The following story was first published on my Tumblr blog paladin-of-nerd-fandom65.
Disclaimer: All the characters both in story and in reference are owned by DC Comics Inc. and DC Entertainment, subsidiaries of WarnerMedia and Warner Bros. The following songs 'Birthday', 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', 'I Feel Fine', 'No Reply', 'Hey Jude' and 'The End' are written by Lennon-McCartney while 'Act Naturally' was written by Johnny Russell, and Voni Morrison. The sings are owned by Parlophone Records Ltd. and Apple Corps Ltd.
Otherwise, Please Enjoy. Any to all constructive criticism int he reviews is very appreciated.
He leans a bit closer to the mirror, his eyes dead set on his eyebrows. If there's one tiny bit of green still left there, it's got to go. The right side looked clean enough so then his gaze turned to the brow on the left. Having his eyes squint closely on each and every follicle that rested there, at almost every bit of black hair for anything out of the ordinary. After much staring, thankfully, nothing was out of the ordinary; that was a relief, since his friends were coming over for the night and at dinner, he literally cleaned his plate thoroughly, with his face on said plate for good measure, it would be embarrassing if one tiny drip of his mom's meal rests on his face without noticing. Still, all things checked back and forth, he was firmly ready for this night. Clad in a simple grey t-shirt, black denim jeans and black indoor sandals on his feet, he was also dressed just right for the occasion. Excitedly, he leapt of the footstool that sat next to the bathroom mirror and rushes over to the living room, immediately noting of his parents laying out blankets, pillows and comforters on the couches, no doubt to unfold for later at night.
On his way over, a small three legged Pit-bull puppy excitedly chases after him down the hallway from the bathroom to the living room. Turning around, the boy gets a wide grin on his face before scooping the puppy up with his hands and brings her face to face with him. The small puppy then gives a small lick on the boy's face, earning an immediate giggle from him.
"Okay, okay, girl! I'll get you treat when we get to the kitchen" he happily tells the puppy before finally reaching the living room before then crossing into the nearby kitchen. He heads straight to the cabinet where the dig treats are stored and lo behold; he quickly finds the small red box he needs. Taking a small green dog bone shaped biscuit from the box, the boy happily gives it to his canine friend and gently puts her back down, allowing her to run off to her nearby dog bed and he in turn first washes his hands before finally heading back to the living room to help his mother.
It was nearly two weeks since ten year old Jake Grayson asked his parents if he can throw a slumber party at their humble apartment in Bludhaven for his friends. After all, as of right now, his Big Sis Mar'i is hanging out with her own friends Irey, Lian and Cerdian back at Titans Tower back at the city's bay for the night so why not have something similar for the night. While his father Dick and his mother Kory were skeptical for the first five minutes after Jake first popped the question, they ultimately agree to it. As such, with some quick phone calls and promises to not leave their little adobe a complete disaster by the morning, that slumber party fast approaches and Jake cannot for the life of him wait for it much longer. He needs something to pass the time; hence, he approaches his mother who brings out another blanket for their guests. Even though it's only 4:25 pm in the afternoon, it is best be prepared far in advanced as the matriarch of the Grayson family does.
"Can I help Mom?"
Kory lightly giggles at that request, "Of course you may, Little Prince. Any help of the sort is truly appreciated."
Thus, Jake takes the blanket out of his mother's hands and places it neatly next to the others on the couch while she fetches the last two pillows they need for tonight.
"Alright son," Dick informs his little boy while drying his hands after putting away the last of the clean dishes from the kitchen sink. "Your mom and I going to be around just in case you guys need anything but I think you have this covered."
"Yep" Jake chirps happily, standing in front of his father with his best salute, "the guys will bring it all over, Dad!"
Dick smiles back. "Also, don't forget in making sure you pick up your messes, dishes and whatever you can after you're done with it."
"I know Dad," Jake playfully rolls his eyes before perking up for something he has to say, "and we'll keep all the noise down to make sure we don't bug you guys that much"
Dick lightly chuckles while ruffling his son's hair, "It's okay Buddy, our bedroom door's mostly sound proof, remember? Unless you guys somehow blow something up with an explosion or something, you guys can get loud as you want. It's appreciated though."
Jake beams while as per usual playfully moving his father's hand away. As if on cue, the doors bell rings and a young voice with a similar pitch to Jake's sounds off.
"Ding Dong! It's Chris and Jon", the voice exclaims happily. Almost immediately, Jake bolts to the front door faster than his parents can get there and opening it, carefully just in case, indeed there they were. Right outside the front door were two boys about Jake's age range. One a 12 year old with mousy brown hair and steel grayish blue eyes, clad in a light brown flannel top shirt along with a white t-shirt, khaki jeans and black high tops, carrying a blue backpack and a guitar case. To his left was a 10 year old with jet black hair and brighter ocean blue eyes while wearing some glasses not too dissimilar to their father's in turn clad in a blue and red sweatshirt, a similar white tee underneath, standard denim jeans and red sneakers. Carrying both his own backpack and his own guitar case on hand, he also sported a big huge grin on his face.
"It's nice to see you, Jakey", Jon cheerfully yelps happily upon Jake opening the door fully in confirming it's them. Almost immediately, the Tamaranean-Human hybrid nearly tackles the both of them in a hug, wrapping both of his arms around them as much as possible. In turn, both Kryptonians give him a quick yet all too real hug back. They sometimes can forget how much of his mother Jake has in him and stuff like this clearly cut shows it.
Another trait that Jake inherits from Kory comes in the form of his politeness for guests to a point of said guests being more-or-less royalty. Best seen once Jake removes himself from Chris and Jon, dusts off his outfit and with a proud smile on his face, politely bows to his guests and gestures to the inside of the door.
"Welcome, welcome", Jake states with a faux 'fancy' accent, 'do please, my good sirs. Make yourselves quite comfortable. I find that you will like our humble adobe, yes?"
Chris has a quick chuckle and a small smile on his face courtesy of Jake's attempt at being a good host. "It's all okay, Jake, You don't need to act like a Prince to let us in. But thanks anyways"
Jon chimes in as the two enter the Grayson apartment and slip their respective sneakers off their bare feet before stepping onto the beige carpet, "yeah, I mean, I get your Mom's a Princess and all but you don't need to go overboard with it."
Jake merely shrugs his shoulders while closing the door behind him. "Well, I guess I just wanted to feel like royalty by acting like it," Jake states while sheepishly rubbing the back of his head. "Maybe it's just also I want to work on talking fancy whenever I have to go either to Grandpa Bruce big parties or something, you know?"
Dick can be heard chuckle in turn on that last part of Jake's statement. "Trust me, buddy. Fancy talking like that can only get all those older ladies at those things gushing all over and pinching your cheeks so much, I swear they turn red by the 5 minute mark."
All three boys have a good laugh at that description. "No way," Jon faux disbelieves, knowing what Damian goes through at those galas based on their talks about them.
"-Tt-"A scoff comes from right outside the door. Immediately Jake perks up and opens the door. Sure enough, there was a 12 ½ year old, clad in a black leather jacket with orange stripes on the arms, black denim jeans, red sneakers similar to Jon's and a red t-shirt under said jacket. He stands in the doorstep carrying his own backpack, his very own guitar case in which looks more pristine and sturdy than Chris or Jon's on one hand and on the other, both a portable old school tape recorder-like device and a slightly larger, more rectangular case, no doubt used for pianos. "Well obviously, Grayson here clearly never quite adapts to handling the crowd of socialites not even if he had the training to do, unlike me", he states with a small smirk in his face.
