Disclaimer: Don't I wish? Don't I wish that I could control things like if I owned Teen Titans or not? Yes, I do wish that because I don't own them!
Author's Note: Well, I'm sitting here in bed, sick, tired, and feeling weak. Great. Oh well, that means that you guys get a another story. I've almost finished with "Could This Go Anywhere?" so that means that you guys get this little One-Shot of mine. Just to get this straight, this happens before the Titans, like most of my One-Shots about Jericho. I hope you enjoy it!
Note: You'll notice that Joey's voice is always in italics. That's because he's not actually saying the words -- he's signing them out.
This story is Dedicated to alibi2014, just 'cause you're cool like that! ;-D
It's Only A Day
Have you ever looked out of a window just watching for something to happen? Like the sun to set, or school to end, or even just to watch people walk up and down the street? Well, that's what Adeline Kane watched her son do from 7:49 in the morning to 9:00 AM. He was handsome boy, 10 years old, curly blond hair and startling green eyes. He was wearing a white turtle-neck and blue jeans. He sat on the window pane and just watched and even when she offered him breakfast, he shook his head 'no'.
Today worried her. She knew why he was sitting there. She knew that he wasn't too excited about today. To some extent, Adeline beat herself up for this. If only she hadn't been such a fool and thought that she could end up killing her husband, or rather ex-husband. That was the only reason why the judge had said that Joey would see his father twice a year. It was the only reason. And she knew it.
But Joey was calm. At least, that's how he presented himself. He didn't seem excited, nor scared, just anxious. He didn't really want to see his Dad. Not today, not really any day. He knew that it made his mother beat herself up anytime he saw him. He knew that it would be awkward between them. He knew that his Dad would make this special trip so that the court wouldn't get suspicious of what he actually does. And he also knew that it was because of his Dad's job that he couldn't talk anymore... or sing... or ever tell his loved ones 'I love you' with his own words again.
Soon, his mother came over and knelt down next to him, "Joey, I'm sorry honey. I know you're anxious, but it's only a day, less than a day. Twelve hours. And while your father might not be your... first pick of people you want to be around, I know that... he still cares about you."
Joey didn't do anything for a minute, so his mother continued, "You can call me if there's any trouble. You'll be home again at nine. Just don't worry about it, okay?"
Joey again did nothing, but as his mother began to turn away, he grabbed her hand and signed out what he wanted to say, "Why not Grant?"
Adeline sighed, "Your father's already spent time with Grant and Grant's also in military school, you know that."
"I know," Joey signed, "But Dad always seemed more..."
Just then a sleek limo drove up to their house. Adeline straightened up and brushed back her hair, her face now hard as though not to betray something. Walking into the hallway, Adeline opened the door. Joey got off the window sill and walked over to the hallway, not willing to be seen from the front doorway yet.
"Hello, Adeline," he said.
"Hello, Slade," she answered.
"Is he ready to go?" Slade asked her.
"I think so," Adeline told him, "Joey!"
No running away now. Joey walked into the hallway, head bent low and neck out of sight. He didn't even look at his father. Adeline handed her son her phone.
"Just call me, sweetie," she said and gave him a hug.
Slade looked away for a moment and then cleared his throat, "Hey, Joseph, why don't you get in the car while your mother and I talk?"
Joey nodded, still not looking at his Dad. He walked up to the limo where his father's friend, Wintergreen, was waiting to open the door for him. Turning back he saw the back of his dad's head and his mother talking in the doorway. Even though he didn't know what they were saying, he didn't really want to know. They were probably arguing anyway.
"Adeline, you act like I'm about to put him out in open fire," Slade accused.
"You might as well be," Adeline responded.
"I'll make sure we stay out in public," Slade answered, "None of my enemies would attack us in public, especially if they knew what I'd do to them if they did."
"The problem is that you have enemies, Slade," Adeline told him.
"My work's complications are sometimes things I can't control," he replied.
"Why did you have to go into your line of "work" in the first place?" Adeline asked, knowing that she had gotten the upper hand.
