Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans, DC Comics, or Warner Brothers.
Heroes Day is an event in the Teen Titans comic book where annually the members of the Teen Titans, Titans, and various other heroes gather at the Hall of Heroes on the Ground Floor of Titans Tower. The last one I remember seeing was right before the Blackest Night event. Given that it's the Teen Titans comic, the hall is crowded with statues, and also, sometimes, the heroes return (like Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, who has been dead a bunch of times.) Written in the Cartoon universe with some comic lore. Takes place pre-DCnU reboot, which took place on 8/31/11.
Warning: see genre
As with everyday these past months, as with other points of my life, I miss Richard. It is often my first thought upon awakening. As I arrived at the previous evening at my once and forever home, Titans Tower, being in the presence of the other three of the original five, Richard would be missed not matter what the circumstance would have been.
Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy – or rather Vic, Rachel and Gar (Gar jokes that 'We are finally on a first named basis', whatever is meant by that) – spent a few awkward minutes, twenty-two to be precise, doing the catching up, until I did the retiring to get what I hoped would be the pleasant slorvaks.
Surprisingly they were.
"Ah, to sleep perchance to dream, ah there's the rub."
My memory always turns to moments like this. Poor Robin, I mean Richard. He did the ruing of the day, he would say, that we decided to doing the reading of Hamlet together. I offered that if I could kiss Shakespeare then I would understand. He laughed and then explained that Shakespeare had lived and died years and years before and not only was Hamlet written to be performed as a play (why does that matter?) but that the English language was so different back in Shakespeare's day.
English was confusing enough already... but that line, that one line, lead to a discussion of not dreams but what happens after death, because that was what the line meant I was told in 'the context'. We talked for hours about X'hal, the Heaven and the Hell, or if there was nothing at all awaiting us. Nothing after death? That is something assuredly untrue. Hmm, I wonder what Richard would say about that now. I guess that discussion will have to wait for the time being.
So here I am, on yet another Hero's Day. My thoughts must go onto paper; there is no one at the moment that truly does the getting of me, and I have been on Earth long enough to know that I do not want to talk to someone that would not care and risk the rejection. Earthlings can be so... detached, dispassionate; it would deplete my joy and energy to share with the wrong person. Not something I care to, nor really should risk at the moment.
I am Tamaranean, if I am unable to express my emotions in some way, I assuredly will die and find out what is after death first hand.
So I join my three friends and former teammates for the celebrations and commemorations of the day. We ate breakfast silently. I thanked X'hal there was no tofu and meat argument. I guess people do the growing up sometime.
When we arrived down on the ground floor, to the Grand Hall of Titans Tower, some other heroes were already there. Hero's Day came about to commemorate the 'fallen' Titans. Those honored are either on the team itself or an Honorary Titan. 'Fallen' is apparently a more palatable word for Earthlings than 'die' is. On Tamaran, to die in battle is most honorable, but on Earth such things are very different, as with so many other things.
To honor to 'fallen', there would be stone likenesses – statues - created to honor them. The Grand Hall is on the ground level of Titans Tower. Heroes Day became a private time for heroes from all over – Titans, the Justice League, the Green Lanterns, the REBELS, those who work alone – to remember all the Titans that were gone. The public is invited to come later in the day but most of the heroes do not like to be there at that point.
Over the years the Hall began to fill with the 'fallen'.
I always seem to create a 'stir' at the Heroes Day. When Richard and I were first a couple there was so much interest in what was going on – we were so young. Those first few years were glorious. We were living in the Tower, life was wonderful. I was so full of joy.
Then there was the year we were fighting but then did the making up during the party of after and arrived back and people apparently were aware of what had happen between us during our absence. We never were good at being quiet; of course on Tamaran, well, that was the norm, but again...
The following year Richard had become Nightwing.
And then he was there with Barbara, the Batgirl. It hurt so very much. I cannot do the hiding of my feelings, but I would not leave my home, my commitment to the Titans. Nightwing was in Bludhaven, but Richard still had my heart for those years.
Last year Richard and I had reconciled and I had a new costume of my own, not that I dare wear that now. People were surprised that I wore anything that covered so little of my body. Richard tried to explain that I needed the additional exposure to the sun now that I was fully mature and then he turned the bright red... I explained, quite directly and forcefully (I was very proud of my assertiveness) that not only was what he said was true and necessary, that there was no shame in one's body, I was covering all of what were considered the 'private parts' and that it would be what I would be wearing on Tamaran. (Well, on Tamaran I'd be unclothed as much as possible during the me'tis, the time of maturity and fertility, to ensure I could bare as many strong children as possible.)
