I don't own. SURPRISE!
Robins R Us
Wiping yucky July sweat off my forehead with a glove, I came in through the "vigilantes only" entrance on the roof and went down stairs to the fridge. I was, of course, breaking the number one and two rules of the house in doing so--one, you always check in with mom when you come and go, two you don't go down stairs in you costume. As I scuffed along the white carpet in the hall, I remembered the third rule--no shoes on dad's new carpet.
I was counting down all the days until the couldn't tell me what to do any more because I'd be grown up. Nine more years, four more months, six more days. When I grew up and had a place of my own, it was gonna have black carpets. It'd be so cool. Then I wouldn't have any dumb dad carpet rules.
It was ok for Jimmy to spill juice all over it, or to puke all over it or some other little kid thing, but you could see dad's forehead actually pulse when he caught you walking on the carpet with dirty shoes. Well, I was kinda clean, I'd spent the whole night in the air. Grandpa was a poop. He wouldn't let me do anything fun right now. I got to smash some guys, but mostly I was just supposed to watch.
There was meatloaf in the fridge. I was happy about that. Grandpa'd called me out before dinner, and I'd missed mine. I ripped off a hunk, squirted ketchup on it, then carried it into the living room, munching away.
Timmy was in his resident spot on the couch. Sometimes I wondered if he even moved to go to the bathroom. He was stretched out long ways, his head on the arm rest, and he was asleep. "Wake up!" I whispered. "Cartoon Planet is on!" I jumped over the couch and landed on his stomach. I'd been told you could kill folks doing that, so I stopped myself from squishing him too badly, by catching myself with my foot before my butt came down on him.
"Oof. I was sleeping."
I wiped a greasy gloved hand on my shirt. "It's time to play now."
He sat up a little. "You played all night. Now it's time to sleep."
"Naw. No playing." Working with grandpa wasn't play. Not at all. "So now I gotta play. And I need ta see some cartoons." I ripped off the mask and stuffed it into my belt.
"I was sleeping."
"Well, now you're not. Now you're gonna play."
"I'll tell your mom you're down here in your uniform."
"You are the biggest, meanest poop in the entire world."
His arm went around me. "I know. And I'm going to tell her you're eating in the living room too. Without a plate. Double offence."
I shrugged. "Go ahead." I knew he wouldn't, because it would require raising his voice, and Tim didn't even do that any more. He was what dad called `seriously burnt'. I knew if I bugged him enough, I could get him to do stuff, just cause he couldn't stand to get into an argument with anyone right now. I felt bad for that... but Timmy had to do stuff. If he was going to sit on the couch and sleep all the time, he had to at least hold me and watch cartoons. It was the rule I just made up.
"So. What'd Grim and Grumpy have you doing tonight?"
I smiled. This was the part I liked, when I got to tell him what I did. "First thing I did was all the training stuff. That was ok."
"Who didja work with?"
"Batgirl. Pow, Zap, Zowee. That's pretty cool. Cause Batman's been a grump all week."
"Grumpier than usual?"
"Totally grumpy. Big fight with Black Canary."
He reached for the remote and turned the TV on. It was already on the cartoon station. "Ohhhboy."
"I like it better when they're not fighting."
"Well, I can't imagine anyone LIKING when they fight. Unless you're a masochist."
"I know what masochist means. BC called him a masochist, and I asked Alfred and he told me. Grampa is TOTALLY a masochist."
"Geeze. Alfred has to watch who he's telling WHAT."
"Naw. She calls him that all the time."
"So. Did you go out with Batgirl?"
"I asked to. Just like you said. You wanna know what he said? He said Batgirl doesn't DO side-kicks! I'm not a side-kick!" I folded my arms over my chest and pouted.
"Just keep bugging him. He'll relent."
I nodded. I wanted to see how Batgirl did stuff. I'd been doing this stuff for six months, and Batman was the only one I got to see. And dad, sometimes. But I never got to really go out with him. Maybe I shouldn't bug grampa though. I mean... he knew what was best, right? I did want to know how Batgirl did out there... but well, maybe he had a reason for me not knowing. Maybe I should stop bugging him about it now.
"Watch any good cartoons?" I asked. I always tried to ask about his day, but we sort of didn't have a bunch of stuff to talk about.
"No. Your dad came home and turned on the news. I put the cartoon channel back on right before I went to sleep."
"He home yet?" I liked seeing dad. Sometimes he was gone so much. He still put me on his lap and bounced me up and down, even though I was probably too big. Being Robin-age was too big for that, right? Anyways, I liked it.
