|SEPTEMBER 19, 22:06 EDT
"Barbara, I am so, so, so sorry!"
It was the thousandth time that Tim apologized, and once again, Barbara had to reassure him that her injuries weren't his fault.
"Tim, it's okay, you couldn't have known what Black Mask was planning." She smiled softly at the young man.
As soon as she hit the ground, a terrible pain lanced through her stomach. Robin ran to her and the Rogues escaped. She felt strangely detached from her body just then, watching everything around her unfold with a surreal calmness. She thought Robin was being incredibly brave, controlling his emotions. He yelled at her to stay awake but when he called Alfred to inform him of what happened, his voice was steady.
Next thing she knew, he had brought her to the Batcave, supporting her dead weight easily with the insane amount of adrenaline rushing through his veins. However, as soon as Barbara was out of immediate danger, his hands started trembling, his legs almost giving out from underneath him with exhaustion, and he was aware of shock threatening to blank his mind.
"No, I should have been here in time! I should have protected you!" Unlike Dick, when he was angry Tim's voice stayed low, but his blue eyes were dark. It was the first time Barbara actually felt intimidated by the slight boy.
"Master Timothy, you've been brave tonight," Alfred added as he did the final patch up for the redhead. The metal working bench was littered with bloody gauze that only reminded Tim of how close he came to failing his family. "I am sure that not every fifteen year old boy would have been capable of handling a similar situation with the strength and insight you did tonight. Mistress Barbara is right: there's nothing you could have done to prevent the attack, but what you did in response to the inevitable has saved her life." Barbara moved a little and Alfred glared at her. "Miss Barbara, may I remind you to avoid any unnecessary movement if you don't want ugly scars?"
"Sorry, Alfred." Barbara apologized with a small smile.
The British butler left quickly after that to destroy every single piece of medical waste. Some might say it was paranoia, but Alfred had learnt long ago that paranoia should be treated as the bestest of friends. Batgirl and Robin was left alone in the cave. The beeping of various equipment echoed through the silence.
Tim rubbed the back of his neck as the redhead tried to stand up. He had to clench the other hand into a fist to stop himself from reaching out to help. Barbara was clearly in pain, cringing as she struggled up, but Tim knew that she would be offended if he tried to support her.
"I am so sorry Barbara…"
"Tim…You've already apologized a billion times." The young woman sighed using a slight smile to disguise a grimace. "I've already forgiven you – if there was actually anything I had to forgive you for. You did a good job tonight."
"But I messed up!" He suddenly yelled, making her jump. Tim never yelled. "I messed up again, and you almost got killed tonight! Clearly our definitions of a 'good job' are worlds apart."
"But Dick wouldn't have let anything happened! He would have saved you."
Barbara bit her lips as Tim stopped talking. At last they were getting to the root of the problem. This was the real reason, why he had been so distant lately, why he tried to do more than necessary and humanly possible. He was being torn apart by the responsibilities he believed he had to fulfil… and he was trying to compete with the shadow he thought he couldn't ever compete with. Because he thought that he had to replace his big brother, since Dick wasn't there to help them. Barbara clenched her fists. The departure of her best friend didn't just affect her, but it also affected Tim. And she couldn't keep seeing him like this.
Tim looked at his feet and the redhead sat down next to him, secretly wishing she had never stood up in the first place. Her eyes met his and she tried to comfort him with a smile.
"Tim…" She murmured. "Nobody asked you to be just like Dick. You are younger, and, well, totally not like him."
"But-"He tried but she cut him off with a sharp wave of her hand that sent a pang of pain through her abdominal muscles.
"No, listen to me like you listened to me a few days ago." Barbara took a deep breath. "Tim, you don't need to be like Dick. You don't have to be like him. Nobody, not Bruce, not Alfred, and definitely not me, asked you to replace him. You are your own person Timmy; you are unique. Nobody asked you to be different, to change your personality or the way you think or act."
"But I thought-" But once again, Barbara didn't let him finish his sentence.
"You thought wrong. Timmy, you are exceptional as you are. You don't need to be someone else. It is because you are different than the rest of us, that you are better." He nodded, but Barbara knew he wasn't convinced. She stifled the urge to roll her eyes. She had enough experience with teenage boys to know that words didn't get through to them. "Take fighting as an example. The villains are used to the way Batman and Robin fight. I have watched them fight alongside one another for such a long time, that I can predict their moves and even how they will respond in certain situations. Because you're new and because you're different, you are a very different partner, which meant Bruce had to change his style to complement yours. It was only by a fraction, but together, Batman and Robin are once again an unpredictable duo. Thanks to you. Okay?"
