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Antics of a Younger Crowd

By Triscribe

Humor

Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Kaldur was going over potential breeding arrangements for the fish hatchery when his front door was thrown open and a fuming Marian Grayson stomped into his house. Raising an eyebrow at the angry little six year old, he carefully set down the documents and mentally prepared himself for hearing about whatever had upset her.

“I don’t wanna go to Daddy’s stupid stinky family re-un-i-on.” Marian proclaimed, fists planted on her hips.

“You seemed happy about it a few days ago.” He pointed out to her.

“It’s in Gotham! I didn’t know it was all the way in stupid Gotham! We’ll have to be gone for a whole week! I’ll miss Eva’s birthday party!” Despite her apparent rage, the girl looked close to tears. Kaldur got to his feet, snagged a box of tissues off of the coffee table, and guided Marian over to the sofa.

“This would be your classmate who always brings decorated cupcakes to class for special occasions, yes?” He asked. The six year old sniffled and nodded, accepting the tissue he handed her. “Could you ask that one be saved for you?”

“...Maybe.”

Dick called about an hour later, sounding out of breath and more than a little panicked. “Is Marian at your place?”

“Yes. She’s playing upstairs with Tabitha.” The younger man let out a relieved sigh, before his tension returned.

“Okay. I’ll come by as quickly as I can to pick her up-”

“Richard. Did you realize how upset she was about the reunion being so far away?”

“...No? I mean, she was a lot less excited about it when I told her it would be in Gotham, but...”

Kaldur shook his head, perfectly aware that the other parent would know he was doing it even without being face to face. “Make sure to let her know there will be cupcakes.” Not sticking around for Dick to recover from his baffled silence, Kaldur hung up and turned to see his wife smirking at him from the kitchen doorway.

“Now why,” Raquel teased as she sauntered forward. “Would little Marian have come here to complain to you of all people, I wonder?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea. Although, the saying ‘the reward for a job well done is another job’ comes to mind, thanks to my old matchmaking efforts.” He sighed ruefully.

Now Raquel laughed outright, giving him a quick peck on the lips. “And what wonderful matches you made, love.”

“Mm.” He really couldn’t do anything but agree to that statement, even if the man was now worrying about the possibility of being a source of wisdom for all his friends’ children. Ah, well. Surely that wouldn't be the case... And at any rate, no amount of childish pestering could be as bad as the stress involved when getting their parents together in the first place.

At least, he hoped so.

-AYC-

Two nights after the Graysons left for the family reunion in Gotham, Kaldur answered a knock at his door, finding a concerned looking Conner on the front step. Welcoming the other man inside, and sensing that something was worrying his friend more than it should, Kaldur got them each a drink from the fridge before settling at the kitchen counter.

“It’s Calvin.” The dark haired man said bluntly when asked what the matter was. “He’s, well, apparently he’s been getting into fights at school.”

Kaldur blinked. “That hardly seems like him.” Auburn haired Calvin Kent took very much after his mother’s personality, being a sweet and helpful boy - as much as an active seven year old could be, at any rate. He and Kaldur’s daughter were in the same class together at Happy Harbor Elementary. “Would you like for me to inquire with Tabitha to see if she knows the reason?” Conner took a deep breath.

“That’s the thing, Kaldur... I think she’s the reason.”

Said child had come to the stairs when she heard her father answer the door. Upon seeing Mr. Kent coming into their house, Tabitha had felt a cold hand grip her insides. As she’d done for years whenever feeling upset, the girl retreated to her big brother’s room. The fifteen year old was gone for the night, to see a science exhibit with their mother that Tabitha had expressed no interest in going to.

Now she wished she had, just so as to postpone the inevitable.

Sure enough, not long after Mr. Kent’s arrival, she heard the front door open and close downstairs, followed by footsteps coming up. Tabitha slid herself underneath Amistad’s bed, eager to do anything she could to delay the coming conversation. It didn’t do that much good, though - her father’s footsteps returned from down the hall, where he’d clearly checked her room first, and they came straight in and towards the bed.

Tabitha watched as the bare feet paused, turned, and then were tucked under folded knees as her father sat down cross legged. He never said a word.

Watching in silence, Tabitha eventually decided that remaining in her hiding place was a lost cause. She might be even more stubborn than her mother, but Kaldur Ahm could out-wait anyone alive. With a sigh, the girl hauled herself out, and folded herself up beside her father. When she dared to look up at him, Tabitha got a shock - his gaze was pained and guilt-ridden, not the disappointment she’d been expecting.

“I take it they used words rather than fists?” Her father finally murmured, to which Tabitha nodded. Both her parents had been teaching her over the years how to defend herself from physical attack, but... Martial arts weren’t much good against kids who teased her over the pale color of her hair or the marine animals that decorated her clothes and backpack in abundance.

“I, I’m sorry, Daddy.” His head tilted in confusion.

“Whatever for, little pearl? Those bullies are to blame for this, not you.”

Inexplicably, tears started to roll down her cheeks as she explained. “B-because, I couldn’t make them stop, and Mrs. White didn’t believe me when I told her, so I didn’t again after the first time, but then Calvin kept getting in trouble when he’d yell at them to leave me alone and when he hit Georgie Godfrey-” By this point she was shaking as well as crying, despite her father wrapping the girl up in his strong embrace.

When Raquel and Amistad returned late that evening, they were surprised to find Kaldur comforting a distraught Tabitha in the middle of her brother’s bedroom floor. Even without having a clue of what had happened, the pair easily added themselves to the family huddle, until at last the bullied girl’s sobs came to a halt.

The next morning, Tabitha’s teacher Wendy White got a call from Kaldur, who calmly told the woman of what his daughter had been experiencing at the hands of her fellow students, and that Calvin Kent was only responsible for defending his friend. Relieved at receiving the explanation of two of her sweetest students’ recent behavior, the woman promised to properly reprimand the children responsible and inform their parents of the matter.

“That’s all I can ask.” Kaldur thanked her, before hanging up. “Now then...” He turned to stare down at the expectant seven year olds standing in the garage beside him. “We will begin with how to throw a proper punch, followed by a lesson in turning an insult back upon its deliverer. Understood?”

“Yes sir, Mr. Ahm!”

“Understood, Daddy!”

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