...Or not! This is just an epilogue-y, thought-of-it-at-the-last-minute kinda chapter.
Thanks to RavenSis, winkygirl12, BerryDrops, cartoonfire, Black Raven 13, Koriand'r Grayson, SuPeR HyPeR chick 101, XxNightfirexX, tennisgal456, so not telling, kjesStar, and jcyz for reviewing the last chapter! And thanks to everyone who reviewed the story!
Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans.
"Mommy!" the little black-haired girl cried. "You said he would be over today!"
Kory smiled at her. "Of course he will be, my bumgorf. He is running a little bit late, that is all. His flight was delayed by a storm."
"Who are we talking about?" her husband called from the next room. He swung his head in, grinning at his daughter's pouting form. "Oh. Come on, Mar'i, put a smile on. Uncle Galfore wouldn't keep you waiting unless he had something huge planned for you."
"You mean...another pony?" Mar'i asked hopefully. Dick blanched.
"Ah...hopefully not. One is more than enough. I guess you'll have to wait for the surprise." He held out his hand for his wife. "I need to talk to you."
"Is something wrong?" Kory asked out in the hallway.
Dick muttered incoherantly for a second. "Rachel and Gar are flying in from California today, too. Vic and Karen want to drop by, say hi to them. I guess we have a full house tonight." Kory knew there was something else bothering him.
"What is so bad about that?" She leaned into him, sighing contentedly when he wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Well...you know what happened the last time their kid was over..."
Kory laughed, kissing his cheek. Dick wrinkled his nose at her. "Oh, Dick, they are five years old! It was merely a kiss on the cheek. And it was so adorable...you need not worry about being overprotective for at least seven more years."
"That's too long for me!" he groaned.
She giggled again. "And Dylan only did that because Gar wished to anger you."
"I'm sure Gar saw that, and he will not do it again. Would you lock Mar'i in a tower to keep her away from boys her own age?"
"Okay, okay. I'm fine, completely reassured that some little kid isn't going to burst in and--I think I have paperwork to do. You're sure the lock on Mar'i's door is working?" Kory rolled her eyes and pushed him away, returning to her still sulky daughter.
"Uncle Galfore!" Mar'i squealed, running towards her great-uncle, barely noting the package in his hands before wrapping her arms around his knees.
Galfore chuckled, boosting the girl on to his shoulders. "Good evening, Mar'i. I apologize for being late, my flight was delayed. Where are your parents?" At that moment, Dick and Kory skidded into the hallway, both of them trying to smooth down their messy hair and hide embarrassed grins.
"Good evening, k'norfka. How was your trip? Would you liked something to eat? Our friends are also coming by today, from California. You remember Gar and Rachel, yes? Where is your luggage? Is it still in the car? Would you like me to help you with it?"
"Hey. Need help?"
"I am fine. Someone has come to help me already. X'hal, Mar'i, you have grown so much!"
Mar'i giggled and stretched to grasp the little box in his hand. "What is it?"
"Open it." She lifted the lid to reveal a tiny, jewel-encrusted rocking horse. Setting it on the floor, she pushed down the head and watched the horse sway in fascination. "It used to be you mother's," Galfore explained, "when she lived in Tamaran."
Dick wrapped his arm around Kory's waist protectively, as if he was afraid Galfore would try and take her away again. Kory almost remembered the horse, sitting on a nightstand in her room in the palace...
The doorbell rang. Dick walked over to open it, and was blasted back with a huge "WE'RE HOOOOOOOME!" from Gar and Vic. Rachel and Karen shook their heads at their husbands's antics, escorting three kids into the house. Mar'i immediately wriggled out of Galfore's arms to join them, but Dick held her back, giving Dylan Logan a distrusting stare. "Dick, Kory, Mr. Emperor Galfore Sir, Mar'i. How's it going?"
"Very well," Kory answered, forcefully removing Dick's hands from Mar'i's shoulders. Gar chuckled and bent down to whisper something in Dylan's ear before being smacked in the head by Rachel.
"How's your dad?" Dick asked her, silently giving his thanks.
"His doctor says he's still as crazy as ever. Of course, she put it more mildly, but he's not getting any better. I don't think he will. He was too stressed," she remarked dryly, and if he hadn't known her any better, Dick would have thought she didn't care.
"But hey, we're all here, and now it's time to celebrate!"
"Celebrate what?" Kory inquired.
"Gar, you idiot, it was supposed to be a surprise!" Karen hissed at him. "But now that the cat's out of the bag..."
Gar completely ignored her. "Your surprise birthday party! 'Cause Dick said you only wanted to be with friends and not have a big party! You're thirty now! Ten more years and you're over the hill!"
