Disclaimer: If I owned any of these characters, then I probably would be writing comics for them, not writing fan fictions. Doesn't that make sense?
Author's Note: Okay, so here's my really, really late Christmas Fan Fic. I want to give shout out to KelseyAlicia for encouraging me to post it. Thank you! Anyways, this takes place before the Titans were organized. It's not exactly a spiritual story, but more so the theme revolves around the idea of gift giving during the holiday season. I hope that you enjoy this. So may I present "A Child's Christmas Present"!
A Child's Christmas Present
By: Rena Redhead
The blue room was dark. Outside, the cold weather had taken its hit on their town and decided to give into the holiday season. The little room wasn't much. On one side, GI Joe action figures were scattered across the floor in random places they were left after their owner had gotten bored with them and not bothered to put them away. The orange sheets on the small twin bed had been left messy and disorderly on that side. On the other side, little music toys were stacked neatly in their places and in the toy box. The maroon sheets and comforter were still keeping their occupant warm, but not for long.
Small green eyes slowly opened. The little four-year old turned onto his back and stretched. He looked up at the calendar his mommy had given him and noticed a tree on the day that was meant to be today. He tilted his head slightly, but then looked down. He crawled across his bed to get the marker on his bedside table so he could check off the day, but the sight at the foot of his bed stopped him.
His head didn't move. Outside the window, something white was falling like rain, only it was much softer and stuck to the ground. His breath made little round circles that lasted longer than normal on the window. He looked around the neighborhood. From the trees to the rooftops to the road, everything was being invaded with these little white flakes of what? But despite this new and unknown scene, the first thought that came to the small child's mind was 'Wow, that's really pretty.'
All of a sudden, the little kid felt himself in a headlock and his older brother was giving him a nuggie, "Come on dimwit, come on, it's Christmas and we have to get Mom up!"
"Why?" He asked while rubbing his curly, blond-haired head after being released.
"Idiot, you can't open your presents until Mom and Dad are up. Honestly, do you know anything at all?" His brother asked back.
"Grant, I don't remember much of last Cawismas. I didn't know that." He replied.
Grant shook his head and rolled his eyes, "Well, Mom and Dad won't let us open them, so come on. I've already waited long enough and counted all of our presents and drunk three cups of eggnog! And by the way, it's pronounced "Chri-st-ma-s". Come on, Joey, I'm not waiting any longer for you or Mom and Dad to get up."
With that Grant ran out of the room. Joey rubbed his eyes and grabbed his marker. He checked off the Christmas box. Then he jumped out of his bed and looked under his bed. Underneath were three small boxes. Throughout December, Joey had heard a lot about this holiday. Grant had told him about the box load of presents. His mother had told him stories upon stories with the theme. Some of them had stars and others had had a magical sleigh. His father hadn't said much, but had brought home a tree one day, looking rather flustered with it, or as Grant had put it "Ready to light the tree on fire because of all the trouble it was." The tree smelled weird or rather different too, but Joey liked it. What he didn't like was how prickly it was. Decorating it was fun, though. He even got to put a big shining star on top of it and after they had hot chocolate.
But of all the things anyone had said or done, one thing Grant had said had stuck with him, "You gotta give people presents!"
"Presents; these things in colorful paper in boxes. You get them for being good and also because people love you." Then Grant brought him to the tree where some presents were, "And they got to be nice. The people you give them to have to like them."
Joey had gulped at that. He didn't know how to get presents or what a nice present was. He certainly didn't know what anyone wanted. But even though it was his first time, he managed to get together what he thought would be some nice presents for his family. Joey just hoped that they would all like them.
Addie was asleep in bed from the long night, but not for long. She grunted awake as Grant jumped on top of her. Grant started shaking her shoulders in attempts to get her up.
"Mom, Mom! Come on, get up!" Joey heard Grant beg his mother.
Joey passed through the hallway and saw the tree below. Boxes upon boxes were laid at the bottom. 'I guess Santa did come,' he thought.
"Come on, Mom!" Grant continued.
"Alright, alright, I'm coming," Addie replied to him, in a tired voice.
Grant was satisfied and got off of her. Joey came in and got up on his tiptoes to give her a kiss on the cheek. Addie smiled and ruffled his hair then kissed him back.
"It's Christmas, right?" Joey asked her.
"Yes, Joey, it's Christmas," She replied.
Addie put her legs over the side of the bed and stretched. She was wearing silk red pajamas and her curly brown hair was messy. But her smile made Joey smile. Then he looked over and saw the empty spot beside her.