Jake slowly approaches the newest visitor before extending his hand in which the guest takes before pulling him into a hug.
"Glad you made it, Uncle Damian"
Damian smiled a bit softer while lightly hugging Jake back. "Glad I was able to, Jacob"
The other two boys let out 'Awwws' which despite their low volume, still gets Damian's attention, rewarding them with a all too real scowl. It's a scowl saying 'Don't push your luck, you two'. A scowl the two quickly take note of before making the 'zipping lips' gesture, knowing their place.
After letting go out of Jake's hug, he follows the younger Grayson into the living room, placing his jacket on the living room rack, taking his own sneakers off, and placing them next to Jon and Chris' before stepping barefoot onto the living room carpet. From there and still carrying their backpacks and cases, the three followed Jake across the living room, to the hallway and straight to his bedroom.
"'Sup Damian" says Dick from the kitchen who waved his hand to the final guest before he waved back.
"Not too much, Grayson, just tending to our business", Damian replies with a small smirk before following his friends to Jake's bedroom.
Along the way, Chris takes note of all the photos on the walls, family memories and portraits for the Grayson family. One a particular section of the wall, about to the right side of the entrance to the hallway, there were photos of himself alongside both Jake and his older sister Mar'i, all at various places and gatherings, side by side and having a great time with one another. Center of the photos is in particular a mere laminated document from the City of Bludhaven offices; imprinted were the signatures of Mr. Grayson, his Dad Clark, his mom Lois and himself. Indeed, this document confirms that Dick gains custody of Chris as a godson in the event something bad happens to his already adopted parents. Frankly, as formal and touching the whole thing is, such an event seems improbable. After all, for Chris, Jon and their eldest brother Conner, their dad is Superman.
"Hey, Chris, you're coming?"
The slightly smaller voice of his adopted brother snapped Chris out of his gazing onto that part of the hallway walls. Following it, he almost dashed towards the last single door to the left of said hallway where the others had walked in. Chris almost immediately catches up in spite of the bulky guitar case and his stuffed backpack weighing on him. Besides that, both he and Jon are wearing watches with a specific tiny feature: emitting red solar energy that dampens their Kryptonian powers for most occasions. Therefore, it was mostly on his pure physical strength that he carries his items.
As he enters Jake's bedroom, Chris looks around, noticing the white painted walls filled with various posters of Superman, the Titans and one of Mr. Grayson as Nightwing, his nightstand with a holographic clock and a complete and displayed Voltron action figure set piece. Also present was a toy chest right in the corner next to his mirror door double closet, his twin size bed opposite corner of the toy chest, a flat screen TV on top of his dresser drawers.
Finally in the last free corner was the one piece that best fits on the other reason this slumber party is happening at all. At said corner was a Downbeat four piece drum kit that of the Ludwig brand with three cymbals, one of them being a hi-hat pair, them in turn of the Zildjian brand. For the snare drum, mounted and floor tom, they have on them some rags and towels, no doubt for a unique sound when struck and the big bass drum in turn had a spare blanket within it, for a similar effect. Finally, the drums' outer shells, there glows a Red Sparkle finish with black Nightwing symbols and purple eight purple stars plastered on each drum.
On the corner wall next to the drums was a Superman calendar, displaying the current month. Noticeably, about two lines down from their current day, on a Saturday and circled around in big bright red ink was a particular note;
'Alfred's B-Day Party!'
Jake, Jon, Chris and Damian earlier last month volunteered for providing the entertainment for Alfred's incoming birthday party, mainly being musicians, a super rock band if you may. While their respective parents' and even Alfred himself had said some variant of 'really, you don't have to do this, it'll be a good time even without it, because coming to this party for Alfred is what really matter', the four decide to press onwards. Hence, they give themselves approximately three weeks since that day to practice all the songs they'll perform on that day, in front of a sizeable crowd, mainly consisting of their best friends and families. Of course by that, meaning the entirety of the Titans International, the Kents, the Wayne Family, both officially adopted and good friends including Barbara and Stephanie, and even the entirety of the Justice League, beyond just the main seven members. Needlessly to say, it was a big crowd to entertain so the buys have quite a lot of work ahead of them.
Next to the drums were three set up chairs and three plugged in amplifiers, meant obviously for their instruments for their little practice session later tonight. Speaking of which, Jon, Chris and Damian unzip or unclipped their guitar bags, pulling out their instruments, meant not just for this practice session but also for the day of the party itself. Within each of the cases as well via large front pockets were sheets, a group of about 3 of them stapled together. The papers contain with horizontal lines with particular symbols and shapes plastered in a harmonic pattern, each stapled set different from the last.
Chris' guitar, or rather a six string bass, the guitar used for the deep sounding 'thumping' one can hear in stereos, had a customized paint job with a black outer layer, followed with a thin teal line, right under it a bright blue center. The pick-guard, the part of the guitar that takes the strums of the playing picks or fingers and containing the numerous knobs, switches and thin metal straps underneath the strings called pickups, on Chris' bass sports a light red color in contrast with the blue. As for the neck, the part that contains dividing lines that mark a different note per string called frets, all done via sliding and pressing on said strings when playing, the color remains a natural redwood. Finally, at the very end of the neck was the bass guitar's head, where the strings can either loosen or tighten for achieving the desired tuning per song. The headstock itself on Chris' bass in particular was a peculiar curved shape, the name of the guitar type itself plastered on the bottom half, said half curved to fit. All six strings on this bass tie up in knobs lined up in a single row on the top half. Chris' instrument of choice, as evidenced above, was a 1971 Fender Bass VI. The bass here landed on Chris' hands about two to three years ago, being a gift from Conner when his adopted brother took an interest in playing alongside the former during jam sessions back at Mount Justice. As for why the Fender VI of all designs, the additional two strings as opposed to the usual four bass guitars possess allows to Chris to dart his fingers all across the strings for differing and unique notes, the two added ones providing even more so. Plus as he can admit, 'it just looks very cool'. Though frankly, that statement can apply to choices of instruments Jon and Damian bring with them and as of this moment plug into the amps, checking the sound quality.
Speaking of which, Jon's guitar was of a different more round, circular shape in contrast to Chris' Fender, this one instead of the rival Gibson brand. The main body of the guitar was a simple, flat white color with both the pick-guard and the headstock similarly colored white as well. Only the neck contrasts color wise, being dark ebony from end to end. This particular variant, a 1968 Les Paul, offers Jon an ease in playing in all sorts of styles and paces, and an ease for access the lighter, higher pitch when the neck and fret near the body, essentially for playing solos as their lead guitarist. Unlike Chris and Damian, Jon bought this guitar using saved up pocket change and allowance money during a day out with his dad Clark at the Metropolis Central Mall.
Finally, regarding Damian's guitar, while similarly hailing from the Gibson brand, the design of such differs in comparison and not just due to the solid black coloring for both the body and headstock. The lower half of the body was evenly widened while the upper half next to the neck curves a bit smaller and instead of the top portion of that half being rounded and bulkier to the lower part as with Chris' and Jon's, it was evenly sized. The tips at the end of the body of Damian's guitar resemble something akin to horns and the fret bars on the neck are straighter and rigid looking in comparison to the other two instruments. Finally, a simple Bat-Symbol stick with a yellow circle sticks to the center of the guitar's headstock. This 1965 Gibson SG served Damian quite well during his few moments practicing whatever tune came to his head at Wayne Manor's garden during his off time. Now, being plugged into the amplifier, it shall provide the steady chords and thumping harmonic to Chris' bass playing since Damian takes the role of rhythm guitarist for this band of merry men.
