another crowd member heading home or to the bus stop with his hands in his pockets and eyes locked on the superpowered couple ahead of him.
"How do you want to handle this?" M'gann mentally asked her husband.
"Don't care. Have fun."
Looking down at her son, the disguised Martian smiled. "Carter, wanna see something funny?"
Giggling, the hybrid infant clapped his hands.
"Alright, keep quiet and don't do anything stupid." Pulling out a gun, the man following the family pointed it at the the biggest threat, Conner. Truth be told, he really did not think he would be dwarfed by the, now larger than he thought, man.
"Oh no, what ever will we do?" M'gann sarcastically asked.
"Just give me the bag and all your money or I paint the walls."
"Here, take it." Holding the bag out, Conner had a bored look on his face and waited for the armed thief to retrieve what he wanted.
"Toss it he-GRAGH!"
Flying backwards, the thief was struck with the diaper bag as if Conner had fired it out of a cannon. Landing on his rear, the thief dropped his weapon and scrambled to pick it back up. By this time, Conner had beat him to it and held the metal object in his palm.
"You really shouldn't play with guns." Crushing the firearm easily, Conner let the pieces fall to the asphalt between the man's legs.
Looking up with a horrified expression, the man scrambled back but was lifted into the air. Screaming, he floated helplessly, fearing he would fall from the ten feet in the air he was currently at.
"Say bye bye to the men ol' man, Carter, sweetie." M'gann then pulled off Carter's small pair of sunglasses, exposing his glowing red eyes to the would-be thief who panicked even more when he saw them.
The child scrunched up his face in a mean little expression and blew a raspberry, enticing grins from his mother and father.
"Good boy." With a flick of her wrist, M'gann sent the man flying into the wall for the knockout then dumped him into a nearby trash dumpster.
Stepping forward, Conner shut the cover of the large, blue metal container and crushed the sides to pinch it shut. "Hope he likes rotten garbage."
Picking up the diaper bag, Conner rejoined his wife and son. The three engaged in a mental conversation, with Carter using pictures to communicate with his parents, as they headed for the hidden Zeta Transport.
"Everything ready?" Running into the living area, Garfield was now dressed in nicer clothes, a pair of slacks and white polo shirt.
"Just finishing with the table." Terra, in a pair of jeans and yellow long sleeve shirt, was finishing placing silverware, including the ones meant for Carter beside his highchair, around the large dining table where the Titan team and their guests would be eating.
"I hate dressing like this," Raven commented as she smoothed her purple dress and made sure her wide, black belt was centered. "Might as well be wearing a monkey suit."
"You sure you're not related to Conner by any chance?" Garfield playfully asked with a grin.
Flashing her eyes red in a warning, the majick user only received a smile back.
"You look very nice, Rachel." With a blush, Garfield snuck in a peck on her cheek, causing her to blush as well.
Recognize, Zero One, Superman. A Sixteen, Lois Kent. A Fourteen, Jonathan Kent. A Fifteen, Martha Kent. Zero Seven, Martian Manhunter. Twenty Seven, Starfire. C Zero Three, Silkie. Twenty Eight, Supergirl.
Entering the tower, the guests of the Titans were greeted by the three teens, Wolf, and Sphere. Everyone was dressed to impress in their nice clothes, even Wolf was brushed and Sphere polished for the day. Clark and Jonathan were dressed similar, in slacks and white button up shirts, only the elder Kent wore suspenders. Martha wore a blue sundress that really brought her eyes out. Kara, while still getting acclimated to a civilian life, wore jeans, white under shirt with a yellow plaid overshirt with its arms rolled up and tied at the waist, and her surprisingly favorite pair of cowboy boots. And while still getting used to wearing heels, Koriand'r carefully walked in the three inch 'stilts', as she called them, while carrying her little bungorf, Silkie who wore a dog sweater meant to make him look like a small turkey. She had chosen a hot pink, pencil skirt dress with wide black belt to dine in, a first for her to wear as she was trying different outfits on a daily bases from the League's undercover mission wardrobe in the Watchtower to see what her tastes in clothing were. They had finally moved on from the usual jeans and t-shirt look for her.
"Garfield, look at you," Martha said. "So handsome."
"Thank you, Mrs. Kent," the green skinned teen answered.
"Greetings, friend Raven." Reaching out, Koriand'r grabbed the pale skinned girl and wrapped her in a tight hug.
