Just another one-shot while I'm working on my other stories...I really don't feel like writing those chapters right now, so, yeah...
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Titans.
Crisp, cold wind blew through my steel-gray hair as I hobbled across one busy street, and then another. Winter was in the air. Not quite here yet, but close. Pulling my jacket around myself, I scurried down the sidewalk, my eyes never leaving my destination: a rundown, small, brick building with a crooked sign that read 'Roses for Sale.' I had to cross another street. Great.
"Excuse me?" asked a tiny voice somewhere by my feet. I looked down to see a little black-haired boy smiling up at me. "Do you need help, Miss?" He gestured to the street, and my face broke out in a smile.
"Yes please. Thank you so much for offering." He grinned, grabbing on to my hand. I remembered when my own little boy was this small, such bundles of innocent, chattery joy they were. He led me across at an easy pace, talking about nothing in particular.
"My mommy said I shouldn't talk to strangers, but I should help old ladies cross the street, because it's a nice thing to do," he explained. I nodded in understanding, unable to keep a small smile off my face. Little kids always made me happy. No wonder I worked at a nursery.
"It was very nice of you. I appreciate it a lot." He waved goodbye and disappeared somewhere down the way. I shook my head. So very cute, he was.
Walking into the flower shop, I spotted a very familiar old cashier. "Hi, Bethy."
Bethy gave me a tired smile. "I was waiting for you, Mar'i. I'm closing up shop soon, just remembered what day it was, though."
"Thanks." I handed her a dollar, and in return, she gave me two bloodred roses. "See you, sorry to keep you waiting. These old bones of mine can hardly move anymore."
"I hear ya," Bethy answered. "Arthritis medicine these days. Couldn't do the job better than a jar of mud." I laughed, waving goodbye. My trek was almost over. The nursing home was only a block away.
It was a quiant little building, unlike the huge skyscrapers in almost every corner of Jump City. A tiny garden was out front, with a few older ladies were hobbling around and sprinkling water. I waved to them, and they smiled back. They all knew who I was. I came here very, very often.
"Mar'i Grayson," I told the lady at the front desk. She waved me in, currently on the phone, probably a boyfriend or something. She was way to young to be working in a nursing home. Poor old people, having to deal with her. Little kids, I'm okay with. Teens are impossible.
I walked up to the familiar door, 108. Knocking three times, I heard shuffling around before it opened and someone threw their arms around me. "Mar'i! Oh, my little bumgorf, we thought you were not coming today! Your father and I have been so worried!" the woman cried, releasing me and kissing my forehead. "Come! Richard has been so excited to see you!"
"I'll always come, Mom," I said softly, giving her a smile. Whenever I was around her, I'd feel like a little girl again, but in a good way. Even now, when my parents are in a nursing home and I'm working three jobs to help pay the bills, I feel like my mother could protect me from anything, solve anything, do anything.
Formerly Kory Anders, millionaire model, my mom used to be part of a crime-fighting team a long time ago, called the Teen Titans. She was Starfire, the beautiful alien princess my dad had fallen head over heels in love with. Tamaranians don't age as humans do, so her face was still virtually wrinkle-free, her long white hair still thick and gorgeous, for an old lady, anyway.
She ushered me in, squealing about how wonderful things had been since I had last come, and offering me somethig to eat and drink. I politely declined, gently tapping her shoulder as she floated into the air. She touched down, apologizing. "I am sorry, Mar'i, I am just so very glad to see you again!"
Guilt struck me. I knew I couldn't afford to keep my parents with me, especially with my own husband dead, I'd be the only one earning. The government wouldn't give them anything, nothing at all. The nursing home was a necessity. My father's large fortune had already been passed on to my sons and daughters, since I was sure I wouldn't live too much longer anyway.
My mom hurried to the other end of the room and pushed a wheelchair over to me. "Richard, it is Mar'i! You see, she came today!"
I gulped, bending down in front of the wheelchair my dad was confined to. My dad. Robin. The Boy Wonder. Whatever title he may have had, he'd lost it a long time ago. Now over eighty, his Alzheimer's was starting to affect everyone around him, his fragile body couldn't take more of an impact than a spoon dropped on his leg. His white hair was unkempt and messy, his eyes faraway and lost. But at the word 'Mar'i,' he perked up, forcing his mouth into a smile. "Hey, dad," I greeted painfully. I took oe of the roses from my hand and placed it in his lap softly. "Happy Veteran's Day."