He took a moment to respond. There was some understanding in his eyes and that made Barbara glad, but it was the little light of hope returning that made her want to laugh aloud.
|SEPTEMBER 19, 23:21 EDT
"Well it wasn't a bad mission."
The team sighed as Artemis spoke and Conner gave her a glare. They all had several cuts, purple bruises and some even had a few cracked ribs. The mission was very bad, contrary to the blonde's words. Kaldur had presented it as a simple mission in the Minnesota, a meeting with a group of bad guys. They thought it was just another group of wannabe gangsters, but it wasn't. Some of them had, at their best guess, slept in a tank of Cobra Venom because they were almost as strong as Superboy and Wonder Girl. Even Black Canary's training had been pushed to their limits as the young heroes tried to fight off some of the ninja like opponents. After hours of fighting, they succeeded in capturing only three people and the six others got away. It had been a real disaster - heavy on the 'dis'.
"What are you talking about? Tonight was sooo not crash…" Bart sighed and groaned as he lied on the couch. Those of his team members without superfast healing or indestructible skin, shot him foul, envious looks. Before their eyes, Bart's black eye was lightening and the two fingers he had broken were set and healing.
"You sure you are alright?" Cassie asked, looking worried as the blue armour retracted away from Beetle's face. Jaime had stupidly (yet heroically) jumped in front of a punch meant for her and caught it straight in the ribs. Goose bumps sprinkled her arms as she remembered the loud cracks of bones snapping.
"Yeah, don't worry…" The Hispanic tried to smile at her through clenched teeth. "It's just a scratch. I've had worst."
"Jaime Reyes, I still don't understand why you took allowed yourself to be injured instead of this girl. You are well aware of the fact that she is an Amazonian warrior."
Jaime chose to ignore the Scarab. It was starting to become a habit.
"Artemis, can I talk to you for a minute?"
The archer turned her head to see Kaldur, his arms folded over his muscular chest and a serious look on his face. Well, a concerned look then since Kaldur was rarely anything but serious.
Artemis raised an eyebrow before answering. "Y…Yeah, of course."
They passed in front of Megan who was giving a glass of milk to Garfield and some cookies to Conner. She was in her element, nursing her friends and mothering anyone who needed it. Artemis saw Karen patching up Malcolm's injuries, and the black girl smiled slightly and murmured something in his ear. Malcolm laughed loudly, before hissing as the muscles in his back protested. He had pushed his body far beyond its limits trying to keep up with Karen and looking out for her.
"What do you want to talk to me about, Kal?" She asked, impatiently. The rush she got from fighting was slowly wearing off and she was starting to hurt in places know normal human would even want to think of hurting. During the mission, she had to pull out some acrobatic stunts she hadn't used in years. Now, all she wanted to do was take a long, hot bath and curl up underneath a duvet.
"I want to talk to you about the why you took irresponsible risks these past few weeks."
Artemis gasped. "What are you talking about Kal'?" She bit her lips. "I'm sure I did not-"
"Everyone saw it, Artemis, you don't need to keep on acting in front of me." He interrupted her with what the original team had dubbed his 'leader tone'. It was a tone of voice he used rarely because even without it people obeyed him. However, because he was using it Artemis knew to shut up and listen. "It's the fifth time in two weeks that you almost let a teammate injured himself."
Artemis couldn't let that statement stand. Her temper flared, overriding all precautions she usually took when interacting with their gentle leader. "I know I'm not the same since-" For the second time, he didn't let her finish her sentence.
"We are all not the same since his death, Artemis. You are not the same and I'm not the same." Aqualad took a deep breathe. "I've been devastated too, but I moved on. I distanced myself from the team, but when they needed me, I pushed through the sadness and… I had to move on. I'm still sad and upset, and the smallest things – the kitchen, the souvenir room, food, Bart, yellow – make me want to explode." Kaldur was breathing heavily. Artemis couldn't believe the display of emotion he was showing. It was unheard of, unprecedented. And everything he said echoed within her. Tears traced lattice like patterns through the dust covering her cheeks. "But because my team depends on me to be level-headed and to make life-and-death decisions, I was forced to get over it. We're not asking you to forget him. We're not even asking you to move on if you aren't yet ready, but I have to ask you either to get your head cleared or to leave the team temporarily once more. I can't have liabilities threatening the safety of the team."
