WARNING_ This mentions religion. It's not like 'god god! god!' But it just mentions it.. Both Christianity and Hebrew faith. I don't want any flames saying 'God this" Or 'Jesus That'. Everyone has different veiws and I don't care what you believe I respect you. I didn't wanna be cramming religion down anyones throats just as I don't want it crammed down mine. So lets all be mature and no flames or harrasing me over religion, ok?
OK, on with the story.
The change in the air could be felt even inside Mount Justice. The scent of the chilled air clung to the very metal that supported the rock around their 'not so secret' secret hide out.. There was a decent layer of snow on the ground outside and the scent of pine was thick within the 'common' area of the cave where a large tree had been placed for the season. It'd taken a bit of whining and pulling of strings but they'd managed to get one. Now came the task of decorating the large tree. There's been tons of light and huge ornaments left in boxes upon boxes.
"Awesome!" Came Wallys excited exclamation as he zipped for the boxes, tearing apart the packages.
"Any mess you make you're picking up!" Artemis called after him as she headed for a box that the speedster hadn't yet torn open.
"You know Artemis, it's Christmas! Can't you stop being a pain in the ass just for a day?"
"I don't know. Could you stop being stupid for a day?"
"Get a room!" Sparrow called as she walked past them to a box that look far too familiar, if not quite as beat up as it should have been. She ignored the disgusted faces the two made. Instead she went about pulling out the large, tree topper. The crystals that had been protected carefully in the packaging sparkled in the light of the room without even being plugged in. She looked over in just enough time to see Wally tangled in multiple sets of lights. He tried to untangle himself, but using super speed as a habit he only managed to entangle himself further, even tripping over the string of brightly colored bulbs and falling flat on his face. Artemis slapped her forehead and Robin let out his signature laugh as Megan joined in on the laughter. The laughter only got worse when the ginger boy tried to get up only to trip again. Sparrow couldn't help the laugh even as she walked over, trying to find an end to help the boy out of the Christmas lights.
"If this is gunna be the first tree, we gotta do this right" She said, laughing as Wally would get fidgetty after a few seconds, thinking his quick hands would help and only making it worse. "We need tons of popcorn, thread and needles.. and many extension cords.."
"On it!" came M;ganns reply as she ran for the kitchen.
Sparrow continued to fight KF for a few minutes. She'd get a foot of wire free, he'd get impatient and end up wrapping half of it back around himself in his fidgetting. She tried a few more times before she too began to grow impatient, growling in frustration. "Conner!" She called out for help from the clone who came over, placing his hand on the speedsters head gently but with a dangerous threat looming in it. Wally immediately stilled and allowed Sparrow to work.
"Think I'm gunna go help Meg out" Said Artemis and everyone made some form of acknowledgement.
"Hey Kal! You wanna help untangle the lights that don't have a Wally wrapped in them?" Robin said, holding up a bundle of tangled lights.
"Sure" Said the Atlantean.
More than an hour late, Wally was free of the 'cursed lights' and the rest lay in neat piles at Kaldur and Robins feet, just as M'gann and Artemis were walking in with the first batch of popcorn.
"I can't believe it! My first Christmas on Earth!" She said excitedly. Her face changed after a moment of thought. "We're not going to be visited by an old ghost in chains are we...?"
Robin an Sparrow let out a large laugh as the others stared in bewilderment at the green skinned girl. "You really need to stop watching those shows Megs.." Wally muttered.
Artemis shook her head, wrapping her arm around M'gans shoulder as she brought her a distance from the tree. "Come on, I'll teach you how to make a Garland from the popcorn." She said, pulling the needle from the spool of super heavy duty thread.
"Oh.." She said as she sat crossed legged out of the way of all the boxes and away from the actions being taken against the defenseless tree.
Artemis picked up a large, thick piece of popcorn from the bowl. "You wanna be real gentle or the popcorn will crumbled. You gotta put it through the middle like this." Artemis held out her hands, barely holding the popcorn in her fingers as she pushed the pointed end of the needle into the middle of the puffed kernal. "Then you just pull it to the end and repeat. Her, you take this set and try, I'll start a new one." Artemis said handing M'gann the garland she'd started. M'gann picked a piece of popcorn, almost afraid to push it onto the metal of the needle. Once she got the corn on the string she looked to Artemis with a large smile. "Good."