"What I prefer to do is my business, Addie," he answered.
"Don't call me that," Adeline responded.
"Don't call you what?"
Slade closed his jaw tightly and waited for her to finish, "Don't just keep him safe though, Slade. Make sure that..."
"Make sure what?"
"That he knows that you still care about him."
Slade turned to the side and nodded, "We'll be back at nine."
With that he left the doorway and walked over to the limo. Joey had gotten in and was seated at the far end of the limo. He had his eyes on his hands, which he fiddled with nervously. As soon as Slade closed the door, the limo drove off. There was silence for a minute or two. Joey couldn't exactly make a noise anyway and Slade was not too good with this sort of thing. With Grant, it was always so much easier, they'd go to a historical site, a sports event, or even a shooting range. They'd plan in advance for weeks if Grant was able to reach him.
Joey was different.
Slade knew that he was always nervous about being around him. Add that to the fact that Joey was more into the arts than weaponry and military related things, and it was always hard to determine what to do during their total of twelve hours. So it was probably best to decide that now rather than ride around for three hours not talking at all.
"So, what do you want to do Joseph?" Slade asked the ten-year old.
"Doesn't matter," Joey responded.
A little taken back, Slade tried again, "Of course it does, we can do whatever you want... literally."
Joey still twiddled his thumbs as though thinking over what to say, "How about breakfast?"
"Breakfast," Slade repeated, "Alright, what do you want for breakfast?"
"Doesn't matter," Joey barely dared to look up at his Dad as he signed that out.
"Alright," Slade sighed. He didn't like public places, but he had promised Adeline anyway.
They arrived at a small restaurant and had quickly gotten out. Wintergreen remained in the car while the two went inside. As soon as they went inside, several eyes glanced their way. Most were cast at Joseph's father, but some were on him because he was quiet. They sat down and ordered. Or rather, Joey ordered. Slade couldn't stand their food, even though he didn't mention that to Joseph.
It was a quiet breakfast, which soon led to them leaving in a hurry.
Again there was silence in the car. Wintergreen silently thought that it was because they had nothing that they really wanted to talk about. Actually, that was the case. Joseph knew that his dad wouldn't be interested in the latest song that he had mastered on the guitar and Slade knew that his son wouldn't want to talk about the latest actions of Deathstroke The Terminator.
"How's school been going lately?"
Joey shrugged, "It's okay."
"Are you doing anything after school?"
"You graduate from elementary school this year, don't you?"
"Are you thinking about going to school with Grant?"
Joseph's eyes narrowed and he turned away, "No."
Brilliant. Bring up Grant and the kid won't want to talk at all. Slade knew that he should have steered clear of Grant. It was just so much easier to have a conversation about Grant than about Joseph. Again, a pang of guilt. It should be easy to have a conversation about both of his sons, not just one of them.
"Are you thinking of going to an arts school?" he asked.
"No, just public," Joseph lied.
Slade nodded, "You know, I'm sure your mother would be fine with paying for something like that."
"I don't want to go," Joey lied again.
"Alright," Slade said, backing off.
It made Joseph angry, to think that he and his brother got special treatment. He knew that they did. Grant had been told that he could have attended any military school that he had wanted to go to. His mother actually was signing him up for an arts school, but he wasn't about to tell his dad that. He knew that Dad was into sports and practical pursuits of job careers instead of the arts.
"Do you want to... go to a game or something?" Slade finally said breaking the silence and just proving Joey's thought process true.
Joey looked up and then back at the floor, "Okay."
'At least it will give us something to focus on other then the leather in this limo,' he thought.
But Wintergreen cut in, "Sir, I hate to inform you of this, but you do need to pick up something before you go off."
Slade eyed Will for a moment before moving to the front of the limo and whispering, "What?"
"You have some... amo that you need to pick up, sir," William repeated.
"Did you plan this for today?" He asked.
"No, you did," Wintergreen answered, "You told me that you could do it in a week and so that's what I told them."