"Mommy, where's Daddy?" He asked her.
Addie looked over to where her husband should have been sound asleep then back at Joey, "He promised to be here today, but not till later. So he said to go ahead and start opening presents without him."
She said it softly, with a hint of disappointment. Joey blinked, but then grabbed her hand and walked downstairs with her. At his room though, Joey stopped and then let go to get his present for Grant. When he came back, Grant and his mother were downstairs and his mother was setting up a camera. But the tree, the presents, it was... so pretty. He walked over almost hesitantly as though afraid that if he went too close he'd break how pretty it was.
"Joey, come on and open your presents," His mother said.
"Yeah, before I open them for you," Grant added.
"Grant!" His mother eyed him.
"What?" Grant looked at her, "I will."
Addie shook her head, but then the little present in Joey's hands caught her eyes.
"Joey, what have you got there?" She asked sweetly.
Joey looked at her and then at Grant. Slowly he walked over and tapped Grant on the shoulder. Grant didn't notice as he was too busy unwrapping a present. So Joey tapped him again. Grant looked up at him, annoyed.
"What do you want dimface?" He asked.
Addie was about to say something, when Joey held out the present for his brother. Grant eyed it, then took it. He shook it. It was light and shook a lot. Then he began to rip away the colorful blue and orange paper and silver ribbon. He opened the box, but his face wasn't excited, it was confused.
"What is this?" He asked Joey, holding up one of his little gifts in the box.
"They're paper planes. I went to the library and pulled out a book on how to make them. See that's a fighter jet and that one's a commercial..."
Grant cut him off, "Yeah, okay, thanks."
Joey watched as Grant went back to his other presents. Then he turned his head to his mother sadly. Did Grant not like his present? Was it not nice enough? Addie held out her arms and Joey walked up to her. Addie held her little boy in her arms tightly. She couldn't help but feel proud of him.
"That was very nice of you, Joey," she whispered.
"Thanks, Mom," he said back.
"Why don't you go and open your presents now, honey?" she asked him.
Joey nodded and went to the colorful stack of presents and started to slowly unwrap them. Joey and Grant had unwrapped all of their presents by 11:00. Joey hadn't given his mother her gift after what happened with Grant. His mother made them breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and hash browns. Joey was still on his first serving while Grant had reached his third when a question popped into his mind.
"What?" Grant asked back, with a stuffed mouth.
"Did you get anyone anything for Christmas?" Joey asked slowly.
"But you said that you have to give people presents."
"I never said that," Grant snapped.
"Yes you did. You told me so," Joey responded.
"Joey, when are you going to learn that the point of Christmas is what you ge?. Why do you think we write wish lists to Santa?"
"Joey, you don't think, do you?"
Joey looked at his brother in confusion, "But you said…"
"Just eat your pancakes, brat."
Joey's shoulders slumped down. Grant had gone right back to eating his pancakes. Joey picked at his food lazily. Is that it? Well, someone's got to get the presents for others. But was he not supposed to? Was he just supposed to receive them? Was that why Grant hadn't liked his present? Joey's thoughts stopped when he heard his mother on the phone.
"But you said that..."
"Addie, I'm sorry, I got held up."
"You said that you'd be free for Christmas."
"You know that my job is unpredictable."
"Actually, I don't. It never was unpredictable for me."
"Addie, you know that I'd be there if I could, don't you?"
Addie was silent, then answered, "We want you here."
"I want to be there. I'll be home as soon as I can get a flight."
"Just please be home. The boys want to see you."
"Tell them I miss them."
"I will," Addie said, "Be safe, hon."
"I will and please, have good Christmas. Don't hold up for me," He said.
Addie hung up the phone and went into the living room and sat down on the couch among the torn up wrapping paper. Joey looked at his mother's face. She was sad. Joey didn't mean to listen in on the conversation, but it just sort of happened. Grant was now on his fourth serving (for a little kid, he really did have an appetite), but Joey got down after not even finishing his first. Quietly, he snuck upstairs to his room. Looking under his bed, he pulled out the present for his mother.
Addie had her head in her hands and was rubbing her temples when Joey tugged on her pant leg. Addie looked down and Joey held up his gift for her. Addie smiled at her son and took the present. Joey climbed up onto the couch and watched as his mother unwrapped the box from the pink paper. Carefully she opened the top of the box and gasped at the objects in the box. From inside, she pulled out a small bracelet of red and green and two little earrings with red, white, and blue.