"Can't…breathe." It was not until she was released when Raven could draw breath again.
"Friend Terra!" Doing the same to the Earth mover, Koriand'r laughed as she lifted and spun the girl around as she tried to gasp for air.
"I'll go help them," Kara said while heading to her Tameranian friend to reel her in. Behind her, Silkie played with Wolf as Sphere beeped happily.
"Looks like we arrived just in time," Clark commented. "M'gann really outdid herself."
"I'll say. Everything looks delicious." Inhaling the scent of the food, Lois had to give her comment about the layout. "And where is the chef?"
"Yes, I would like to see my grandson," Martha added.
Right on cue, the Zeta Transport platform announced the arrival of M'gann, Conner, and Carter. Greeting them, mostly Carter first, Martha reached them ahead of the others, taking the child in her arms. While the rest of the guests were welcomed by the Titan leaders, Garfield, Terra, and Raven stood separately from them with nervous smiles on their faces.
"What smells so…good?" Looking towards the kitchen, M'gann saw a large layout of various foods for Thanksgiving.
Starting at one end of the long counter marking the end of the living area from the kitchen, all the food the teens prepared for the meal waited to be gathered and devoured. Plates sat at one end where the line would begin and worked its way to the carved turkey still letting off steam. Sides were next as mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, greenbean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, and buttered rolls were kept warm until a couple of minutes ago when everyone started to arrive. Desserts sat on the counter across from the first for later, which included pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, apple pie, cookies, and a frosted spice cake.
Looking at the three teens, the Martian zeroed in on their nervous smiles. She was surprised at the way they were dressed, especially Raven who mostly wore black and actually had her hair tied back in a low ponytail.
"Did, did you three do all this?"
"Well, you do a lot of the cooking around here," Terra said. "We thought it would be nice if we could help today."
"And since you wanted to take Carter to the Macy's parade, we thought we could surprise you." Smiling wide eyed, the more human looking Garfield moved back and forth on his feet.
"What they said," Raven replied.
"This was why none of you wanted to go?" M'gann asked with a smile. "You wanted to make the meal?"
"We used your cookbooks," Garfield told her. "The ones you wrote yourself."
"And you two took us in when you didn't have to," Terra told the couple. "Took me in."
"And, you know. We're thankful for that." Still not used to admitting her feelings, Raven's words were quiet coming from her, but they were no less sincere.
"You got some good kids on this team, boy," Jonathan said while patting Conner on the back.
"I'd say they're more like a family," Clark commented.
"I still want to do a story on you bunch. Really let the world know about you all." Crossing her arms, Lois smiled as she looked from Titan to Titan. "Once the others get back."
"In the mean time, let's eat," Kara told everyone. "I'm starving."
"I shall be heading back to Watchtower," Red Tornado announced. "I am on watch duty after all."
"Are you sure you do not want to stay for the holiday?" J'onn asked.
"As a robot, I do not require sustenance. I do; however, wish to learn more of this sport called, football, from Cyborg. He has promised to teach me about the different teams, rules, why they play on Thanksgiving, and which teams have the best cheerleaders."
Not long after the robotic hero left, the Kents, Titans, Martians, and Tameranian made their way to the buffet style set up the three teens prepared. Food was loaded onto their plates, glasses were filled, thanks were given, and everyone enjoyed each others company. J'onn even snuck Carter a few Oreos with his pumpkin dessert when his parents were not looking.
Sitting down at the head of the table, Bruce Wayne watched as Tim, Damian, Cassandra, Jim, and Barbara took their seats around the large dining room table Alfred had expertly set for the grand feast. Making sure the former Batgirl was comfortable, Dick took his place beside her with Alfred sitting across from him.
Looking at those gathered, Bruce cleared his throat and drew his glass near him and lifted it into the air. "A toast, to the chef for this meal we are about to partake in."
"Alfred," Dick said among the 'Here, here's."
"My thanks, Master Bruce. It has and always will be a pleasure to do so," the elderly butler stated.
Nodding, the lord of the manor grinned. "And to everyone here. None of us are alone at this table. We are all family regardless of blood, or friendship. For all we have been through, all we have accomplished, all we have faced, we will always look out for one another and be there for each other. May that never change."
"Here, here," they all said.
As the food was passed around, and the conversations began, Barbara leaned closer to Dick. "About what you told me earlier," she whispered.
"Yeah?" Making sure his voice was low, Dick kept the space between him and the paralyzed woman close.