Though of course, that's not all Damian brought with him. After all carefully setting his guitar down on the amplifier, he starts opening up the rectangular case, first taking out of it a black metal set of poles. From there, he pulls out the main instrument: a grey, red and black electric piano, built by the Yamaha brand, a P45B type precisely. In the songs in which require a hands on piano playing, he takes the offer, especially with its numerous features ready for use with a push or two of a button. After plugging his piano with an available outlet via the extension cord, he finally sets up that tape recorder device. Only while the 'reels' are present, in reality this was a specially built portable recording studio designed and built by Vic and Duke per Damian's request. If previously recorded tunes, orchestra background music, sound effects and other miscellaneous bits are what the band needs to enhance their sessions, this device does all that and more. Turning the device on, a small hologram displaying the various options for recorded instruments and sound effects begins to shine brightly in the bedroom and ready for use on Damian's command.
Finally, the boys also brought within their bags and cases small sheet music stands in which the place their own copies of said sheet music. After days and hours of memorizing and playing along with the notes right in front of them during their private moments a their respective homes, now it was time to put that practice to good use. As the boys take their respective seats and set up the stands and sheet music packs, Jake slipping off his indoor sandals and placing them to the side as he takes his drummer seat, a small bark on the bedroom door gets their attention.
A small pitter-patter on the beige carpet approaching the bedroom quickly follows said bark. Looking up, they quickly spot and smile because it's none other than that small three legged puppy from earlier who immediately rushes up to Chris' leg. Her tail wags back and forth happily and lightly brushing Chris' bare ankle, causing him to nearly stumble off his chair giggling before being able to straighten out and take her into his hands, petting her head.
"It's nice to see you too, Bitewing", Chris says while giving both Jon and Damian a chance to pet her as well.
A chuckle travels down the hallway on its way to the bedroom. "Well, I guess I have to repeat myself for maybe the 425th time Chris but her name's…"
"Its Haley, we get it Grayson", Damian playfully rolls his eyes as he pets Haley's head before Chris gently puts her down on the carpet before the Pit-bull decides instead to leap on Jake's bed and settle there.
"Thought you guys might need a little energy. It might only 4:35 right now, but I have a feeling you might take advantage of the whole 'up all night' thing you had in mind", says Dick happily. He carries on his hands a tray that has four mugs of hot chocolate, a plate of Alfred's cookies baked from a few days ago, and homemade Zorkaberry tarts and sets it down on Jake's nightstand.
"Thanks, Mr. Grayson" stated Chris with an appreciative grin on him alongside Jon and Jake. Damian had a smaller smirk and gave a small 'hmph' while picking back up his guitar and tuning its strings.
Dick chuckled lightly while offering Chris a small fist bump, "Well I guess I have to repeat myself on this one too, you can just call me Dick, Chris". His Godson in turn bumps fists before turning his attention back to his Fender bass, making sure all its strings tighten and loosen just right for the amount strumming up ahead.
"As I told Jake right before you guys arrived, if you guys need anything for any real reason, Kory and I would be in our bedroom or the living room. There's pizza that's still warm on the kitchen counter, sodas, if the hot cocoas aren't enough, are in the fridge and your blankets are in the living room if you want to sleep out there or in here", Dick explains with near precision so that they all pay close attention.
"Okay, Dad," Jake chirps, "we get it. Thanks for helping out with everything and allowing it."
Dick walks over to his son on the drum kit and ruffles his jet black hair. "Well, I can't just let my little rock star be denied a chance to hang out with his friends if the chance comes up, can I? I mean, you got to take it from me."
Damian playfully scoffs, "In all fairness Grayson, when you had issues with Father at that age, countless nights over at the Tower seems practical by that point, especially with your resident future wife there as well."
Jake, Jon and Chris lightly giggle at that remark while Dick shrugs his shoulders, "Touché, Dames."
"But yeah," Jon says, "we got this all covered Dick. We'll call you and Kory if anything comes up."
"And, what else Jon?"
"Oh right, if we use a plate or something, we'll put it away after we're done with it", Jon finishes up with a salute as he does with his father.
Dick nods approvingly, "Alright, looks like you guys got it all down. I had to remind Jake at least twice this week only if just in case he needed to remind you guys but it looks like you got it all down."
Jake crosses his arms and lightly pouts, "Well of course we do. We're not babies anymore."
"Well, yeah, maybe they're not. But I will say this, you're still my baby." Dick gives Jake a quick fatherly kiss to his temple, much to the snickering from the Kents and Damian, causing Jake to blush.
"Though, that doesn't mean you're excluded, Damian", Dick says as he walks over to his younger adopted brother, giving him a quick hug, one that the latter appreciated in spite of his usual self.
With that, Dick makes his way to the bedroom door. "Just one thing I will say"
Jon raises an eyebrow "What's that?"
With a playful smirk, Dick gives the boys a hand signal resembling horns, "Rock Out, Guys."
Jake returns both the grin and his own horns on his hand, "You bet, Dad!"
As Dick takes his leave to tend to his wife waiting in the living room, the boys finish tuning their instruments. They take note of their sheet music, each stapled pack having numbers written on top in which will be the order the songs play out at their big concert. Conveniently yet also inconveniently, their entire collection of songs, save for a few exceptions, give writing credit to a particular songwriting duo. It's a duo many older rock music fans or younger ones with a biting view of modern music can find very familiar. In fact, the collection of songs these four are performing come from just a single music group, whom the songwriting duo hails from, a music group that Alfred on occasion had said at point or another in their interactions with him are his favorite. The songs composers, being none other than Lennon & McCartney, the group being the Fab Four, The Beatles. Chris and Jake are the ones who suggest covering Beatles songs for Alfred's upcoming birthday party and starting from today till then, they will stop at nothing until they get it right. It all starts with their first song; from 1968's 'The White Album', appropriately enough, 'Birthday'. It will end with ironically enough, 'The End', straight from 1969's 'Abbey Road'. In between, about 12 other songs for performing, ranging from the earlier days of the Beatles' mop top era to their experimental tunes from their later half. At least the songs that are playable with the instruments at hand, so thankfully they exclude 'Revolution 9' for those reasons.
"Alright", Jake states while lightly pressing on the hi-hats pedal, clamping the two cymbals together, "so I guess we should get started on this first song? I mean, it doesn't look too hard."
"You sure, Jake", Chris questions, staring intently at his sheet music, eyes squinting closely, "I know that I read all this in just a few seconds but actually playing it and singing at the same time? I have to be honest; I don't think you guys actually heard me actually sing for realsies."
Jon looks back to his adopted older brother with a reassuring look, "Conner and I hear you sing almost all the time when you're in the barn rooftop and it didn't sound bad at all."
Chris double takes unintentionally at that, "w-Wait, how do you…?" Before Chris can answer, Jon taps on one of his ears. "Oh yeah, I forget that you have super hearing too."
