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Here’s to the Months

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"Here's to the months that turned into years with the friends that turned into family."

— Unknown

Like most days, Donna is already up and about by the time Dick wakes up. He can easily hear her moving around in the kitchen, scraping a spatula across the metal of a pan. He's tempted to stay in bed longer, but the delicious smell of eggs, bacon, and sausage float into the bedroom. It's a very alluring reason not to, and so he rolls out of bed and follows the smell downstairs to the kitchen, snagging the fancy self-heating robe that Hasna and Sergio had gotten him a few years back as he walks by.

"Good morning," Donna greets when he steps into the room.

"As the sun shines, Don," he replies, wandering over to peer into the pan she's standing over. Sure enough, he's met with the eggs and sausage he'd smelled, and bacon sizzles in the next pan over.

Donna wraps him in her usual good morning hug, and Dick grins and hugs her back. No matter what he wears, he's always a little cold — an unfortunate side effect they were never able to fully get rid of — but Donna's hugs chase the chill away pretty well.

Dick sets the table while Donna finishes breakfast. The food is, of course, cooked to perfection; a nice benefit of being a couple centuries old. Even Dick, while capable but never amazing at it, has cooking down pat.

Donna had, very patiently, ate dozens of his more... interesting meals while he learned. He's grateful for it, but he could certainly have done with less teasing.

"Looks great," Dick says, pouring them each a glass of fresh milk.

It's not like either of them really need to eat — while it would be uncomfortable, their enhanced physiologies means they can go weeks before truly needing food — but it's nice to. Reminds them of their humanity. They're essentially immortal, but they're not gods.

"April 15, 2284," Dick says once they're seated, bringing up the date on his implants to double-check.

"April 15, 2284," Donna echoes.

It's a morning tradition they started sometime after crossing the one century threshold. After so long, it's easy to start losing track of time, letting the decades bleed into each other. Reminding each other of the date helps them stay grounded in the present day.

Of course, there are always days when history creeps up on them, and they lose themselves in memories of the past. Immortality is hard, but that's what the other one is here for.

If it weren't for Donna, Dick would've gone insane a long time ago, and he knows the same is true of Donna.

He grins at her across the table, and she grins back immediately. Outside, he can hear the animals moving about, the cows' hooves shuffling on the grass, the chickens clucking at each other, the horses clopping against the ground; knowing Donna, they've already been fed and taken care of. It's part of their usual routine: she handles the morning chores, and he does the evening ones.

Breakfast is quiet but companionable. Words are unnecessary when the two of them have known and lived together for so long. Their relationship isn't romantic, but they love each other as deeply as it's possible to love someone and then some. How lucky he is, he thinks to himself, to have found his platonic soulmate and get an eternity to spend with her.

"Right," Dick says twenty minutes later as the two wash the dishes. "The Harts' fence job is almost done; think I can finish it within an hour or so. Should be back by lunchtime, at the latest."

Donna glances toward the calendar hanging on the wall, dutifully kept up to date by them. "Don't forget, Hasna, Sergio, and their kids are planning on coming by for dinner today. Don't get distracted and miss them, or else I will give Petrina a metric ton of that new extra-sweet sugar and set her loose on you."

Dick mock-gasps. "Forget, me? Never!"

He has trouble remembering a lot of his family's names nowadays — there are just so many — but he'd never pass up the opportunity to see his favorite great-many-times-over grandnieces and grandnephew, no matter how many generations removed they are (just don't tell anyone he called them his favorite, okay? He and Donna can't have any official favorites. They love everyone in the family the same).

Donna laughs, and the sound follows Dick as he heads out the door and ambles along the packed-dirt pathway, ignoring the auto-cart parked by the barn. Sometimes he rides the auto-cart, but usually he prefers just walking wherever he needs to go. It's really only used whenever he or Donna take a trip to the nearby town store and need to bring back groceries.

When he reaches the front gate and starts down the road toward their neighbor's farm, he finds himself glancing at the sign standing proud and tall over the gate. The familiar Titans Acres is splashed across it in blue, gold, and silver paint, and it makes a warm sort of nostalgia stir in his chest.

It used to be the Kent farmstead, but the Kent line become a city family a long time ago. They're all over the city that used to be called Metropolis — the name got changed roughly sixty years ago, but Dick can't remember what to. It's hard enough keeping track of all his and Donna's extended family.

There'd been a fire way back in the early twenty-second century, devastating the farm. He and Donna had stepped forward to oversee the repairs, and it had been rebuilt under their watchful eyes. Somewhere along the line, the name officially changed to Titans Acres.