Looking at the new Batgirl sitting close to the head of the table across from her, Barbara turned her head back to her long time friend. "If I go though with it, she stays as you know who. I've passed it on to her. She's…BG."
"If it works," Dick whispered back, "maybe, just maybe you could be…BW."
Luthor Tower – Metropolis
With his meal over, Lex Luthor leaned forward on the long twenty foot dining table and rubbed his temples. After all this time, since that night he attempted to acquire, in his mind, what was his, his head still ached with what the Martian did to him. It was not the only thing still hurting him as his knee throbbed from what the former Project Kr did. It would never be the same, just like his mind.
Sleep did not come easily as past memories of what his fears were came to the forefront of his psyche, failures. Usually, people who fail would learn from their experience and move on, using the lesson to succeed next time. But he was Lex Luthor, genius billionaire who not only was supposed to succeed, but was the definition of what success looked like. And yet here he was, sitting at a table fit for a large gathering of family and friends with enough room for an abundance of food, alone.
"Was everything to your liking, Mister Luthor?"
He had not noticed, but his personal butler had entered the room behind him without a sound. Or maybe there was a sound he just had not picked up on. He was so engrossed with himself to have noticed either way.
"Turkey was dry," Lex flatly said as he leaned back. "Fire the chef."
"At once, sir."
Taking the empty plate, the butler replaced it with a small dish of pumpkin pie with a dollop of whip topping on it. He then refilled his glass before taking his leave and bowed slightly as Mercy entered through the large wooden doors.
"Mister Luthor," Mercy greeted. "I have the reports on Psymon and Project Metallo."
"Just make it quick, Mercy," Lex said while continuing to rub the side of his head. "How long until our, apparently, second rate mentalist is back on his feet?"
"We still do not have a time table on him, sir. He is still far too deep into a coma-like state that it is impossible to believe he will ever waken again."
"At least the man is laughing it off."
"Not for long. Reports show his vocal chords are close to blowing out permanently."
Sighing, Lex leaned his head back on the headrest of his chair. "That Martian woman. Whatever she did to him may just have taken Psymon out of the game permanently. And Corbin?"
"Repairs are almost complete. We estimate he will be back on his feet within five months with the upgrades he's currently receiving."
An almost silent yawn was heard behind the bald billionaire. He knew what is was and finally looked at his assistant. There in her arms was the newest of his long term projects. A sleeping, black haired infant girl was wrapped in a blanket and smacking her lips as she adjusted herself to a more comfortable position. Her light orange skin was unexpected as were the color of her eyes when she was born, something that could be detrimental to his plans but with the right spin, could prove valuable to his next phase for power.
"And Project Nightstar?" Lex asked.
"It is healthy. Birth from the artificial womb went smoothly and the project has strong vitals. Our scientists are keeping a close eye on it to determine it's abilities from the two donor subjects."
"Any way to determine if it's skin and eyes can be changed at this stage? If it is to pass as my daughter, it needs to look human."
"Nothing our scientists can do will guarantee it's safety. For know, we can use cosmetics to have it pass as normal. But what of the mother? How will we create a cover story for one?"
"We'll have time for that later. The world expects Lex Luthor to be running for president. With my, regrettably, impatient actions concerning my would-be prodigy of an heir in the Kryptonian-Martian hybrid coming to an end, for the time being, my next step must be taken carefully. Perhaps the deceased Queen Bee could provide the perfect lineage and opportunity in the introduction of…have we come up with a name for the project yet?"
Presenting the tiny girl to him, Mercy pulled out her phone and checked her extra notes. As she searched for something other than 'Nightstar' as the child's name, Lex looked the girl over when the infant opened its eyes. Bright, glowing green eyes looked up at the man planning to call himself the girl's father, not out of parental love, but for a plan he had been working on for quite sometime.
"One suggestion does appear to be at the top of the list. Marie Luthor," Mercy told her boss.
"Marie," Lex repeated. "I think when the time comes for the next Luthor to make her debut, we should have someone released from Belle Reve. As long as Brain is hooked up to their security system, it seems we will have a never ending supply of soldiers for our little army. In time, those who continue to stand against the evolution of mankind, who feel it necessary to intervene due to their talents, will see the light."
Scooping a small amount of his pie onto a spoon, Lex brought it to the girl's lips and watched as she gummed the sweet pudding-like substance. "And on that day, humanity will finally be taken out of the darkness. And she will lead the charge."