"Dunno." I hopped off of him. "Don't you dare go wake him up if he is."
"You woke me up to watch cartoons, you get back here and watch cartoons, you little twerp." He grabbed my cape and dragged me into his lap.
I giggled. "I gotta change. Mom'll yell, and then I'll have to blame it on you..."
He started tickling my arms. "Right. Like she'll believe you."
"Sometimes she believes me."
"Yeah, when you blame stuff on Jimmy."
I grinned. "Sometimes it works!"
He began shaking me and squeezing my belly. "What other bad stuff did you do tonight? You gonna tell Timmy?"
I tried to get away, but he had me good. I'd have to ask grampa how to get out of Tim's hold of death.
"We flew a lot. And I bounced a baddie. Wam. Landed right on his shoulders, and smack, he was kissing pavement."
"Ouch. Remind me to behave myself."
I grabbed his nose and tugged on it. "Can't get into trouble if ya don't get off the couch."
"Don't you start bugging me too."
"Hey, I'm not complaining! I got this job cause you're all couch-potato." I knew that wasn't really why. Timmy was `seriously burnt' and couldn't do it any more. He really couldn't do much of anything any more.
"You were waiting to move in on my territory, weren't you?"
I nodded quickly. "I kept hoping you'd kick the bucket, but this is ok too."
"No you didn't."
"Ok, no I didn't. But geeze. You were like the world's oldest Robin."
"HEY!" He tossed me on the couch and bounced me up and down.
I laughed loudly. "You're an old and fat Robin!" Actually, he really wasn't. He was kinda scrawny like me. We might be scrawny Robins, but we could beat the crap outta someone.
"And you're short and skinny and I could probably eat you for breakfast."
"You can't even reach the light switch for the cave!"
"It isn't my fault he put it so high up. Didn't he ever think he was gonna have short side-kicks--I mean partners?"
"See, you're a side-kick."
"I'm not a side-kick," I said, hurt.
"Ok, you're not a side-kick."
"You're an annoyance."
I jumped on top of him. "I'm not annoying!" I said as I bounced up and down. "I'm not annoying!"
Dad appeared in the door way, in his bed-time clothes. "Mara, quit jumping on Tim! You're going to break the sofa!" Hi dad, love you too.
Ok, so I broke a lot of furniture. I didn't like the coffee table anyways. It was pointy. I jumped off of Tim and landed on the floor.
"And get up stairs and change, before your mother has both of our heads." I started for the steps. "And take your boots off!"
"They aint dirty!"
"They're shoes, and they're on my carpet."
I ripped them off without unzipping them. "Happy now?"
"I'll be happier when you're out of that costume."
I stuck my tongue out. "Yap, yap yap yap. No one lets me alone." Before he could do anything, I took a leap from the floor, pushed off on the new coffee table and jumped into his arms. "Good catch." Not that I gave him much choice.
"One of these times, I'm going to step aside and let you hit the floor."
"Nuh uh." Dad was too good for that. He wouldn't do that. "Batman'd beat yer butt."
He put me back down on the ground. "Ri-ight. You just keep thinking that, kiddo. He'll probably thank me." Dad smacked my behind. "Now get up there and change."
I ran up the steps.
Unfortunately, mom was at the top. "What did I say about little Robin's running around? And you didn't tell me when you came in."
"Aww, you knew I was there."
Man, she sounded like my Bat. I sighed. "I'm changing, I'm changing."
"How'd you get home?"
"Bruce didn't let you take the train alone, did he?"
"Maybe he did, and maybe he didn't," I answered.
"I'll kill him, and your wings'll be clipped until you're thirty-five."
I rolled my eyes, unclipping the cape. It was so dang napped heavy. "You KNOW he followed me home. I can't even blow my nose without him knowing. You think he's gonna let me take the train home alone?"
"He could have stopped in and said hello," she said as she followed me to the room where we kept uniforms and stuff.
"Ri-ight." Face it, grampa wasn't into all that social stuff.
"Well, he should stop in." She watched all critical and stuff while I hung my stuff up. It was better to throw it on the floor, and I wanted to. I was tired. But she and Alfred were the "hang it up right now" people, and you had to do what they said, otherwise no suit.
"Hey!" Jimmy said as he came into the `war room' as dad called it. He was rubbing his eyes. "Why're you dressed like Robin?"
He was such a twip. "Cause I AM Robin."