"But.. why do Humans use food to decorate...? Why not ea it?" M'gaan questioned.
"Dun know.." Artemis said shrugging her shoulders. "Maybe cause it's the season of excess?" M'gan watched Artemis for a moment longer, knowing she wasn't going to get an answer from her friend she turned her focus back to the Garland.
The Atlantean, the Kryptonian and the speedster watched, heads follwing the actions of the tossed, detangled, ball of lights and Sparrow and Robin tossed it from one side of the tree to the other, standing at opposing side and getting a damn near perfect spiral upwards with each new toss around the lower sections of the tree. Soon the lights were wrapped above their heads but still not to the top. This made wrapping the lights harder. Robin and Sparrow looked to each other from around the tree.
Robin put the roll of lights on the ground. With a nod Sparrow ran to him as g=he cupped his hands, lowering them so her foot could easily step on it. She placed the toes of her right foot in his hands and he launched her into the air. She flipped through the air, legs hooking on a beam a few feet above the tree where she hung upside down, throwing her arms down towards Robin. He quickly tossed the roll of lights to her. She caught them with barely a swing in motion.
"Hey, supey?" Robin called. "Little help?" He called, jerking his head towards the ceiling. The clone nodded. Robin repeated the same process that Sparrow had done not a minute before. His flip wasn't as tight due to the fact that Connors push off had much more force than needed and Robin had to compensate for the difference to land correctly, but he did so flawlessly. Once he too, was hooked to the beam the continued the process of looping and tossing the string of lights that they'd started on the ground.
"Okay! I'll bite what's going on?" Wally called up to them from the ground. As if in sink they both cocked their heads to the side.
"Why are you two being so nice to each other?" He said, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at them.
"It's Christmas dude.."
"Can't we be civil just once a year?" Sparrow spoke innocently, just a little too sweet.
"Bats threatened to cancel Christmas didn't he?"
"Yup." Came the flat, simultaneous answer. With another two tosses and a short moment to tuck the loose end and they were done.
"I don't get it." Connor said flatly, staring at the lush green tree. Everyone turned to him, looking with questioning expression. "Why are we putting lights on a pine tree? Why are we wasting food to make strings for it?"
"It's.. Christmas dude..." Kid flash turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow. The only answer the group received was the clueless look on Connors face.
"The g-nomes didn't teach you about Christmas...?" Artemis said disbelievingly. Connor shook his head.
Everyone looked to Sparrow. She looked around the room at everyone, allow everyone but Robin were upside down to her, eyes wide. "What are you looking at me for?"
"You've dealt with this before! You've spent time with him."
"Yeah but he was already outta the pod for a while. He was maybe a little awkward but he knew all this stuff already.." She dropped down to the ground
"How do you explain Christmas to a 5 month old?" Artemis questioned as she dusted herself off from the crumbs of the popcorn garland she'd placed on the floor to gather closer to the group that was forming around Superboy.
"Hmm.. It's uh.. Well Christmas is on December 25th every year. It's one of the biggest holidays..." Robin started, pulling out facts.
"Yeah! You get tons of presents and there's a huge feast! Turkey and Ham and- OUCH!" Wally said as Artemis slapped him upside the head.
"Is that all you think about kid mouth!"
Connor looked to M'gann for answers. His girlfriend had always been able to answer his questions and calm his insecurities before. This time she looked as lost for words as everyone else.
While the rest of the team fumbled for words, while the bickered about the contrasting meanings and the selfishness of the season that Wally liked to display Sparrow sat in silence, thinking.
