“Mom, mom!” A little boy of nine years old wearing a red hoodie with the Flash insignia on it ran up to Artemis as soon as the zeta tube dimmed down. Dick came in after him, furiously rubbing at his forearm.
Artemis knelt and tightly hugged her little boy before eyeing Dick curiously, "What happened this time?“
Dick glared at the olive-skinned red-head, "Soldering iron.”
The little boy pulled away and stared into his mother’s eyes, “But Uncle Richard said I could go all out during workshop.”
Dick raised an eyebrow and pouted, “I didn’t mean you could use your powers, kid.”
The boy stuck his tongue out at Dick. Artemis shook her head and smiled at her son, “You ready to go, Nelson?”
Nelson pulled away, “Yep, let me just grab my stuff.” He zipped off and came back with his green backpack in tow. “Ready!” he beamed.
Artemis ruffled his red locks, making him grin. She stood up and turned to Dick, “Thanks for helping him.”
“No, problem,” Dick walked towards them, and whispered to Artemis, “How was your lead?"
“The trail was cold,” she curtly replied. Artemis held out her hand to her son and he took it. The three of them walked towards the zeta tube, "Roy’s already at the manor with Lian. He said Damian’s already tried to run away five times.”
Nelson laughed heartily, even shaking his mother’s hand, “Damian’s so funny.”
Dick quickly raised both his eyebrows and stared at Nelson, "You’re the only person I know that thinks that.” They stopped in front of the zeta tube and Dick punched in the code for the manor, “Didn’t he stab you two months ago?”
Artemis tried not to flinch at the memory of her crying son clutching his bleeding leg and wailing about never being able to run again. Nelson’s laugh subsided into a chuckle. He waved one hand towards his uncle Grayson, dismissing his accusation and imitated Damian's demeanor, “Was but a scratch" then shrugged, "I heal fast anyway.” As they walked into the zeta tube Nelson stared beaming at his uncle, “I got him back though.”
“Oh?” Artemis inquired with a raised eyebrow. After a flash of light from the zeta, they stepped off the platform and into the Batcave, “What’d you do?”
Nelson let go of his mother’s hand and ran ahead before stopping in front of them, “I dropped him off in the middle of the Pacific,” he grinned in triumph. He watched his mother’s eyes widen, “Love you, mom. Catch ya later!” before he sped off into the manor in search of Damian and Lian. He didn’t hear his mother apologize to Dick and Dick assuring her it’s alright because Damian managed to swim back to the Californian coast.
Nelson zipped through the manor and stopped right next to Alfred in the kitchen, “Hey Alfie!”
Alfred stopped and stared at the boy, years in the manor have made him immune to any form of jump scares, “Hello, Mr. West.”
Nelson furrowed his brows at the old man carrying a tray of cookies, “That’s my dad.”
Alfred nodded, “My apologies,” and lowered the tray for the young speedster.
Nelson pulled up the end of his Flash hoodie to the tray and quickly swiped the cookies into his make-shift pouch, “Where’s Damian and Lian?” he asked.
Alfred sighed and pulled the tray away to put it on the counter, “In the sparring–” he felt Nelson zip off, “room,” he grumbled to himself before he turned back to the next batch in the oven.
Nelson tucked the cookies in with both hands as he sped into the sparring room. “Hey guys—“ He walked in on his uncle Roy shooting arrows at Damian while he dodged, “What are you doing?”
Lian turned to Nelson from the high bar she perched on, “Nel!” She jumped down and Nelson zipped towards her, “You’re late.” She instantly smelled the strong scent of cookies and pointed to his hoodie, “Are those from Alfie?”
Nelson grinned and nodded. Lian was about a year older than him and she towered over him, too. He opened his make-shift pouch and let her grab a cookie.
Damian dodged an arrow and took out his bow staff. He started to stalk towards Roy as he swat away every arrow he sent flying. Roy was backed into a wall when he ran out of arrows. Damian smirked before he hurled down his bow staff. Roy immediately saw this and stopped his staff with his bow. He let his bow collapse against the staff before he pulled on it and ripped the staff off of Damian’s grip.
Damian glared at him as he juggled the staff in his hand. Roy raised an eyebrow at him, “Didn’t you hear Lian say cookies?”
Damian clicked his tongue before he took his staff back. He retracted the staff and walked towards Lian and the waving speedster who handed all the cookies into Lian’s hands. Nelson sped to Damian’s right and left as he walked with him, “Hey, Damian.”