Artemis didn't respond quickly. To be honest, she felt numb and raw. Kaldur never told her, or anyone, how he felt since Wally's death. They all saw that he was not the same, but he's always been good at hiding emotions. But the way he led the team was different for the past few weeks, the way he fights too. Artemis wanted to hit herself. She was so blinded by her own pain that she didn't even stop to think about her teammates and the fact that they might be feeling exactly the same way.
"How can I? How can I possibly?" She finally whispered. It was so soft that Kaldur thought he might have imagined it. "How can I move on when the man I loved for five years is just…gone? Do you even know what is it to love somebody for this long, Kaldur? And then lose that person?" In the back of her mind, Artemis was aware of the fact that she was being unfair but she couldn't help the words tumbling out of her mouth seemingly of their own accord.
Kaldur simply pursed his lips even as the words jabbed into his heart. Honestly? He didn't know. He has loved two women in his life. One was dead, the other was getting married in a few weeks, and not to him.
"It's not about me, Artemis…" He said softly.
"It's never about you, Kal!" She shouted furiously. "You are always here for the others, but you never let people help you!" She pulled a ragged breath into lungs that seemed impossibly small.
"It's not about me, but you, and the safety of the all team." Kaldur repeated, a look of compassion and kindness on his face - like always. "You are distraught, not in the fight. Tonight, Bart was almost killed because you wanted to go after the one who escaped. And I can't let you hurt the team. It is my responsibility to take care of all of them, and sometimes, I need to make difficult decisions that hurt."
"Kaldur, what are you talking about?" She feared the worst. Panic made black spots dance in front of her vision.
"I'm sorry, Artemis. But I know you and you are too stubborn to make the decision for yourself. That leaves me with no other choice than to make it for you. Artemis, you are fired for an indeterminate time."
She felt like her heart dropped down into a never-ending abyss. He couldn't! He couldn't make her quit the team! It was all she had now!
"You can't." She growled. "You have no right to-"
"I can and I have." He retorted softly, always with that damned, unwavering calm. "Now, pack your bags."
|SEPTEMBER 21, 22:59 CDT
The babies have been much more excited than usual tonight. Of course, Iris didn't say anything to Barry. He already had many things to deal with right now, and it was the first night in a week that he was finally getting a good night of sleep. Anyway, the doctors said that the babies would be born in approximately two weeks. She thought it was just a normal thing before the birth of her children. But right now, it was really, really starting to hurt. She cursed under her breath as a sharp pain made her legs go numb. This couldn't be normal, right? Iris pressed a hand to her belly her belly as her husband snorted in his sleep. She didn't move.
And then, something happened. The mother-to-be felt a wetness between her legs – cold and warm and extremely uncomfortable. She knew what it was; and suddenly all the fear she had been repressing for the past 9 months came bubbling to the surface. She opened her eyes and tried to breathe calmly.
"Barry?" She whispered.
He didn't move. Damn you! Speedsters were almost impossible to wake once they finally stopped moving. Iris tried to move, but the pain was unbelievable. She groaned loudly.
"Mm? What…What's going on?"
This time, the blond finally opened his eyes, and when he saw his wife's grimace, the colour drained from his cheeks in an almost comical fashion. His eyes flicked to her protruding belly and then immediately back to her emerald irises.
"It's time?" He asked reverently, not fully believing that he was actually awake.
"It's time!" Impatience and frustration overwhelmed the pain for a second as Iris snapped at her husband.
"But I…I thought it would only happen in two weeks!" Shock. It was the only word she could use to describe the odd look on her husband's face. He was not ready. He was sure he wasn't ready for the babies; and even the idea of being a dad scared the hell out of him.
"Well, honey, the babies seem to like breaking rules." She smiled at him, trying to reassure him even as it felt as if the twins were trying to break her ribcage. "I think it's genetic."
She didn't have to tell him twice. Barry jumped to his feet and quickly dressed in a blur of motion. He tried to stay calm, to control his speed. His mind was screaming at him to go faster, but because he knew that if Iris knew he was freaking out she would start freaking out too.
By the time she was on her feet, he was dressed, had a bag packed, had shook Bart awake and consumed about half a dozen energy bars. What? Barry was a stress eater.
