Word Count: ~1,100
Inspiration: media. tumblr. moc/ tumblr _ m83reakgje1qhxhiz. png
-Just reverse "moc" to "com" and delete the spaces (:
She finds the picture with about a billion others in a box on the high shelf of their closet.
She pulled it out because Jason is turning eighteen and graduating from high school in the same month – screw anyone who thinks that doesn't make her emotional because, seriously, when did her baby grow up? – and she and Dick wanted to put together his sort of collage to put out for his dinner. They rented a hall and invited his friends and their friends and family, and they'll have his graduation picture matted so that people can sign it. They even have somewhat of a program planned for the night. She doesn't even care how much everything's setting them back because it's totally worth it and yes, she and Dick want to do it for Dylan and Anna, too.
So she's sitting on the floor of their den with their pictures spread out around her, trying to organize everything by age, and one falls out from the rest as she's grabbing another handful of photos.
She remembers exactly when this picture was taken.
They'd gone to this carnival in Gotham and Jason was eleven and Dylan was seven, except Dylan was going through this early growth spurt while Jason's growth spurt was delayed, so they looked like they were around the same age rather than a little over three years apart. Surprisingly, the fact that his little sister was probably taller than him didn't seem to bother Jason much. And when it did start to matter to him, he was already growing pretty quickly so he got over it soon enough.
Anyway, she remembers this day pretty clearly because it was the same day she found out she was pregnant with Anna. Dick bought Dylan these heart-shaped sunglasses from a stand and they spent the day going on all of the rides – they rode their favorites twice – and winning all those carnival games, because duh their kids have perfect aim.
On the way back to the car they stopped by a stand and Dick bought them some soda in those old-fashioned soda pop glasses, and they sat down on a curb and drank them. She doesn't know what Jason and Dylan had been talking about because she hadn't been paying much attention, but then Jason started laughing and put his arm around Dylan while she giggled and took another sip of her soda and luckily Dick still had the camera out, so he snapped a picture of them before they stopped.
Artemis wipes some tears away from the corner of her eyes and sets the picture aside before sorting through the rest.
Dylan's the one to notice the picture where it's framed and sitting on their fireplace mantle, because she's always had her dad's amazing eyes, both literally (they're Dick's same beautiful shade of blue) and figuratively (nothing gets by her; nothing).
They're all in the den together while doing their own thing – Anna's helping her fold laundry, Dick has some mission reports to read over, Jason is looking through some paperwork his college sent him, and Dylan's proof-reading her friend's final essay for their English Honors class – when Dylan suddenly gets up and walks over to the fireplace. "What's that?" Jason asks, and everyone else's attention is already on her by the time she picks the frame up and turns it for them to see.
"Oh man," Dick laughs, "I remember when we took that."
Dylan smiles and hands it over to Anna when she reaches for it. "I was your age in that picture, Dove," Dylan tells her.
"What made you dig this up, Mom?" Jason asks.
She sees Dick shoot her a look from the corner of her eye – Jason knows about the party, obviously, but they haven't told him anything else about it – and she just shrugs a little. "Can't I be nostalgic and emotional?"
"I'm serious," Artemis says. "This is all very traumatic for me, even if I don't show it." Jason smiles and walks over to her, moves the laundry aside so he can sit beside her on the floor and wrap his arms around her, tucking his chin over her shoulder like he used to when he was little. Oh, god. "Stop trying to make me cry."
"That's the fun part, though," he laughs, and instead of watering up like she did earlier today, she rolls her eyes. Honestly, he's just like his father.
It's sitting on hers and Dick's bed the day Jason moves out.
He actually tears up a little when he hugs her in the middle of the kitchen and says that he'll see her soon. Dylan and Anna are going with him to help him unpack, and she and Dick are going to drive over there with the rest of his stuff when they leave. She doesn't cry, but she did a lot of crying during his graduation ceremony and then at his family dinner for his birthday and after the party they have for him at the hall, so she thinks maybe she did all of her crying then to prepare for today. It's kind of a stupid thing to think, but whatever.
And she doesn't know how or when they snuck this into her room, because they spent most of the morning after breakfast loading everything into his car, but the box is there when she walks into their master bedroom.
It's wrapped in baby blue (the crisp, almost creepily accurate wrapping tells her that it's Dylan's handiwork) with a white bow (definitely Anna's suggestion) stuck on the corner, with "To: Mom and Dad" and "Love: Jaybird, Birdie, and Dove" written in Sharpie (and in Jason's handwriting) on the tag.
She unwraps carefully, peeling the bow off and setting it aside with the tag before lifting off the top.
Once the tissue paper is out of the way, she finds herself staring back at her kids. They're sitting on that same curb, each holding a glass Coca-Cola bottle with a colored straw stuck inside, and Dylan and Anna are wearing matching pairs of heart-shaped sunglasses while Jason has a bandana wrapped around his neck and a baseball cap on his head. Anna's sitting on Jason's lap while Jason has an arm around Dylan, and they're all laughing with their glass bottles clinking together between them.
An arm wraps around her waist from behind, and she feels Dick's chest against her back as he leans over her shoulder and looks down at the picture frame. He chuckles a little then grasps her chin, turns her to look at him and presses their lips together as his thumb brushes over the corner of her eye. She hadn't even realized that they'd begun to water again.
"Our kids are the best," he says, and she laughs because it's completely true.