"Yeah but trust me", Jon places a reassuring hand on Chris' shoulder; "I kinda bit know what bad singing can sound like, think about all that lame music we hear whenever we go out grocery shopping with Mom."
Damian nods in agreement on that one. "I heard that damn 'It's Friday' song just inside the nearby Mega Shop about 3000 times already. When will those cretins who run that place give that a rest already? Not even Drake can relate to it at all! –Tt- it's utterly disgraceful."
"Point is", Jake raises his hand, getting Chris' attention, "it's perfectly okay if you don't have the right singing right away. I'm sure that between now and Alfred's birthday, you'll sound better than ever before. Every time we all practice, we can only get better." Jakes finishes with a gentle smile towards Chris, confident in his words.
In turn, after realizing what his band mates and friends' words mean, Chris had a small smile start growing in his face. Only, that smile lightly fades out rather quickly when another thought crossed his mind. "But, on that day, we'll all go in front of all those people and what if all that practice I did suddenly just disappears and I end up blowing it? What will our parents, Mr. Wayne and Mr. Alfred say about that? And what if they start laughing at all of us just because of me sticking at singing and what if…"
Jake abruptly moves out of his seat on the drum set, straight to Chris in the middle of his worry, and wraps his arms around him before he can go on. The hug snaps Chris out of said worry, enough for him to look down truly noticing his Tamaranean friend looking up at him with his green, hopeful eyes. For a good few seconds, he finds himself losing any words to say or any sort of rebuttal to Jake's action. All he does indeed stare at those eyes, but it was probably enough in getting the message. He doesn't need to say anything else but instead wrap his arms around Jake, hugging him back before finally Jake lets go and returns to his seat.
Taking a deep breath and wiping any tears that he felt could fall out of eyes, Chris' earlier smile comes back, his confidence mostly restored. "Thanks Jakey, I needed that"
The youngest of the Graysons gives his Kryptonian friend glowing thumbs up before taking into his hands a pair of drumsticks that were resting on his snare drum, ready to begin. Jon takes one of the cookies of the tray on Jake's nightstand while Damian taps on the portable recording device's holograph menu. He accesses the 'record' function, displaying empty bars that pick up sound, filled in bars resembling backing instruments to help with their cues and a big red switch on the physical device lights up, indicating one flick and the recording begins.
"I assume we're finally ready for this, appetites and all", Damian asks with a glaring eyebrow raised, locking eyes towards Jon who was munching away his chocolate chip cookie before picking up on that look towards. Hastily, Jon practically inhales the rest of the cookie and wipes his hands before placing them in position on his Gibson guitar.
"Alright then", Damian breathes before flicking the red switch on the recorder, the 'tapes' starting reeling and the bars begin moving.
"This is Birthday, take 1"
At that, Jake raises his two drumsticks, crossed, he remembers the tempo for his drums; 139 BPM, 4 beats per bar.
The sticks tap,
"Okay, 1…2…A 1...2...3!" Jakes yells out per beat before smashing down his sticks on the drums…the moment of truth….
BOOM BOOMBOOM BAM BOOMBOOM
The drum fill gives Damian the cue.
"A Chord, Now!"
On cue, all three guitars blaze through their riffs, all in unison until the very end of it…
Chris repeats his riff, Jake timing his snare drum hits to match.
Once more, the guitars play in unison.
One again, Chris repeats his own riff and Jakes times it.
The riff tune switches, still in tight unison before Chris repeats alone.
"Back to A!"
The riff returns back to its first pitch, bass riff capping it off before…
The riff switches once again, to a different pitch, the bass riff capping in it once again.
"Back to A!"
Finally, the introduction of the song ends with all three guitars strumming the familiar riff once again.
"Ok, Now First Verse!"
Chris takes a quick breath upon Damian's cue, looking at his sheet music with the words underneath the bars and notes.
The riff begins its repeat…Now…to sing…!
Chris: They say it's your Birthday
The riff repeats with guitars in unison.
Chris: It's my Birthday too, hey!
The switch goes to D.
Chris: They say it's your Birthday
It goes back to A.
Chris: We're gonna have a good time!
Now, they switch to E.
Chris: I heard it's your Birthday
Finally, it's back to A.
Chris: Happy Birthday to You!
"Ok, Now Middle Eight, Drums!"
Damian's shout towards the wrap up of the riff is now Jake's cue as all guitars go silent. The beat briefly switches, snare, bass drum and floor tom only.
Damian counts the measures
In the eighth one, The guitars are raised, the three begin to strum and Jake's Middle Eight ends with his snare and tom blazing; a drum fill in.
Damian's cue signals the rest, all three strum the chord all the way, in a moderately fast pace.
The chord strumming blazes onward as Damian takes his turn to sing.
Damian: Yes, we're going to a party, party!
In that moment, he nods to Jon, time to harmonize
Damian and Jon: Yes, we're going to a party, party!
"One more time and then Chorus!"
Damian and Jon: Yes, we're going to a party, party!
"Ok, now Bridge riff", Jake yells just enough for his band mates to hear over his thunderous roll all over his three drums, crashing a cymbal.
Suddenly the pitch shifts into the C chord notes in Blues-esque pattern before landing on G, a backing piano emitting from Damian's recorder in keeping everyone on point. All it needs now…
Chris mutters silently to himself in the middle of C Chord notes, "okay…5…6…7…"
Chris: I would like you to dance
Jon signals to Damian, it's time to harmonize!
Jon and Damian: Birthday
Chris' smile on face grows a bit upon hearing the two join in, they have his back on this one.
Chris: Take a cha-cha-cha chance
Chris even danced his shoulders to the 'cha-chas', probably both matching the song and his own joyous mood.
Jon and Damian: Birthday
Chris: I would like you to dance
The riffs on G are climbing because it was time to finish it, and Jake calls it.
"Finish on E", he yells slamming his drums.
Chris hears and bellows out a final 'Da-a-a-a-a-nce, yeah!' Jon strums a few higher notes on E before finally the bridge portion finally ends with Damian's cue.
"Now, back to riff, go!"
In a moment, one can call déjà vu as all three guitars return to the same riff that started the song. Once more the A chord notes are strummed in unison between all three guitars with Chris' bass capping it before a second repeat. Thankfully, the verse features no singing lyrics, just plain guitar and drums. It gives each of the boys a quick reflection if you may.
Chris feels confident with his voice, he manages one first take no less to get a clear reading of the lyrics, based on the pitches as per the sheet music; Jon starts getting this song in his head, frankly how could he not, this is just too much fun! Damian sports a small smirk on his face ever since reach the first verse and it hasn't faded at all, he too was having so much fun and he too finds confidence, not once did his friends break the flow of the song too much to where cuts are concerned, maybe they can do this after all. And for Jake, pounding away on those drums and cymbals, he knows each hit and each crash keep his friends on point and enjoying themselves at the same time; he can't be any happier in spite of his own nervousness of the whole thing.
"Okay", Jon signals as their instrumental verse starts approaching a unique place in the song, "All guitars…NOW!"
The drums cease, Jon, Damian and Chris have a single slide of notes, a riff harkening to the blues so much invoked. It's A Chord first, followed by D. It goes to A and then briefly E before A and finally a back and forth of A and G.
Jake with a wide hits his snare, "One more Bridge!"
Chris' grin widens too "Yeah!"
The guitar hit the C Chord notes once more.