Kory paled. "Thank you for reminding me, Gar."
"If it's any consolation," Vic added, "Gar's just as old and ten times less mature."
"Come on," Dick groaned exasperatedly. "The cake's inside...leave the kids in Mar'i's room. Except for Dylan. He should be--"
"I mean...um...bring them with us. Your son is getting nowhere near my daughter."
"Sorry, Kory! I'm a dad, it's what I do!"
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR KORMOMMYYYYY...HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!" the children sang (and Gar) sang, while the rest of the adults covered their ears against the deafening out-of-tune-ness. The birthday girl however, was nothing short of pleased with the performance.
"Thank you all so much for coming!" she gushed after she finished suffocating--ah, hugging Gar. Mar'i and her friends rushed off to play in the living room, with Dick's watchful eye following Dylan. Kory turned his head away. "And thank you for arranging all of this...and for controlling yourself whenever Dylan is near. You are much better than all of the other fathers who rarely let their daughters do anything." Dick immediately felt bad, as Kory knew he would, before she giggled and kissed him. Vic whooped, snapping a picture with his camera.
"What about presents?" Gar asked.
"You have brought presents as well? You should not have!"
"Koriand'r, it is a birthday party, yes? Presents are required!" Galfore declared, pushing a bag across the dining table towards her. Kory searched inside, finding a jewlery box. Inside was a sparkling, intricate diamond necklace and a pair of diamond earrings. Kory gasped and clapped her hands together, knowing at once that this set would become her new best friend.
"That's beautiful!" Karen breathed.
"It is glorious!" Kory walked around the table and hugged Galfore, thanking him endlessly.
"Our turn!" Gar exclaimed. Kory giggled and took his and Rachel's present, a diamond Gucci bracelet that coincidentially (or maybe not...) matched her new set almost exactly.
"How wonderful!" Kory squealed, trying it on. She made to embrace Gar again, but he politely declined after the throttling he'd received earlier. Rachel didn't say no, but didn't really seem very enthusiastic about it either.
"Come on, Sarah, why don't you give Kory her gift?" Karen crooned to her four-year-old. The tiny girl shyly handed Kory a bag and received a kiss on the forehead from the beautiful lady.
Inside was a small, cone-shaped contraption, sleek and silver, with only two buttons on it. "I made it myself," Vic said proudly. "It's an automatic private booth, in case you and Dick decide to--"
"He's joking," Karen cut in. "Why don't you press the button and see for yourself? But you might want to clear the table first." Kory did as she was told, catching Dick's bright red face for a moment and laughing to herself.
There was a soft whirring noise as the bottom of the device opened up and out shot four steel arms, each covered in feather-duster-like material. They watched in amazement as a liquid (Windex, possibly?) squirted from the bottom onto the table. The arms jolted to life, spinning at lightning fast speed and propelling the little cone all around the table, cleaning the whole thing.
"That's really neat," Dick commented, catching the robot and pressing the second, 'stop' button. The arms disappeared back inside.
"Yep. And all you gotta do is fill it up from the top and replace the battery once in a while, but otherwise it just cleans. It's a prototype, I'm still working on how to get it to play music too. You know, everything needs to be an mp3 nowadays."
"It is amazing. Thank you so much, Vic, Karen, and of course Sarah and Alexa."
"Cake!" Mar'i called impatiently.
"Very well, my bumgorf. Cake will be served immediately. Look, it is chocolate, our favorite!"
Mar'i bounded onto the table and swiped her finger through the cake, licking off the frosting. "Mmmm!"
Soon, all four kids were crowded around it on the table, and not even their parents could get them off. They gave up, eventually, waiting for the kids to get sick of it and go somewhere else.
"That was...eventful," Dick mumbled, leaning against the window in his bedroom after everyone else was asleep somewhere else in the huge mansion. Crickets chirped outside, and a warm breeze fluttered through the open window, making him drowsy, though it was only ten o'clock. Kory agreed quietly, massaging his shoulders and resting her head on his back.
"I believe that everyone found Gar covered in chocolate rather amusing, however. His son follows Vic's example very well."
Dick chuckled. "Maybe, if he does it well enough, I won't break a single bone in his body if he comes anywhere near Mar'i."
His wife sighed. "How wonderful. You are softening."
"Heh. A little bit."
She rolled her eyes at him when he turned to face her. "I give up."
"Good." He pressed his lips to hers, drawing back after a few seconds. "Happy birthday, Kory."
I didn't really like the ending of the chapter, but I apologize if it isn't quite as upbeat and happy as it should be.