“West,” Damian replied. Damian was also a year older than Nelson but a month younger than Lian, and she never made him forget it, even with their similarity in height. Nelson was the youngest and shortest of the three of them.
Nelson pouted, “That’s my dad.”
They reached Lian and she immediately dumped a handful of cookies into Damian’s arms, “Enough greetings you two.” Lian was the eldest out of the three of them. She often took charge whenever the three of them were together. She turned to her waving dad who was about to leave the room. She waved at him and then smiled broadly at Damian and Nelson, “It’s time.”
Damian tuck his staff away in his pocket and held the cookies with both his hands, “For you to tell me why you’re here?”
Nelson and Lian grinned at each other and held hands before they grabbed Damian, “Happy anniversary, Damian!” Before Damian could react, Nelson sped off while clutching the two of them. Damian had been kidnapped by Nelson enough times that he knew better than to struggle while they ran.
They stopped in Damian’s room where Nelson quickly took out a projector from his backpack. He quickly set it up and the whole room was filled with a constellation of stars. “Woah..” Nelson was the first one to exclaim.
Lian was too busy watching Damian’s eyes widen at the stars on the ceiling. She bit her lips as his gaze explored the projected markings in his room, “Do you like it?” Damian quickly turned to Lian, waiting for an explanation. When Damian arrived at the manor, he was immediately acquainted with Nelson and Lian through Tim. “We thought you might be a little bit homesick,” she said sheepishly. “I asked mom what kind of constellations she saw on Infinity Island.” She turned towards Nelson who was still gaping at the ceiling, “and Nel made the projector.”
At the sound of his name, Nelson was suddenly beside them. He beamed at Damian, “So do you like it?”
Damian stared at Lian and Nelson. He wasn’t sure how to respond to either of them and so decided to just look back up at the stars on his ceiling. The two cousins smiled and high-fived each other.
The three of them laid on the carpeted floor with Damian in the middle. The cookies were nestled on his chest as the three of them used him as a temporary cookie platter. For that one night Damian didn’t mind the crumbs that Nelson and Lian dropped onto his floor.
“I’ve been thinking,” Lian said out loud, “Nelson West kind of sounds better than Nelson Crock, doesn’t it?” she asked without turning to either of them.
Damian furrowed his brow at Lian before he turned to Nelson. He was staring at the ceiling with a cookie suspended in his hand. He watched Nelson rest the cookie on his chest before he took a deep breath. “It sounds like a superhero name,” he whispered in awe.
Lian chuckled, “Silly, you are a superhero.” She turned to her side to look at them, “We’re all superheroes.” Damian raised an eyebrow at her and she smirked, “You’re a superhero, too, Damian Wayne.”
“I wasn’t doubting my lineage, Harper. I’m just wondering what qualifies you to be ‘super’?” Damian commented.
Nelson burst into his boisterous laugh, making him clutch his stomach. Lian pouted at Damian, “I’m plenty super, Damian.” Damian raised his eyebrows before he smiled. Nelson’s laugh started to become contagious and both of them joined in.
When the laughter slowly lifted, they found themselves staring back up at the ceiling. Nelson raised his hand up, feigning to catch the stars’ light, “When do you think they’ll let us join the team?” Nelson quickly remembered his father and his disappearance after the Reach Invasion. He thought about how his mom would go away every now and then, investigating any kind of influx of magnetic energy. “If they ever let us, I mean,” he mumbled.
Damian smirked, “I don’t need to join the team. I already run patrols with father.”
Nelson quickly sat up, “Yeah, but don’t you want our own team?” Lian and Damian slowly sat up. “Like Kid Flash and Artemis and Robin?” Nelson beamed at both of them, “Mom says it’s completely different from being someone’s sidekick.”
“I’m not a sidekick,” Damian replied. “I’m his partner,” he smirked.
Lian scoffed and playfully hit Damian’s back, “You sound like my dad.” This earned a mild laugh from Nelson, and a click of his tongue from Damian. Lian smiled at the two of them. The three of them were worlds apart but she could tell they were bound to be good friends and great heroes one day.
She crawled towards the space between Damian and Nelson and grabbed their shoulders, pulling them into a hug before falling onto the floor. The two boys raised eyebrows at each other while Lian laid on top of them. “For me,” she said as she squeezed their shoulders, “we’re already a team.”