"It's time, isn't it?" Bart asked as his head peeked around the corner of the doorframe. His hair stood at odd angles forming a halo around his head.
The two adults smiled warmly and nodded, although Iris's smile was more of a grimace and her nod a spastic jerk of her head. Barry's eyes met Bart's. Excitement. The young boy had no qualms about controlling his speed and his clothes were starting to smoke. Iris laughed breathlessly, and all the fear she was feeling just vanished when she saw the look on his face.
"Yes, Bart," Barry finally said, "It's time."
For the first time in what seemed years, Bart smiled with no reservations. The grief that had clung to his eyes disappeared as the wonder at the thought of two new lives coming into the world washed through his mind.
|SEPTEMBER 19, 23:32 EDT
M'Gann kissed Garfield's forehead. The poor boy had been exhausted when they came back from the mission, and she had not waited too long for him to fall asleep. Since the loss of W… no, she didn't dare to allow herself to even think his name. Since the loss of their beloved teammate, Garfield had been restless and some nights it took him hours to fall asleep. It wore her out mentally, but she would always think it her duty to care for the young boy.
M'Gann didn't need to be a mind reader to know that the real reason he couldn't fall asleep without her there was because he was scared she would disappear like W- he did. Every night when she sat next to his bed and held his hand, she telepathically reassured him of her presence. It was risky since it wore at the natural mental barrier Garfield possessed, but M'Gann thought it better than to allow him to experience the horrible nightmares she had glimpsed in his subconscious. As soon as she established a mental connection with him, the Martian turned off the light and cautiously closed the door with her mind, well aware of the fact that even the slightest creak could wake the boy because of his sensitive hearing.
Outside of the room, she allowed herself a small smile. She really did love him, like the little brother she never had.
She turned around, and jumped. Conner was there, probably waiting for her since they got back from the mission. He had this stern expression on his face that made M'Gann worried. For seconds that stretched into a feeling of infinity, they watched each other.
"I'm sorry," the half-kryptonian apologize breaking the silence, "I just…I just wanted to make sure that you were okay."
The young Martian couldn't help but smile fondly. When Conner was worried about her safety, it always made her heart swell. Even after their break up, because, honestly, she still loved him.
"Well, I wasn't injured during the mission, you know." It wasn't for the first time, that M'Gann was grateful her shapeshifting abilities gave her the choice of hiding her blush.
"I know, I know!" Conner said quickly, "It's just…You were kind of…not really there during the briefing. So…I was, well, worried."
"Oh," her eyes widened slightly, "I'm just worried about Artemis. She talked with Kaldur after the mission, and she seemed pretty upset and she didn't tell me anything about what they talked about but…I don't know."
"Just relax, M'Gann," he said gently, "I'm sure everything is alright, and tomorrow, you can go visit her about it if you want."
She tried not to seem too worried. They walked together. Connor automatically falling back into the habit of accompanying her to her bedroom. When they reached her door, Connor suddenly gripped her arm and spun her around to face him. His bright blue eyes searched her face.
"What's going on, Connor?" She asked and she frowned. Connor was much more sensitive than she initially gave him credit for.
"Are you sure you alright?" He demanded again.
"Everything is fine, Connor," the Martian assured him with a kind smile, and she felt her heart beat faster, "it's just…Everything is changing so fast, and everything is different now, and…and I'm a little lost right now, but I have to keep going, for Garfield."
She was about to enter her room when Connor stopped her again.
"M'Gann," he started, "you and me, not being an 'us' anymore doesn't mean I don't care about you, okay? I think I proved that to you during the past few weeks, but…I'm here if you need anything, like… reminding you that not everything has changed, okay? Some things will never truly change."
She just nodded, and kissed him on the cheek. M'Gann avoided looking into his eyes, knowing full well that they still made her knees weak.
"I already knew that, but…thank you, for telling me that-"
A sudden shout and rushed footsteps interrupted her. Instinctively (after years of fighting, living and being together, how could it not be instinct?) M'Gann merged her mind with Connor's. M'Gann's mind was filled with the intense emotions that were suddenly spiking up throughout the mountain. Connor focused his hearing and moved in front of the slender Martian, in case of an attack. Together, the duo stood silently, their bodies preparing for the worst.