Chris: I would like you to dance
Jon and Damian: Birthday
Chris: Take a cha-cha-chance
By now, Jake keeps the rhythm but his cymbals crash twice more with the energy he has.
Chris: I would like you to dance
Jon and Damian: Birthday
The guitars power strum until finally hitting that E Chord and Jon's lead strings hit their high notes.
"Last verse, same as the first" Damian snaps his fingers and now the guitars return to A for one more verse.
Chris: They say it's your Birthday.
Bass and Drums play together with backing piano
Chris: It's my Birthday too, yeah!
Both guitars maintain harmonies as they strum together.
Chris: They say it's your Birthday
They know now, it all comes to this for their take.
Chris: We're gonna have a good time.
They all look each other in the eyes, its Big Finish time.
Chris: I'm glad it's your Birthday
"Big Finish" Jake yells happily, this was it.
All Together: Happy Birthday to You!
One more play of the riff and then, it happens. All guitars blaze on the A Chord like there's no tomorrow. Jake pounds and batters his drums and cymbals in frenzy, not one part of the set finds sparing from Jake's thunderous hits. They can all hear the crowd now, the cheers, the hollering, and it all comes to one last few strums…
After 20 seconds of pure noise, there is a brief quiet. The distortion is cracking on their amps; Jake holds his sticks waiting for that one minute…
Jon's cheer was their cue, one last strum on the A Chord and crashing of the two cymbals comes right after.
Now, the boys slump back on their chairs, taking deep breaths and finally letting their hands of their guitar necks. Damian slowly trudges over the recording device's big red switch and flicks it off. Their take finishes.
A few seconds pass in complete silence.
Jon simple question breaks the silence while Damian cracks his fingers. Haley on the nearby bed barks and pants happily.
"-Tt- Based on Haley's response here, I suppose for a first take, she certainly enjoyed it", Damian's remark speaks quite true as far as the rest are concerned.
Jake nods, "Yeah, maybe it wasn't that bad at all, Uncle Damian." He then turns his attention to their bass player with a widening grin. "You did awesome, Chris!"
The slightly older Kryptonian blushed at that statement but smiles brightly nonetheless at that remark. Maybe he did do awesome right there. But then, there's the tape recorder that can prove otherwise. So, shortly after, all four take a good listen to their take.
A sentiment finds itself shared between all of them, nodding along with the flurry of notes, beats and vocals pouring out of the recorder's speakers. Chris and Jake munching on some cookies, Jon ghost-playing along with what he hears being his notes and Damian starring intently at the recording, his chin resting on his right hand in that stereotypical pondering face. The recording shortly finishes its playback.
"Hmm", Damian hummed before turning to his band mates, "based on what we have, the pacing of the drumming can speed up a bit and Christopher for a first time singing with the instruments at play, your performance has this rather…focused yet there's a bit of..." Damian struggles in trying to find the right words for it, leaving Chris with a confused look on his face.
Jon steps in to help. "I think what he's saying is that, you're just reading the song but you can put bit more emotion into it."
"Yeah", Chris says rather lightly-gloomily upon hearing that note, his head looking down on his two feet, bashfully and almost completely filled with utter shame "I guess I was too busy just reading my parts instead of actually singing it. I knew I couldn't get it right like how they sang it. Maybe, I'm just not cut out to singing at all. I don't even taking singing classes at school, and I should've when I had the chance before the year started."
Jon and Damian exchange a sympathetic look on their faces hearing Chris' self-deprecation. But before they can say anything, Jake beats them to it.
"Hey, it's okay, Chris, It's only the first take. That's why we're here in the first place."
Jon nods in agreement while placing a soft hand on his older brother's shoulder. "Yeah, Jake's absolutely right. Also, it's just our first day really doing this altogether. Before, it was just you and I doing all that. You just need to get used to all of us playing at once and I'm sure you can pull it off without anything major."
Chris' grayish blue eyes look up, meeting with his younger brother's brighter blue ones. He's right, it is just their very first time playing a song altogether. Seeing Jon sport a small smile on his face, one on Chris grows slowly but surely as well. It can only go up from here.
In spite of his silence on the matter, a short nod on Damian's end confirms his agreement in his band mates' words of encouragement. On note of this being a first take, his right hand reaches for the portable recording device's holograph menu, tapping on the necessary buttons to create a brand new sound file. This is will be the boys' second take of this one song.
Jake looks up at the time via his holographic clock on his nightstand; it reads 4:45 pm. Just 10 minutes pass by and they only work so far on one song, out of plenty more to go. On the other hand, thankfully enough, Jake and his guests have all afternoon and all night and plenty of days ahead of them. Besides, it won't be all just music practice; indeed, this slumber party has a few other activities all four of them map out beforehand since why waste an entire day on just this.
As Jake picks up his drumsticks and Damian prepares to flip the blinking red switch on the recording device for their next take, the boys also prepare within themselves for the long amount of time passing ahead of them.
Upon getting a 'go' signal from Damian, Jake taps his sticks.
5:10 PM, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, take 2.
In the middle of the blasting French horns within the background sounds playing, Damian takes deep breathes and clears his throat. He tries tampering down the amount of strumming on his guitar to match with the others. He has to get it right this time; he must remember, be the lower harmonic in spite of his volume.
"Chorus…Now" he cues as the French horns cease on a high note. Now for the second time…
Jon, Damian and Chris: We're Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
We hope you will enjoy the show.
Damian notes of his G Chord strumming waiting until…Now spilt second briefly, to move to the second and then to first fret for three strums…now back to G…. wait a minute, he was strumming C…
5:20 PM, I Feel Fine, take 1.
Jake rapidly taps away on the left cymbal and snare as the other three try reaching a near perfect pitch in their harmonies, but by all accounts, the tempo and pacing are truly something else from before. At 90 BPM, he's just so glad so far, no major mishap came in to…
Just then, his drumstick overreaches and instead of a tap smacks on the cymbal, knocking the stand, and then due to his shock, Jake falls back of his seat and upon landing back first on the ground, knocks the floor tom which in turn knocks his snare drum, hit-hats and right cymbal. By the time the boys looked behind them while ceasing their instruments, all that was standing from where Jake should be was his left leg sticking in the air, his toes twitching and all of the drum kit still standing being his bass and mounted tom drums, everything else lies all over the floor.
Damian simply slaps the palm of his hand on his face, grumbling to himself.
"Cut!" Damian then yells while flicking off the red switch on the recorder as Jon and Chris help Jake out and gets his kit squared away.
Indeed, this might be a tad bit trickier than they all thought.
5:45 PM. No Reply, take 3
Jon: 'Cause you walked hand and hand, with another man…
Alright, it was going so far so good. The transition to the chords and beats all matched well, it just need to Jon to pay close attention to the lyrics without another….
Jon: In my…uh…face!
"No, no, no. no", Jake yelps in an almost pure panic over the sounds of the instruments, "It's 'Place' Jon! PLACE!"
"Well Face and Place rhyme! Sorry!"
Damian groans and makes a power strum on his guitar to end this take. "Cut!"
Mishaps and imperfections aside, the boys find themselves doing better progress than they thought. So far, they reached song number 7 out of 14, halfway there. The song in question that's next up being 'Please Please Me'. First things first however, a quick break.
Chris looks at his Zorkaberry tart with a curiosity all over his face. Jake takes notice of it, remembering that Jon and Damian already tried those things before but Chris never did. It's understandable though given that Tamaranean food in its many forms vary wildly on what's edible for other sapient humanoids and what isn't at all.