More than anyone I knew, my dad deserved to have this holiday dedicated to him. He risked his life everyday as a teen, and even a little as an adult, to see this city safe. He nearly lost my mom on so many occasions, deserted himself from his friends, and teamed up with his enemies to make sure not one citizen was harmed. Years of crimefighting had broken him, broken him until all that remained was this shell. But that was the life he'd chosen, though he gave it up after I was born. For that, I was grateful. I'd hate having my dad gone all the time, hurt all the time, possibly even killed. But he ran Wayne Enterprises in Jump City, a huge company founded by his adoptive father. For years, our family was perfect.
But it couldn't last forever. My mom and I figured out, eventually, that he'd patrol sometimes at night in his Nightwing costume. We didn't stop him. It was what he wanted to do. But the night he was shot, our lives changed forever.
His brain was half gone, and it was horrible to watch him deteriorate like that. But my mom and I stuck through it, helping him every step of the way. He never really got better, but he didn't get worse. I'd never seen so much emotional strength as my mom had had during those years.
Now here he was, forgotten to all but his family. It was the saddest thing, but there was nothing we could do.
My dad glanced at my mother quickly, and she nodded. "Stand up, Mar'i." I did as she ordered, frowning in confusion. Then she lifted him up under the arms so he was standing on his own two feet.
"Mom!" I gasped. "He'll fall!" She shook her head, smiling.
"Come here, my little bumgorf. I cannot hold him forever. He wishes a hug from you." My dad turned red in embarrassment, probably not how he wanted to word it. Tears blurred my vision. My dad hadn't gotten out of that wheelchair in years.
I hugged him, trying not to cry. My mom joined in, sighing contentedly. "We are all a big, happy family." Not so big, not so happy, but okay.
"I love you, mom, dad," I managed to whisper. My dad choked out something strangled, and my mom hurried to put him back in his wheelchair. Exhausted, he closed his eyes and soon fell asleep.
My mom kissed his cheek, murmuring, "I am so proud of you, my love." I could have sworn I saw him grin smugly in his sleep. My mom grabbed a blanket and threw it over him, grabbing the rose out of his lap and putting it in a vase with a dozen other withered plants. "He insists on keeping them all," she explained.
"Oh." I gave the second one to her. "For the brave, beautiful Starfire, who fought by Robin's side...and with Robin, while you were married." She laughed, taking the rose and sniffing it.
"Thank you, Mar'i. So much. I love you."
"Love you too, Mom."
"Must you leave now?"
"Yeah. I'll come back soon, though." I walked out of the door, looking back once to see my mom tucking my dad in. She waved at me, and I waved back.
I left the nursing home, back out into the crisp autumn air, my mind reeling with the miracle I'd just witnessed. Maybe my dad was getting better. Finally. When he didn't have all that much time left.
A year later, I stood at their graves, crying silently. I placed one more rose on my mom's grave, and another on my dad's. He'd died not long after my last visit, and my mother, stricken with grief and unable to handle anymore loss, followed not long after. Tamaranian emotion. The funerals had been small, since I was their only daughter, and they'd lost track of their friends after being admitted into the nursing home. It had been me, my children, and their children. No long train of mourners, no speech at city hall, nothing. Just the ten of us.
It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that no one cared and all my they had done their whole lives was care for other people. The tears came faster. I kneeled down and touched the soft dirt on my mother's grave, and then my father's. I remembered emerald eyes sparkling with joy and pride at my first dance recital. I remembered canisters of hair gel, which I had hidden one day for an April Fool's trick. My dad had gone into a frenzy with touseled, mussed up hair, waving his arms around in panic. A sob escaped my throat. I wished I could live in those memories forever.
It made me feel so insignificant, their deaths. They were such important people, but in the end, they were still alone. At least they had each other. I had no one anymore.
There was a lady on grave over, who saw me crying. "Your husband?" she asked quietly. I shook my head, pointing to another grave.
"That's my husband. These are my parents."
"I'm sorry, you must be--does that say Robin?" she asked, aghast. I nodded, smiling wryly. "And Starfire?" I nodded again. "The Teen Titans?"
"You know about them?"
"Of course. My mother used to tell stories about them all the time. Richard and Kory Grayson. Oh my...I wasn't aware they'd passed away so recently." I shrugged. "Listen, I work for the Jump City Post. Your parents deserve to have something mentioned about them, they've protected the city so much. Would you mind if...?"
"You'd do that?" I asked tearfully. She nodded.
"It would be an honor."
Jump City Radio Announcement:
It has come to our attention that, six months ago, two people who greatly affected our city have passed away. These two crimefighters protected Jump not only as teens, but as adults as well. They had dedicated their lives to us. Please, give a moment of silence to honor two of the greatest heroes in history: Robin and Starfire Grayson.
Finally, they were remembered.
I know I'm a bit early, but...just a little one shot for Veteran's Day...