"Everyone needs to calm down!" Kaldur's voice came into focus. It was only natural for Connor to immediately seek out the voice of their team leader. M'Gann was about to add Kaldur to mental link, but decided against it when she sensed the veiled excitement in his mood.
"She needs air! Please, make way!" The Flash added, his voice filled with worry and panic. M'Gann's breath caught in her throat. Was someone injured?
Another cry of pain and more footsteps.
"Take her to the main bed! The babies are coming!"
"It's Iris!" M'Gann suddenly exclaimed, relief seeping through the link. "She's having her babies!"
Again, Iris West-Allen's screams echoed through the mountain. The pitch of it made Connor wince.
The young Martian started running toward the med bay, and then she stopped and looked at Connor with a smile. "What are you waiting for? Come on!"
|SEPTEMBER 19, 23:52 EDT
Artemis looked at her cellphone. She sighed when she saw the time. It was almost midnight, and she really didn't want to go to sleep. Kaldur had just…benched her, and she was angry as hell. How could he? He was supposed to be her friend! He was supposed to understand her! And yet, he had still benched her. He had reasons, she understood that, but that didn't make her feel any better.
She opened the door of her apartment. Besides, every time she closed her eyes, she saw Wally. His red hair, his gorgeous smile, his contagious laugh. And then, she always woke up, all sweaty and screaming, because of those nightmares. Every time, she saw him die in front of her, and she couldn't do anything to help him. Sometimes he died again in the storm, other times it was a Rogue from one of their missions that killed him, or…. She shuddered at the very thought. Sometimes it was she who killed him, an arrow straight in the heart. It was the worst nightmare.
"Hey, Brucely!" She exclaimed as she saw the dog walking toward her happily. "How're you doing buddy?"
She smiled. But it faded when she heard a cackle. A very, very, recognizable cackle. She hadn't heard it since Wally's death, and she froze, because the proprietor had been missing since the funeral. She knew the cackle and her heart ached as it reminded her of a better past. She knew it too well, and she thought that she would probably never again hear it. She had almost missed it, even if she always told him the sound was awful and that she hated it. She heard footsteps, coming closer and closer to her. From the shadows, a tall and muscular silhouette emerged. And finally, Dick Grayson appeared. Big blue eyes looking straight at her and hands up as a sign of surrender. With Artemis, he knew that it couldn't hurt to be extra careful.
"Dick? What are you doing here?" Artemis asked, amazed by his presence.
"Figured it would be good to see an old friend." Dick Grayson's signature charming smile played across his lips.
"I'm not an idiot, Grayson," the young hero growled. "So, I repeat, why are you here?"
"I have some news."
"What news? And please, tell me you didn't find a random girl wherever you have been and suddenly chose to marry her."
"Why would I marry someone right now? And someone random, at that." He asked, raising an eyebrow as he sat on the couch.
"I don't know. Must be because I spend too much time with the girls. Y'know, they love talking about boys. They contaminated me, I think."
She sighed and sat next to her friend as Dick smiled slightly. She examined him. She thought he lost some weight, and he was paler than usual. It looked as if hadn't shaven for about three days, and his smiles were less contagious and stiffer than before. She didn't say anything, mostly because he was acting like nothing was wrong.
"Maybe you are becoming a real girl?"
"Oh shut up, you idiot!" She punched him gently on the shoulder.
His laughter died some seconds after that. His face became more serious and Artemis frowned.
"Why are you really here, Dick?" She finally asked.
"I told you, I have some news." He repeated, looking at the ground.
"Well, tell me what the news is already!" Artemis was not in the mood for dancing around subjects.
"It's about Wally."
Artemis froze. She forgot how to breathe and she found herself shaking. Her hands were shaking, and her eyes widened as her lungs started to ache with the effort of keeping her tears inside. How did…How did he find news about Wally? He was dead! D.E.A.D. He couldn't have any news about him, otherwise he found a new way to talk with dead people. She knew Dick was a genius, but not a crazy one.
Dick looked at her, and he continued when she didn't answer.
"I…I know it seems a little…crazy." His voice was shaking. He didn't, couldn't, control his emotions. It was overwhelming him, too much emotion at once. "But…But I found some…people, magicians, meta humans, who know what could happened when a speedster goes too fast. And that's what happened, right? Wally went too fast, but also too slow for his uncle and cousin. And…And I don't know how, how it's possible, but…I think he's stuck in another dimension. In a dimension only speedsters can access. Not dead. Just stuck, waiting for us to save him, for you to save him."