Slade practically growled, "Let's make it quick then. I promised, Addie, er, Adeline."
Wintergreen headed quickly for the rendezvous. Joey started to notice the dirty streets as they got closer and he eyed his father.
"It's just a quick stop, Joseph," Slade said, "I promise."
As he said so the car stopped and Slade got out. He went around the corner and came back with a box that he threw in the trunk. But even in the short amount of time that it was, Joey knew his father had just picked up something that was dangerous and they were not in a safe place at all. Wintergreen started the car as Slade got in and they drove off.
"What was that?" Joey asked.
"Nothing, just something I had forgotten about and had to pick up today. I'm sorry," Slade answered.
Joseph's green eyes narrowed, but he turned away and said nothing. Wintergreen routed for the nearest stadium and they got there within minutes. It was an all-American baseball game. Go figure. The stadium was jam-packed and the smell of hot dogs, cotton candy, and caramel popcorn pervaded the area. Joey could also smell hints of alcohol and beer from the bars inside and couldn't help frown and cover his nose at the smell.
One of the nice things happened to be that there was no one throwing rude remarks at them. Joey could tell it was because of his father. From his days in the army, his Dad had always had a strong and intimidating appearance. He still had all of the muscles that he had toned while serving Uncle Sam and the missing eye was always something that made people uncomfortable while around him.
They sat down on a set of bleachers. It was a hot and muggy day from where they were sitting and it didn't seem like it was going to get any better. What was worse was that it looked like it might rain. They arrived at the top of the 4th. So it would give them some time. As the time passed, Slade gave Joseph money to go get any food if he wanted to. Joey would possibly return with a soda or maybe a hot dog, but nothing much.
He was beginning to hate being here. It was so American, so like a soldier to go to America's favorite past-time. And while he loved his country and while he had nothing against baseball, he sure had a thing against hypocrites.
"You know, I remember taking Grant to a game like this. He was playing baseball in his gym class and he got interested in it. What have you been playing in gym class?" Slade asked out of the blue.
"What do you care?" Joseph asked suddenly.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Slade looked at the kid, shocked at the sudden outburst.
"Exactly what I signed," Joey answered, putting emphasis on 'signed'.
"Joseph, I was only asking in relation to what we're doing," Slade stated calmly.
"Yeah, and the only reason you're doing this is because of the Judge's orders! You took me down a dirty, run-down, dangerous street because of your job! And you're only here because you don't know what to do with me! You'd rather spend the day with Grant! I just happen to have your blood in my veins and that's just an unfortunate mishap for you, isn't it?" With that, Joey got up and ran down the steps.
But the kid was already down the steps and running out into the stadium. Slade quickly jumped down the staircase, taking the steps five at a time. When he got to the bottom, Joseph was already outside of the stadium. His brow furrowed at what had just happened. What had he done wrong now? Thunder boomed. It started to rain out on the baseball field and in the parking lot below.
Joseph ran down the stairs and through the hallways. He hated this. He hated being here. He hated being around someone who didn't care. He reached an elevator and hit 'down'. As he took out the cell phone his mother gave him, someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around expecting to see his dad, but instead, saw an older kid, about his brother's age. And he had friends.
"Hey kid," the boy said, "What are you doing all alone here?"
Joey backed away and turned his head away, hopping that the elevator would get here soon.
"That's a nice phone that you got there... Hey, how much cash do ya got on ya? We're a little short and need some for a hot dog," the boy told him.
It was the mark of a thief. Joey felt his throat constrict. He had trouble breathing.
"Were you going to call mommy, kid?"
Joey shut his eyes tightly, but the next sound he heard was enough to make him open them again.
"Are you bothering my son?"
The boys turned around and found themselves face to face with a tall man who half-scared them to death. Slade found it almost funny. Almost.
"Uh, no sir," the boy said nervously.
Slade nodded like a gentleman, but then gave the boys a quick surprise. In an instant he had kicked the boys' feet out from underneath them. "That's what I thought."