I asked if other people from other cultures on Earth or from other Worlds can wear uniforms that reflect their heritage why could I not? (I did not mention making up a new persona as that would offend Richard and many others.) Nothing else was said. Perhaps it was that I had the good point. Perhaps it was that my eyes glowed green a bit.
So as I walk into amongst the other heroes this Heroes Day, I heard the murmurs around me, attracting attention, yet again. But this day was different, it is not the same as when Richard was with Barbara. I cannot hide many things including the pain.
I am Tamaranean, my love is eternal, and I wear my emotions as a second skin.
I felt a bit awkward but Vic, Rachel and Gar stay so close, purposely not leaving my side, and I appreciated more than they would know. I could face the other heroes and friends after the ceremony, after the dedication and time of reflection. The other thing that my three dearest friends did not do was to do the smothering of me, even while they physically were shielding me. No asking of how I was every few minutes, no reassuring me frequently I would be the all right.
It was time to sit. As four of the original five, we sat front and center. Automatically, a chair for was left open for Richard by Wally, the Kid Flash, no, the Flash now, until Raven used her powers to move him over to sit next to Cyborg. Wally offered me a small wave and I returned it and it felt almost the o. and the k.
That small step was the beginning; I would be able to interact with our friends. I would be strong. I could do this. I would get through the day.
Once everyone was seated, the ceremony began. One by one the fallen heroes were remembered. Here it becomes the... confusing part, as the list of fallen is not simply added to. Sometimes they come back. As we learned last year with the Black Lanterns, some time they do not return the 'right', but indeed, the Universe is full of wonder, and sometimes, the fallen do come back.
With solemn reverence as well as humor the fallen Teen Titans were remembered. The ones that died so bravely in battle. The ones that did not come back.
I thought about those years that Richard's touch comforted me during the ceremony, and just as the times were before when he was not there for me emotionally, he was always there. Now that he was not at the ceremony at all, I felt a bit lost.
But I know that I am not here without support. Many people are truly good to me. I should not be at all bitter for those early times, or feeling the sorry for myself, not now.
The remembrances of the heroes of the past ended and it was soon time for the dedication and things became quiet, a solemn reverence of the dedication of the statue of our fallen. Rachel, Vic and Gar stand and Vic escorts me to the lectern, as the others follow. My three friends stay behind me as I adjust the microphone.
"Good afternoon, I am Starfire, Koriand'r of Tamaran, and one of the original Teen Titans. I am here with some remarks today on this very special Hero's Day.
"He was the original Robin and for many years fought along side the Batman in Gotham; he then came here to Jump City, branching out and formed the Teen Titans, a group that was so much more than sidekicks with a few young heroes, many of us without anywhere else to go. I met him and he taught me the first of many things: he taught me English, even if I had to force him to by lip contact."
The audience tittered. It was always something people found so amusing...
"There were only five of us back then. Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, Robin and me. Robin grew to be an incredible leader and strategist. Even without powers, his discipline, training and athleticism, he was more than a match for those of us with powers.
"Soon, he grew into a man, and he adopted a new persona, Nightwing
"And when it was necessary, he rose to the occasion and stepped into his mentor's shoes..."
I look up and suppressed a gasp, shocked beyond belief that he was here: Batman. I feel a flood of emotion. I could not believe he was here.
"I think it is no stretch that he touched all of our lives, whether leading us, fighting or training along side us, or just being a good friend."
Still holding is together, I wanted to break the rule, to use his true name – but I could not. Richard would not have ever allowed it and he died protecting his mentor.
"And, like all of those honored before him, he shall be missed."
"Thank you for your words, Kory."
One by one people came to the front and gave stories. It went on forever yet I never wanted it to end.
Soon it was time for the dedication of the statue.
I looked in confusion when I was handed two roses and soon I understood. Last to lay the flowers at Richard's statues, I paused for a moment, touching the nameplate.
Softly I spoke. "I will see you again my beloved. I have two roses for you: this second one is from the baby I carry, our daughter, Mar'i Grayson."
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or simply Hamlet, by William Shakespeare (c. 1600); "To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there's the rub", Act 3, Scene 1, Line 66, Spoken by Hamlet