Turning to Joey, she asked, "Where did you...?"
"I made them. I went over to my friend Kole's house and she taught me how to make the bracelet and then she made the earings," He explained.
Addie just smiled and then hugged him tightly, "Thank you, Joey. This is a great present."
Joey smiled, as he had not expected to get such a reaction, "You're welcome, mommy."
Inside, Joey felt his little heart swell with warmth and he couldn't help but giggle at the feeling. He liked it. At that point, he decided that even if it wasn't his job to give presents, he would because he liked the feeling he got in return. His mother put on the earrings and the bracelet. She held his hand and they went to breakfast. By that time, Grant had finished and had left to go play with the toys that he had received. He smiled at some, but just kept going from present to present. He didn't touch the paper planes. Joey didn't pay much attention, though.
They watched "A Christmas Story". At the part that Ralph shot the gun he had gotten, Joey looked at his mother, horrified that Ralph had 'shot his eye out'. Grant snorted and mumbled something incoherent about 'that wouldn't happen to me'. Addie got up half way through to start making dinner. (They were skipping lunch because breakfast had been more like brunch). At about 4:30 the doorbell rang.
"Dad!" Grant yelled.
Joey immediately looked up from the toy piano he was playing with. Dad was home! Grant was always right about when Dad was home. His brother loved spending time with their Dad and looked up to him like his opinion was the only one that mattered. Grant ran to the door, but his smile dissipated when he opened the door. Dad wasn't there. It was the family friend, William Wintergreen. He held four boxes in his arms.
"Happy Christmas, Grant," he said smiling.
"It's 'Merry Christmas', not 'Happy Christmas', Will," Grant told him.
"Not in England," he replied.
By this time, Joey had gotten up from his present and ran to the doorway, "Will!"
"Hello, young Joseph," William replied as the little four year old ran to him.
Joey grabbed his leg in a cute little hug. Addie was drying her hands as she came to the door.
"Will, it's so nice that you could join us," She replied.
William smiled, "I wouldn't miss it."
"Hey, Will?" Joey asked, "What is that white stuff on the ground?"
"It's snow, my good boy. It's crystallized rain and it's very cold, which is why I was wondering if I could use my leg and come inside," He told the curious four-year old.
"Oh, yeah." Joey let go and William came in.
He handed out the presents. Grant as always, ripped it open and threw aside the toy after a second. Addie received a necklace. And Joey found an exotic instrument, a small, foreign guitar. The last present was placed to the side with the other unopened presents.
William helped prepare dinner with Addie while Joey and Grant played. Joey felt bad for not having a present for Will. He had known Will for as long as he could remember. Will had been a long time friend of his father and mother. He was even at their wedding as Dad's best man! Or at least that's what Joey had been told. Joey felt he deserved something. Then an idea hit him. Running up the steps, he went to his room and searched his shelves till he found it. It was the drawing of England with the flag in the background that he had done while at Mommy's office when the representative from England had been there. He couldn't wrap it because he didn't have anymore boxes or paper, but he ran down and found Will anyway.
"Will, this is for you," He said and held up the picture.
Will looked at it and smiled, "Why, Joseph, you're a natural artist!"
"Thanks, I thought you'd like it," Joey replied smiling.
Addie smiled as Will continued, "I do very much. Thank you."
"You're welcome," Joey replied.
Will and Addie went back to working on dinner. Joey went to the living room and played the guitar and tried to teach himself some songs.
"He looks like you," Will told her.
"He gets his hair from his father," She replied as she chopped up the carrots.
"Only the color. He has your curly hair and your eyes," Will said, "Grant's the one that takes after his father."
"I guess that's true," she commented.
Both Grant and Joey had blonde hair, but Grant's was straight like his father's. He also had his father's startling blue eyes. Joey's green eyes were from his mother.
"They'll grow to be fine young men, Addie." he added.
"Thank you," she said, "I just have to hope that they don't get themselves killed first."
With that they chuckled. By dinnertime, Joey knew how to slowly play ""We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" and "Deck the Halls". Dinner was delicious. Well, Joey thought everything his mom made was delicious except if it was green. By the time they were done, the sun had set. Will decided it was time for him to go home.
"Thank you for coming, Will," Addie told him as he got on his jacket.
"Thank you for having me," Will noticed Addie's face was straight as though she were trying hard to not look unhappy. "Addie..."
"I don't understand what could be keeping him," She said.