Artemis closed her eyes, trying to catch her breath. Could it be possible? Could it be that Wally was really alive, somewhere else? And not dead as she thought for months? Could she be with him again? Could she see him again, kiss him again, talk to him again? And yet, she tried to not have too much hope. After all, her luck hadn't been particularly abundant thus far.
"How…How could it even be possible?" She finally asked. "How…How?"
"I…I don't know. I really don't know, Artemis. But…there is hope."
"Hope for what? If he's stuck in another dimension, then he's all alone!"
"We can save him from this…dimension."
|SEPTEMBER 19, 23:06 EDT
Long, delicate fingers combed through his hair, and Tim closed his eyes wishing he could pause the moment and preserve it forever. His head was in his girlfriend's lap (girlfriend! He still couldn't believe it!), and they were currently watching a film that Cassie absolutely wanted to see. Tim didn't really like the film, but Cassie really wanted to watch it with him, so he couldn't refuse. Simply being with her was enough for him. He felt more than heard her giggle.
"What's going on?" He asked sleepily, his eyes still closed.
"Just the main celebrity who admitted his feelings for this girl!" She answered happily, enthusiasm in her voice. "They are so cute together, don't you think?"
"Mm? Yeah, very cute."
To be honest, he wasn't paying attention to the film. He didn't even know the name of the two personages that Cassie was talking about. As soon as they started the film, he was so tired that he closed his eyes. It didn't feel as if though he was missing anything, however. Cassie kept up a nonstop stream of commentary concerning every little detail of the movie. Tim loved how Cassie was crazy about all she did or saw.
"Tim! Look! They're about to kiss!"
Tim opened his eyes with difficulty as the blonde continued squirming around excitedly. He looked at the screen out of the corner of his eye. An ebony guy and a redheaded girl were facing each other, and the guy was busy with a long speech to express his feelings. It was raining, and their hair was wet and there was water on their skin but it seemed that they didn't care and suddenly, they were kissing each other passionately, half crying and half laughing.
Cliché, Tim thought, and totally unrealistic.
Cassie squeaked and he smiled as he closed his big blue eyes again. Never mind, he didn't care how dumb the movie was as long as she was happy.
"Isn't it beautiful?" She asked him, still smiling and her eyes glistening.
"Yes, really beautiful, Cassie." He said, staring up at her.
"Too bad that life is not like movie…" The blonde sighed, dreaming up some or other fantasy that most likely involved rain.
"Well, think about it. In the movie, they had to do millions of impossible things to get the girl, in real life, we don't have to go through all that unrealistic crap!" Tim reasoned. If he had to go through all of the random events the main characters of movies had been through, he would have been dead before he could talk to Cassie for the first time.
"But it would be so romantic!" She squealed.
"Hey! Am I not romantic?"
Cassie laughed. He loved her laugh, because it was so clear and contagious, and every time she laughed, he couldn't help but smile or laugh too. She leaned over him, still smiling. This time, his eyes were wide open.
"I think you are really romantic." She murmured, tucking a strand of golden hair behind her ear. "And handsome, and brilliant, and unique."
Her lips touched his. It was like billions of butterflies in his stomach, and he smiled against her mouth. Tim closed his eyes again, and happily returned the kiss. Cassie's kisses have always been gentle, and he liked when she was gentle. Because, beneath her strength of demi-godness, she was just a sweetheart, and he enjoyed the fact that he knew her beneath the mask of a hero.
When she broke the kiss, he couldn't stop smiling. He opened his eyes and their eyes met. Cassie smiled at him tenderly, and Tim thought his heart might burst with the effort of containing all the love he felt for her
"Tim? I think I lo-"
"The babies are coming!"
Barbara ran towards them, panting, her cellphone in her hands. Yet, she was smiling like this was the best day of her life. The two lovers looked at the redhead, and Cassie made a noise stuck between a shout and a squeal.
"Really?" She asked happily, and Tim quickly rolled from her lap as Cassie darted up. Sometimes she forgot her own strength, he though, as her knee bumped the modern coffee table and left a dent in the metal.
"Yes! We have to go now!"
Barbara already had her coat in her hands, and Cassandra ran to grab hers. Tim stood up slowly and made his way to his room to grab his. He had a feeling that a long night lay ahead, but he honestly didn't mind.
to be continued...