Joey looked down at the boys on the ground. It took him less then a second to run the opposite way, but Slade caught up with him in five seconds flat and grabbed hold of his son's arm. He held onto Joey, who squirmed around at his father's grasp.
"Let go. Let go. Let go," he signed, his figures moving rapidly over and over again.
"Joseph, what are you doing?" Slade asked him.
"You don't care! You don't care!" Joey started to sob.
"What do you mean that I don't care? I just got you out of a pretty nasty situation."
"Because Mom would have killed you!"
"Do you really think it's just because of your mother that I did that?"
"Grant! It's always Grant!"
"No it's not!"
"Yes it is! Grant's in the military academy, Grant's doing sports, and Joseph's doing...arts," Joey signed.
Slade stopped and let go as Joey finished, "You don't care. You never have."
"What makes you think that I never have?" Slade asked.
"What about this, huh?" Joey brought down the turtle neck and revealed the long mark across his throat.
Slade stopped, and lowered his head. He still hated to see that mark on Joey's young neck. He always hated the fact that because of his job, and Joseph was too young for that to happen. No, anyone would be too young for that to happen. But it happened to his son because of him. Joey had lost his childhood very early on.
"Joseph, I never meant for that to happen to you."
"But it did."
"And you think I haven't suffered either?" Slade asked back.
Joseph looked up at his Dad and looked at the black eye patch. He moved his hand up and touched the outline of the black patch. Slade closed his other eye and let the small hand move over the only thing that prevented people to see the empty socket.
Joey swallowed and replied, "You choose to be a Deathstroke, Dad."
"I'm not trying to turn this on myself, Joseph. I know that I've made things hard on you," Slade answered.
"I'm sorry that I'm not Grant," Joey signed out suddenly, "But I can't be him."
"Joey, I don't expect you to be your brother."
"It seems like it," Joey told him.
"I'm proud of what you do," his father replied, "And everyday I try to make sure that all of you are safe. That's why I don't see you that much. To keep your mother, Grant, and you safe."
Joey looked down, a tear slowly rolling down his face, as his father finished, "I failed to do that once. And I'm sorry."
Joey looked up into his Dad's blue eye, "You're sorry?"
"I am. I can't return your voice, Joey. And I'm not asking you to forgive me of that. All I can do is keep you as far away from all of this as possible," Slade answered, "Like I promised your mother."
Joey sighed. Slade had no idea if Joey had forgiven him for the rotten day until he felt small arms wrap their way around his neck. Joey let go in about an instant.
"It's okay. I get it," Joseph answered.
"Do you want to go home now?"
Joey nodded. When Wintergreen saw them coming to the car in the pouring rain when it was barely the bottom of the 8th, he raised an eyebrow, but opened the car door anyway. It took them a good forty minutes to get home, but by then it was already around seven anyway. When they got there, Adeline was just finishing up her dinner and was surprised to see them home so early. She opened the door and let Joseph silently walk in. Slade only turned away, not offering an answer for the early return.
"I'll see you in six months," he muttered.
Adeline nodded and looked over at Joey who had gone back to the window sill that he had been on this morning. Joey watched as his father got into the car and the limo drove away. It had been a nicer day than the last time. He had a feeling that he would always be distant with his father. Deathstroke was a danger and they both realized that. He always would be. Being distant was perhaps... safer.
As the limo rounded the corner, Joey caught himself thinking, 'I guess he does care... in his own way...'
Adeline stood in the doorway. She had no idea what had happened, but somehow, it didn't worry her. Joey was home, safe and sound, and he seemed to be calm and at ease. It was odd, but she accepted it. Closing the door, she went to do the dishes as Joey watched the limo drive away and disappear into the rain.
A/N: A little random, but I hope you liked it. In any case, I guess this came to mind because I kept thinking about how Joey might have felt even more distant with his father since Grant was more like Slade. I don't know, the story was just a short thing that popped into my mind and kept me busy for an hour or two. Please review! Thanks for reading! Later!