"Addie, his work..."
"I know his work, Will. But he promised."
Will looked at the ground then back at Addie, wishing he could say something of comfort, "He wants to be here, Addie."
Addie nodded, "Thanks for coming, Will."
"Thank you," Will said, "Happy Christmas."
Will drove away. Addie went to the living room and lit the fireplace. Grant and Joey watched their mother walk in. Grant got bored and went to his toys and began carrying them to his room where he dumped them. Addie began to pick up the paper and Joey helped. The clock hands ticked by. Soon, it was late at night and Addie told the boys it was bedtime. Tucking them in, she gave them a kiss goodnight and closed the door. Grant was out of it in two seconds.
Joey heard his brother snore and then looked under his bed. Joey pulled out the last present and opened the door so that not even a mouse would hear him. Downstairs, his mother sipped hot chocolate. When she finished, she looked around and headed for the stairs. Joey closed the door quickly so that she wouldn't notice him. She passed the door and went for her room. When Joey heard the door close, he silently tiptoed downstairs and sat on the cushy big chair that was his daddy's.
Joey just watched the flames dance in the fireplace. He didn't know how long he had watched them, but it was hypnotizing. He heard the sound of keys in the door. Joey looked up and saw it open, allowing the swirling wind to bring in flakes of snow. An outline of a man could be seen. The man walked in. Joey looked at the clock. It was 10:57. The man put his suitcase and keys to the side and closed the door. He looked around and then took off his hat, gloves, and overcoat. He walked over to the kitchen counter and shook his head. Then he saw the burning fire, but apparently not Joey. He walked over to the fire and stood by it. Joey scooted down off the chair and at this he turned his head.
"Daddy," Joey said.
"Hi, Joey," his daddy replied.
Joey looked down. His daddy could be intimidating at times. His daddy was strong and muscular and when he was serious, it always made it hard for Joey to approach him even though he knew that it shouldn't. But right now he didn't seem to be that way. Joey held out the present.
"This is for you," he said barely over a whisper.
Joey's father bent down on a knee and took the present carefully. As he unwrapped the gift, Joey saw the flames reflect off his daddy's blue eyes. His father read the tag "From: Joey, To: Daddy". After the green and red wrapping paper was gone, Joey's father took off the top of the box to reveal the gift. Joey's father looked up at him and then at the gift. Inside was a small little gold Shuriken (for decoration, not for use).
Joey's father asked the question that his mother had asked, "Joey, where did you get this?"
"I had saved up money by doing chores for Mommy for everyone's presents after Grant had said that on Christmas you give presents. I was looking for something to get everyone at the shops in the small malls that Mommy takes us to. I asked to look around and I saw it. I remembered that you like to collect Asian weaponry. I asked one of the clerks how much it was. He told me and I looked at what I had. It was barely enough and knew if I bought it, I wouldn't have enough to buy anything else for Mommy or Grant. But I thought about it and asked if I could buy it for a Christmas present. So he gave it to me and I put the box in my pocket. Mommy didn't notice and I found other ways to get things for them," Joey finished.
Joey's father just looked at him. The silence made Joey nervous. Was Daddy going to say the same thing Grant had said? He had to know. Joey broke the silence, "Do you like it?"
Joey saw something that barely ever happened. His daddy smiled., "I do, Joey, thank you. Thank you very much."
Joey smiled and found himself caught in a warm, rough hug from his daddy. His daddy may barely ever be around, but when he was, Joey liked it. It was nice. And he loved it when his daddy hugged him. It was rare that his Dad would show outward affection to anyone other than his Mom. He rested his head against his daddy's chest and closed his eyes. Soon he felt himself being lifted up. He didn't mind. His dad brought him up the stairs and into the boys' room. Then his daddy put him down in his bed. The snow was still falling lightly and the room was dark.
"Merry Christmas, Daddy," Joey said sleepily.
"Merry Christmas, Joey." His father tucked him in.
Joey smiled and closed his eyes and slowly fell asleep. Joey's dad got up and went to his room where Addie was sleeping.
Kissing her on the cheek he said, "I'm sorry, honey... I love you."
She didn't move, as she was asleep. Slade smiled, though, and looked outside where the white snow was falling, gently, serenely.
A/N: So there's my really late Christmas story. Again, sorry that it's late. I hope that you enjoyed it. Please Review! A Happy Holidays to everyone! Now I must get back to writing my Multichapter Fan Fic, "Could This Go Anywhere?". Later!