"Are you sure I ain't gonna mutate or get sick if I eat it, Jake?" Chris asks his friend who in turn was also happily munching on a Zorkaberry tart of his own.
"Yep", Jake chirps happily with his mouth full, "Jon already had it and nothing bad happen to him!"
"Grayson Spawn, finish what you're eating first", Damian let his adoptive nephew know in a parental manner, to which while not much fond of it, Jake nonetheless obeys via swallowing his food.
Having heard enough encouragement, Chris gingerly takes a decent bite of his tart; slowly chewing it back forth in his mouth, allowing the tastiness and exotic yet somehow familiar flavor within it swim his mouth before taking the fateful swallowing. He waits…five seconds… ten seconds…twenty seconds…Chris breathes out a sigh of relief, nothing weird had happened and thank goodness.
To alleviate things further, Jon does a quick scan with his X-ray vision in making sure nothing weird happens. Sure enough, he gives his brother big thumbs up. Indeed, this Tamaranean delicacy is safe to eat for pure bread Kryptonians.
Chris then looks at Jake who had big, gleaming and cheerful eyes with his face rested on his hands and a big smile on his lips. "So, how did it taste?"
The older Kryptonian recounts the flavor for a brief few seconds, a smile growing on his own face before he can give an answer. "It's kinda bit like Strawberry, Blueberry and Cherry all mixed together."
A knock at the door and a sweet giggle catches the boys' attention.
"It is as I have said before; No creature of any type can truly resist the taste that comes from my home world", Kory states happily while standing with her arms crossed and her back to the wall.
"Uh-huh", Jake nods happily while Chris, now truly in a craving for more of their flavor, inhales his Zorkaberry tart and quickly grabbing another from the tray, "I knew he was gonna like it, which is why I wanted to see if he tries it out, Mom."
Kory gave a lightly sly look on her son's claim, "I see, you knew of this, yes?"
Jake in turn, knowing better by that playful tone in his mother's question, couldn't hide much longer, sheepishly rubbing the back of his head. "Well, I kinda bit did but just in case he wasn't going to like it, it would've meant more for me…and Jon and Uncle Damian of course."
"-Tt- Good job saving your point, Nephew", Damian playfully scoffs while taking two tarts of the tray, passing one of them to Jon, "had you said it was completely for yourself, it's probably the closest thing to a villainous act you ever would've done."
Kory, Jon and Chris had a good chuckle at that remark while Jake's face blushes a light red in embarrassment.
"But then again, at least Chris didn't grow too big like Silkie did when Mom fend him Zorkaberries for the first time', Jake defends himself. This in turn now has Kory twiddling her thumbs in light embarrassment.
"In all fairness, had we, especially Beast Boy, known of Silkie beginning his molting beforehand, perhaps the berries will not have caused such an incident as that."
Jon perks upon noticing something he probably should have before coming in. "Hey, where's Silkie anyways? I think it's only Bitewing that's here."
"Her name's Haley", Dick's voice can be heard as he too approaches the bedroom's doorway, "and also I think Silkie's right now with Mar'i back the Tower for tonight. Right?"
Kory nods. "Yes indeed. Apparently, our daughter took Silkie along with her due to a case of 'showing him off' to her own friends."
"Now why would a mutated silkworm be something to show off to a bunch of female friends?" Damian asks with the sass he can muster while sipping his cup of hot cocoa.
Dick responds, "Well, Mar'i did say that she and Lian got tiny costumes for Silkie to try out. Maybe it's a fashion thing or something."
As his parents, his band mates and his uncle all discussed about that small bit regarding Silkie, Jake brings up his phone, taps on the WayneGram App, looks up his older sister's profile for any new photos and…lo and behold, there he was. There was Silkie, decked out in what looks like a silkworm version of a fancy tux, posted just a few minutes ago. He cups his mouth in preventing his laughter from bursting out rudely and lifts up Haley onto his lap so both she can see her little mutated friend on the photo for herself.
6:32 PM, Act Naturally, take 3
Jake and Chris: Well I bet you, I'm going to be a big star.
Maybe that break was what they needed because now, the boys find themselves working at a better clique than beforehand.
Damian's rhythmic strumming of the G chord and Jon's picking of the notes, familiar to country rock tunes Pa plays so often at the Kent Farm during the weekends so Jon knows how said notes sound and play, all work in much better tandem. Alongside them, were Chris thumping on his Bass and especially Jake's timing and pace on the hit-hats and snare.
Jake and Chris: Might win an Oscar, you can never tell.
Chris raises an eyebrow, "Wait a minute, who's Oscar?"
Damian quickly snapped back lowly, "Keep playing, we'll discussed that later"
Chris hastily nods before quickly returning to the vocals
Jake and Chris: The movie's gonna make me a big star.
"Yeah, even Damian would want your autograph", Jon lightly quips with a smirk on his face
"Oh, shut up", Bruce Wayne's birth son replies.
Jake and Chris: 'Cause I can play the part, so we-e-e-e-l-l-l.
6:50 PM, Hey Jude, take 3.
All Together: Nah, nah, Nah. Na-na-na-na-Nah. Na-na-na-na-Nah.
The strumming of Jon's guitar, Damian's fingers thundering with their presses on his electric keyboard, Chris's bass strumming trying to maintain a groove; these individual instruments are rather united in their playing and the beautiful harmonies being heard. As Jake taps away on his left cymbal and hits his snare and bass drum at the right moment, keeping up with this song's BPM of 74, he knew with this being there 3rd to last song of their set-list, it's almost over. Thank goodness, for that, given that after the songs they had played beforehand ranging wildly; a slower song seems even more calming. On the other hand, given this is the 5th 'Nah-nah-nah' they did and counting, at least there's that going for it. And now for the 6th time, though in all honesty, as one tell by the exhausted yet bright smiles on their faces, it's just that fun…
All Together: Nah, nah, Nah. Na-na-na-na-Nah. Na-na-na-na-Nah.
7:15 PM, the End, take 2.
Damian's one piano note tapping away signals it. This was it; Dick and Kory took their seats on Jake's bed alongside Haley about around their song before this. They were waiting in turn for the boys' last number for tonight.
Jon, Chris and Damian clear their throats; Jake twirls his sticks awaiting the line that cues him.
Damian: And in the end…
Jon lightly strums his guitar's strings.
Damian, Jon, and Chris: The love you take,
Jake's hands grasp the sticks tightly.
Damian, Jon and Chris: …is equal to the love…
The violins in the tape recorders background sound off.
Jake hits all three of the drums, methodically, crashing on the right cymbal, right before tapping the left.
Damian: …you make.
All strings are on the C Chord, the three guitarists' melodic harmonies climbing on all parts of the chord's notes smoothly as possible, and there's Jake keeping and maintain a pace with all of them. Then finally, they reach the last note.
In a grand finale, Jake has his two sticks taps rapidly on the cymbals as the melody and Jon's guitar strumming all fade and finally stop.
In the brief silence that follows, Dick and Kory lightly clap their hands in cheer and delight, otherwise nothing to disrupt the peaceful quiet that much.
As Damian prepares to switch the record function off, Jon asks, "how's that?"
Jake with a mischievous grin suddenly stands up from his seat and proudly yelps, "I GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS."