"Tim's Robin. You're dumb."
Four year olds were stupid and awful. "You're dumb."
Mom waved her hands at both of us. "Guys! Guys!"
"Tell Jimmy I'm Robin."
Jimmy crawled up into mom's lap. That wasn't fair at all. He was being dumb, then mom'd hold him, even though he's acting dumb. She should quit holding him, then he'd stop being a little baby.
"Jimmy, your sister is Robin," mom informed him. Then she kissed his forehead.
I took off the rest of my clothes. That just left me with my shorts and my t-shirt. I thought for a minute how fun it'd be if I could take one of my lines and tie Jimmy up and hang him from the ceiling. That'd be so much fun. Too bad mom'd smack me if I did. She could make yer butt sore. Thinking about how I didn't want to get spanked was usually enough to keep me from doing all kinds of bad things. And oh all the bad things I thought of.
I put my Superman night shirt on right over my shorts. I'd change all proper before I went to bed. But now was play time. "I'm gonna watch cartoons with Tim," I told mom.
"Take your brother with you."
I stomped my foot.
"I'm still working here, kiddo. I just came to check on you. Now, if you want Aunt Dinah home in time for the Thanksgiving pageant, you're going to let me get her home safe and sound."
I sighed dramatically and took my brother's hand. "I'm only doing this for Aunt Dinah."
"As long as you have your priorities straight."
I dragged him behind me down the steps. "You're such a twip," I told him. Other people in capes and tights didn't have to take their little brothers everywhere. Didn't matter what I wanted to do. Play outside? Mara, take your brother with you. Read in the basement? Mara, take your brother with you. Bla bla bla.
"We're watching what I want to watch," I told him. Dumb brother.
Mom was cool as Oracle. She was my mom and I was proud of her. All the people in capes came to her when they needed stuff. Sometimes, I thought she acted like their mom too. She always made sure they had what they needed. And sometimes she was all bossy and mom-like with them. She'd always say "are you sure you have everything" and "are you sure you don't need anything else..." and sometimes she'd come up with stuff they didn't even know they needed. She was just smart like that.
"Hey Jimbo! Thought we put you to bed!" Tim held out his arms and Jimmy jumped into them.
I sat on the arm of the couch. "Jimmy's stupid."
"Mara's noisy! And she finks she's Robin."
I made a face.
Tim grabbed Jimmy's belly. "Aww, come on, buddy. We talked about this, right? How Mara's Robin now."
I stuck my tongue out. See, Timmy knew who was Robin now.
A voice rang out from the kitchen. "Mara, get off the couch like that! Before you break it!" Dad wasn't even in the room. Geeze, man! I slid off and onto the sofa.
When Tim was making Jimmy giggle, I grabbed the remote. "I hate this one. Find better channel."
"HEY! Nothing WRONG with that cartoon!"
"Uncle Roy watches it."
"He calls me BUBBLES!"
"That's not yer name? I thought you were Bubbles Ann Grayson."
I punched him in the arm. "I'm NOT BUBBLES!"
Tim laughed. "Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles..." he was chanting it now.
I threw a few more punches, but they were for nothing. He'd grabbed my head and held me back, so I was swinging at air.
"Tim," dad called from the kitchen. Suddenly it went dark in there, cause he'd closed the fridge door. "Quit tormenting my kid."
He came to the doorway of the living room with a plate in his hands.
"Yeah, make him let me go!"
Dad frowned at both of us.
"You gimme some of that?" Jimmy asked, looking at dad's plate.
"You HAD dinner," dad told him. Then he looked back at us. "First of all, Mara... I'd tell you to drop and then flip over his head... if we weren't in the living room, and if you weren't already the single cause of us replacing half the living room furniture in the last two years. And second of all, Tim, if you're ok enough to get my kids all riled up, you're ok enough to go out and look for a job."
"Aww, man..." Tim moaned.
"Daddy, feed Jimmy again!" Jimmy jumped up and down. What a twip.
I shook my behind and stuck my tongue out. "Whiney Tim!"
"Will you people keep it down!" mom called down the steps. "SOME of us are still on duty!"
It got real quiet real quick.
I plopped down on the floor where I was, and that got me outta Tim's grasp. The TV played on with that stupid cartoon, Jimmy tugged on dad's shorts even after he sat down in his chair on the other side of the room, and Tim found a more comfy spot on the couch.
"So." I said quietly. "Wanna see my front teeth wiggle?"
Pillows came crashing down on top of me.