"It's about.. family.." Sparrow said softly, staring at nothing. The room fell silent and they looked to her. "It's family and friends..." She said still staring at nothings. After a moment she turned to look at Connor with a small if somewhat sad smile on her face. "The religious take on it is that it's the day Jesus was born. A man who freed mankind of our sins and allowing us to go to a better place when we die. Other religions consider this time of year to be the time of some other miracle passed down from God, such as the oil that lasted 8 days for those of the Jewish faith and many. Some don't believe in any of this.." She paused. "But everyone believe of the season of good will. It's the last month of the year, in the middle of winter. Many years ago, many people wouldn't make it through the winter due to the conditions. So Having a holiday in the winter gave people hope to get through the worst of their times, gave them a reason to gather around each other, love each other. No one knows how long we have on this earth, so it's a time to live in the present. Everything Wally said is true. People give presents as a sign of love. They eat a large feast, cause everyones together." She looked down. "But without the food... without the presents... It's still Christmas.. As long as you're with your family and friends.. be it in the same house or in spirit..."
"I don't think it could be said better" Said Kaldur as the rest of the team stared at her. Sparrow gave a shy smile to the Atlantean.
"but.. I don't have any family..." He said flatly.
"You have us Connor." Robin said quickly, confidently.
"But.." He started.
"Trust me Connor. You don't have to have blood ties to be a family. Me and Rob know that best of all. All it takes to make family.. is love..."
"Yeah dude! You're like the older.. er... younger.. whatever.. brother I've never had!" Wally said, placing his hands on his hips. He actually caught Artemis' hand before she smacked the back of his head again. He turned, sticking his tongue out at her. Not looking he didn't see her other hand come up to smack him in the other side of the head.
"You'll always have a family with us Connor." Said Artemis.
"Come!"aid Sparrow, taking Connors hand, leading him to the ornaments. "As a family, we should ALL be decorating the tree!"
Several hours later the tree was full of popcorn garlands and large ornaments. Robin had jumped up again, placing the star upon the highest branch. After he'd gracefully come back to the ground Kaldur offered the two extension cords to Superboy. "Do the honors?"
The clone took the two cords, looking to the face of each of his friends who gave him encouraging smiles. He looked down to the cords in his hands.
At this moment Sparrow leaned over to Artemis, whispering something in her ears. The blonde teen moved back behind the clone. Just as Super boy plugged in the cord, the tree igniting in light and color as it reflected from the metallic painted glass hung on its branches, a shot went up over their heads, a green arrow burst over the tree sending out strings of tinsel that cascaded down over the tree, catching the light like fireworks
Superboy stared in awe at the beauty they had created together, as a family.
Later that night would find them sitting around the tv in their Pjs watching old shows. There was 'how the grinch stole Christmas' and 'a Christmas story'. Explaining Santa to Connor took another bout of babbling from the team. A Christmas story was even more difficult. The clone light to over analyses way too much.
As the watched the movie there'd been trips to the kitchen to retrieve popcorns or cocoa. On her last trip Sparrow had brought back an extra mug for Robin, even as she struggled to hold onto the large throw that she had draped over her shoulders. She offered the young acrobat the mug with the large peppermint stick sticking out of it freely. The boy looked shock that she'd do so. He took the mug with a mumbled 'thanks' and scooted over on the floor so she could sit down and still be centered in front of the TV. Artemis and Wally both refused to give up the small section of couch that was left after M'gann and Connor had snuggled up under a large blanket of their own. The two were forced to sit in very close quarters, bot to stubborn to give in while Kaldur took a seat in one of the single chairs, pulling it close to the couch to be better centered to the TV.
Black Canary walked through the cave. It'd been a late mission and she hadn't gotten a chance to see the kids yet. She felt bad, it being so close to the holidays. It was bad enough the kids were exposed to this sort of life but to not even have a normal holiday..
She froze as she entered the common area. Quietly as she could she retreated, looking for the camera. Once she'd managed to find on of the small digital ones that had been left around she returned, snapping a photo.
Theer in the common room were Connor, M'gaan half draped over him on half the couch with a blanket wrapped about them. On the second half of the couch were Wally and Artemis. The blonde had her head rested on Wallys chest, his hand placed lightly on her head. On the floor below them were Sparrow and Robin, swaddled in a throw, her head resting delicately on his shoulder and his on hers. Kaldur was off to the side of the couch, his head propped on his palm, his elbow on the plush arm of the chair. And ALL were fast asleep.
Looked like she had this years league Christmas card.