Chris and Jon double take alongside Damian while the latter shut off the record switch. Their take just finished, and that's how Jake ends it on? Seriously? Damian lightly yet grumpily sighs while Dick, Kory and Jon lightly chuckle from Jake's playful outburst. Chris just had a plain look of confusion and his face.
"I don't get it…"
Dick lightly lays a hand on Chris' shoulder while Damian, Jake and Jon get out of their seats to stretch. "It's something the drummer of the band you guys are playing actually once said at the end of one of their songs since the played it too many times", he explains with a small smile on his face.
Damian shrugs his shoulders while adding onto that trivia, "Approximately 18 takes for that one song by then. I guess McCartney's perfectionism about a song themed to a carnival slide truly had unintended consequences for Starkey."
Now Chris was even more confused than before.
It's a simple enough rule; if the bottle spins towards your spot, you have two options: Tell the Truth or Take a Dare. The former option involves revealing your answer to the question about yourself, no matter how embarrassing. So far, about three rounds into this game, the boys take this primary option. Among the Truths revealed per question are thus but limited to:
Jon does indeed have an allergy, that's not just the standard Kryptonite type, it's with peanuts;
Chris can eat three entire raw onions without crying once;
Damian indeed is the one who gets milk from Batcow, not Alfred; and,
Jake freely admits that out of the comic books in his collection, it's the one where it's basically a parody of the Teen Titans that he keeps preserved, never opening up it's polybag to read.
So far, no one takes the Dare options. Granted, the Dares themselves are actually harmless types that don't cause harm or any sort of truly bad stuff one can see on television…for the most part. Rather, it's by the sheer potential embarrassment that comes with said Dares that truly has the boys shy away from such. However, as the bottle stops its spinning, pointing right towards Jake, Jon draws out both the white paper card with Truth written and the red dare card. When looking at the former, Jon himself can't help but wince.
"Truth: Do you have a crush at school?" All the others wince while Dick and Kory both lightly chuckle in the kitchen. No one wanted drawn out that one card.
Jake gulps nervously; the last thing he wants everyone, especially Mom and Dad, to find out is that…well he is kind of bit crushing on this one girl in his Basketball team….Meredith…
"What's the Dare?"
Jon in response looks at the red card, "Dare: have ALL of your nails painted with Starfire's nail polish."
Now this was tricky; Jake places his chin on a hand, pondering his choices, on the one hand, if it's all of his nails, he would need someone to hold him down for half of those nails since his feet are sensitive to even the lightest of pokes and brushes on them. On the other hand though, he'd have to pinpoint the exact moment he feels…something when he first saw Meredith, her bright steel green eyes, pretty blond hair, that laugh she has….okay, that's it, Jake is risking it.
Kory cheerfully answers from the kitchen, "Yes, son?"
Taking a deep breath, Jake asks, "What colors do you have for your nail polishes?"
Five Minutes Later….
Of course, it was Coral Blue #2. Of course, Jake would pick this one shade of blue. It was not Sky Blue, not Teal Blue, not even Sapphire Blue, nope Coral Blue; of course, it was Coral Blue #2.
This is what Damian grumpily thinks to himself while Kory and he barely finish applying the nail polish on the last of Jake's fingernails, Kory doing the right hand's thumb while Damian does the left hand's pinkie. In a matter of seconds, all of Jake's fingernails now bore a blue hue that shines brightly and proudly in the living room light. Both Chris and Jon, the latter formerly giggling and chuckling with his mouth covered before managing to calm himself regarding this whole thing, can't help but admire the nicely done job their friend and the matriarch of this house did. Now though, it was onto the tricky half.
Wordlessly, Jake nods at the two before adjusting the couch pillow he had been using for sitting on the floor, now pushing it a bit further so he can instead lay on his back. With that, Damian and Kory who refill their brushes with more nail polish hold his two feet in place. Once readied, Kory starts polishing the nails on Jake's left foot whereas Damian does the right one. The young Tamaranean tries holding in all the giggles threatening to erupt out of his mouth via cupping it with his hands though that proves no easy feat. That sensitivity was just so strong; he needed something to take his mind of it somehow.
How fortunate then that Dick just happens to walk by the sight of his wife and his little brother polishing his son's nails. A grin stretches on his face as he approaches Jake and kneels down next to his head, giving his son a hair ruffle.
"I didn't think you were that much into nail polishing, Jaki," Dick remarked while happily looking at the mischievous expression on his wife's face as she began moving onto the middle toenail on Jake's foot.
"Well…" Jake barely breathes out in between his giggles while trying to hold still as possible given his nerves practically exploding, "I…g-guess maybe, it was either this or answer a Truth card that was just…e-em-embarrassing.:"
Dick raises an eyebrow while his grin morphs into a playful smirk. "Oh, really? Since when did I raise my kids in not telling the truth about everything and keeping secrets from almost anyone?"
"-Tt-," Damian can be heard scoffing with a smirk on his face while finally reaching the big toenail on Jake's right foot and beginning to apply the Coral Blue polish on it, "Grayson, ever since you were 8, you have been living an entire life of withholding secrets and covering up the Truth from your peers no matter the circumstances. Need I remind you of your quote unquote 'Secret Crush' for Koriand'r here during the earlier parts of your Titans tenure? So extreme at the time in fact, you brazenly stated of her not being your girlfriend during that one mission in space?"
Now it was Dick's turn in sporting a blushed look on his face and Kory, who finishes polishing the last of Jake's toenails, now sport a playful smirk and raised eyebrow of her own. Dick now struggles with forming up a counter argument to that as Jake starts sitting back upright, being extra careful in making sure the polish on all his nails dries properly. He had to admit, it looks actually good in spite of it. Meanwhile, Jon and Chris look through the nearby collection of nail polishes Kory brought with her for this one dare taking, silently wondering, what colors would probably look good for their nails.
Jon, Chris and Jake all take their seats on the living couch, the lights in said room dimmed so the TV screen can shine all the brighter. Now, the screen was on the menu for the movie of their choice; it's a rather silly looking one, just judging by the poster for the movie selection screen already. It takes just one look to instantly get what this film was about; old school alien UFOs, overdramatic slogans of 'DYNAMIC', 'THRILLING' "IT BOGGLES THE MIND WITH POWRHOUSE EXCITEMENT' plaster all over, what apparently are green colored mummies rising upon the center image of a typical muscle showing macho man. The very film itself actually has black and white coloring since it premiered back in 1952, aptly named 'The Great Mummies from the Eighth Planet Beyond'. Yeah, it was a good old B-movie, a perfect target for these boys to laugh and make jokes about as it goes on, the fine art of movie riffing. Chris himself back paid close attention to whenever Big Brother Conner brought over his friends Tim and Bart for B-movie riffing of their own during their days off so maybe he can try it out for the first time at this moment. Jon also had some experience riffing on these movies with special effects so bad alongside Conner as well, though any chance to try doing so without practice doesn't look like something he can skip on. For Jake, he probably never riffed on a cheesy movie entirely in his entire life; he just wants to see this weird film for himself out of pure curiosity. Either way though, starting with this one film and onto the next, there can't exist a better way to close out the boys' night than a B-movie marathon.
Damian sits by the microwave as the third bag of popcorn heats up inside of it. Already, the other two bags are all ready to serve in big plastic bowls for Jon and Chris. He's heating up the bowl meant for Jake before moving onto his own.
From behind him, Dick places a gentle hand on Damian's shoulder, getting his attention.
"You know Damian?" Damian looks up to meet Dick proudly smiling at him. "I'm actually impressed."
Damian raises an eyebrow at that statement. "Why should you be impressed exactly? All I do is simply gave each of those other kids, including your son mind you, some few remarks about their ridiculous antics or other such mischief they displayed all night. I do offer apologies for it in case you're wondering, Grayson. I just can't help it."
Dick merely chuckles at that, "Well admittedly you were pretty snarky all night but hey you're just having some fun were you not?"
Damian thought about it while Jake's popcorn finishes, allowing him to take it out of the microwave and into its own bowl. "Well, I suppose I was actually enjoying myself. Yet, I can't help but wonder why exactly."
"Maybe it's because you just need a little bit of that stuff ever now and then," Dick states while Damian puts in the last bag of popcorn into the microwave. "It's always good to try something else with your friends and your nephew beyond just training and crime fighting.
Damian huffs at that in spite of himself. "You speak as if I need to actually act like a child."
"Well, you are one, Damian", Dick happily ruffles his brother's hair who takes it in spite the temptation to swat his hand away, "really, what's wrong with that? I don't see that big of a deal in taking it easy and just having a good time with your peers. When I was slightly older than you, I learned to do so with my friends.
Damian chimes in. "If I can recall, Stone, Logan and Roth often tell of you also regularly tending more to your training and crime fighting instead of hanging out with them."
"Well, when you're a teenager without Alfred or Batman to pipe in with things they want you to do and the leader of s superhero team like them, it kinda bit doesn't leave enough room for that", Dick shrugs his shoulders and admits. "Point being though, I did eventually get out of that phase and managed to balance out my responsibilities with being close to my friends. If I can do that and as we seen with Tim as well, it doesn't hurt for you to at least try being close with your own friends. Besides, even if you're just trying Damian, you've been so far very good at it, certainly a lot better than when you first came to the Manor. You should be proud."
As the microwave lets out a DING indicating his own movie snack being ready to eat, Damian reflects on Dick's little speech. He's right, as usual. But he doesn't feel any sort of reprimand or dressing down of his usual bad habits in this case. Rather, Damian allows a small smile on his face because looking back at it, yeah; he had gotten back since first meeting his Father and Grayson not too long ago.
"I guess you have a point", Damian remarks while pouring his popcorn into his own bowl, "I can't really much deny it frankly."
Dick gave a light chuckle while carrying Jon and Jake's popcorn bowls on his hands while Damian carries the rest. "Still, I don't think I'm actually the best person saying that given what I do sometimes; So Touché, Dames."
Damian scoffs lightly while giving Chris his own bowl as the two reach the living room, "-Tt- I still actually quite surprised you know what that means, Richard."
As the two takes their seats alongside the other three, Kory enters from the hallways after finishing her shower, clad in a rather conservative purple silk nightgown with a towel wrapped around her massive red hair, and takes a spot next to Jake. The latter almost instinctively crawls on his mother's lap and places his head on her side, wrapping his arms around her. Kory in turn wraps her arms around Jake, savoring this moment between them. With that, Dick, who sits on the other side of Kory, also wraps a free arm around his wife, leaving her sandwiched between her two boys.
At least with everyone finally settled in, Jon takes the TV remote and presses play. Let the heckling and the cheesy special effects begin.
Finally finished with his shower, Damian steps out of the bathroom, now clad in simple red silk pajamas, his black hair slightly damp from the moisture and then he lets out a big yawn in spite of himself. He traverses rather drowsily to Jake's bedroom where he can see the others barely finish laying out and setting up the blankets and pillows, Kory brought out earlier on the carpeted floor.
Jon had his hair barely dried up, fitted with a white tee-shirt with the trademark 'S' shield , blue and white stripped flannel pajama pants and his glasses safely taken off and placed on Jake's nightstand. Speaking of which, Jake sat crossed legged on his own bed, petting a cuddled up Haley and also clad in his own pajamas; his in particular being a light grey cotton tee with the Nightwing symbol and black sweatpants. Finally, there was Chris, reading one of Jake's comic books, his head laid down on his own pillow and wearing a white undershirt with brown sweatpants as his own pajamas. All of the boys had one thing in common, they're all utterly exhausted after such a night and it was time to just hit the sack.
As Damian starts laying down on his own blanket and pillow on the bedroom floor, bringing out his phone and earphones to listen for soothing ambiance for the night, he takes notice of his right hand. His nails noticeably gloss with a solid black color, and it wasn't just this one hand but also the other one and as he can attest as he finally lies down and gets a good look, all ten of toenails on his bare feet. Looking to his right side, he also spots of a similar polishing of nails with both Jon and Chris, the former having them done with red and the latter with a lighter shade of blue to contrast with Jake's.
Damian yawns yet again but still asks, "And why exactly did we all get our nails polished? Wasn't this just because the Grayson Spawn couldn't let us know whether he was crushing on someone or not?"
Jake shrugs lightly while also laying down on his pillow, turning off the lamp on his nightstand and pulls his blankets up to his shoulders "Well, I guess you guys just wanted to see if how it felt like or something. I don't know."
Jon and Chris also lightly shrug as well while laying down themselves. "Plus, your Mom's very good with it so maybe it's just we wanted to see how it looked. At least, that's what I wanted to do", Chris says while stifling his own yawn, gently putting away the comic magazine he was reading, and pulls his blanket up.
Damian gave a small 'Hmmm' while also pulling up his own blanket. "That does sound fair enough."
Jon finally yawns himself and covers himself nicely. "Well, Night everyone."
"Night", everyone else replies.
About Ten Minutes Later…..
The very light snoring and otherwise quiet peace fill Dick's ears while he smiles tenderly at the sight before him. All four of the boys were sound asleep, tucked in comfortably underneath their own blankets. Jon and Damian have their cotton sheets covering them up to their elbows. Meanwhile Chris is covered up to his chin and finally Jake has his blankets draped all the all up to the crown of head, leaving only his tuff of black hair and his two bare feet poking out of them. The only light laminating the room was the soft moonlight coming in from the window.
He makes his way first to Damian who he knows is actually a bit more comfortable when covered slightly more than he was currently. So, he carefully takes the edge of Damian's blanket and drapes it up to his little brother's shoulders. Damian then in his sleep slightly tossed to his back in getting comfortable. Once he was, Dick gave a small ruffle to his hair before then standing and carefully makes his way to Jake, avoiding accidently stepping on Jon and Chris. Once he reaches his son, Dick lightly lifts the blanket off Jake's face; the younger Grayson had a big dreamy and relaxed smile on his face as he slept. He was at peace in his dreams and the sight of it warmed Dick's heart to no end. He then presses a light father kiss on his son's temple, causing the boy to giggle lightly in his sleep.
Dick then leaned closely to Jake's ear. "Night, Stardust. See you in the morning." With that, Dick lightly drapes the blanket back over Jake's face, at least in a way that he can still get some air as he slept peacefully.
With all that done, Dick carefully traverses his way towards the bedroom door. Once he reaches there, he takes one last good look at the sight before him, a gently smile gracing his face before finally and silently taking the doorknob in his hand and gently closes it.
And the best part, not one dirty dish was in there or the living room. Hooray! Less stuff for Kory and him to worry about in the morning.