(Donna likes to claim that she's the one who coined the name, but she's lying. It was definitely Dick.)

He waves a greeting to Boris Hart, who's busy supervising his Robo-Growers. The auto-tractors trundle down the fields, carefully cultivating his crops. Boris jogs over to join him, leaving his machines to continue their work.

"As the sun shines, Dick!" Boris calls. "Here to finish the fence?"

"As the sun shines," he replies cheerfully. "Yeah, I'm almost done. I'd guess an hour of work left."

"Crash!" Boris exclaims, and Dick snorts.

"Crash? Didn't that go out of style a century ago?"

Boris shrugs. "I think it's heading on a roundabout. I hear Sal saying it all the time, and now Agnes is too. Kids, right?"

"Kids," Dick agrees.

Boris grins and heads back to his Robo-Growers, and Dick travels farther along until he reaches the patch of fence he's been working on for the past two days. Old age had cracked open the metal, and then some animal had managed to chew the exposed inside wiring. The result had knocked out the fence; when he first saw it, Dick had commented that the animal was lucky that the fences are low voltage. They're just meant to monitor any animals that might cross over it, after all.

For someone with as much experience as Dick, it's easy enough to fix once he has the repair parts — fortunately, he keeps a bundle of spare wires in his collection of other replacement parts, just in case. The work is simple, but delicate and time-consuming, which is why it's taking so long.

Dick doesn't mind, though. It's nice to be doing something helpful. He and Donna gave up vigilante work well over a century ago, essentially retiring to Titans Acres and leaving the hero-ing to the younger people, but part of them will always be members of the Titans. Comes with spending decades as a superhero.

"Thanks a billion for doing that for me," Boris says. "I just don't have the mechanical acumen."

Dick smiles. "It was no problem, Boris. I have loads of experience with that stuff, so give me a call if you need anything else."

Boris nods, not even slightly phased by Dick's old-fashioned turn of phrase. He's a great man, hard-working and friendly, and he's never once looked at Dick oddly for his appearance. Personally, Dick thinks Boris might have some of that Kent blood in him, but he's never researched the Harts' genealogy more than a couple generations back. A project for later, maybe. Boris's kids might be interested in that someday.

Dick waves a goodbye and starts back home. When he arrives, he finds Donna in the stables behind the house, grooming one of the horses. She glances up and smiles. Dick returns it, then wordlessly plops down beside her, rolls up his sleeves, and picks up a brush.

Their guests won't be here for another few hours, and the horses need grooming anyway. One of the many great things about living on a farm, Dick muses, not for the first time, is that even for one as self-sufficient as this one, there's always something more that could be done.

When the helicar touches down in the designated landing zone, a small, black-haired blur is the first out. His great-grandniece is grinning, as full of inexhaustible energy as always. They're not biologically related — though his family is huge, Dick hasn't been able to have kids of his own ever since he became immortal — but Donna often says that she gets it from him.

"Grandma D! Grandpa D!" Petrina Todd shouts.

She bounds toward them, and Dick, being closer, is the one to catch her in mid-air. He grunts dramatically and pretends to stagger sideways, and Petrina giggles.

"You're so big now, Trina!" he exclaims.

Petrina puffs out her chest. "I'm seven!"

"Seven?" he gasps. "Wow, you're practically an adult!"

"Wow!" Petrina echoes, likely not knowing what the old word means but latching onto it anyway.

Nearby, Donna has pulled Petrina's older sister, Lucine, into a hug. Dick puts Petrina down and wraps his arms around them both.

"Hi, Grandpa D," Lucine says and whoa, is she taller than him now?

"Hey there, Luce." Dick grins warmly and steps back, looking her up and down. "Would you look at that: you're taller than me now!"

Lucine blushes a little, but Donna smirks and says, "That's not saying much, honey."

Dick splutters and shoves her, much to the children's amusement. Donna just smiles serenely, pats him on the shoulder, and turns to wave at Hasna and Sergio as they finally step from the helicar.

"Don't worry, maybe you'll grow some more someday," she says over her shoulder, and Dick snorts.

"Hi, Grandma D," Sergio calls. "Hi, Grandpa D."

Hasna echoes the greetings, and they too each offer Dick and Donna a hug. Then all six of them head into the house, where Petrina immediately claims Donna's hand and attention.

"Grandma D! Grandma D! Look at this!" Petrina pulls out an electrosheet and begins flicking through her assortment of pictures — mostly shapeless blobs and stick figures, but very colorful nonetheless. Donna oohs and aahs over them as appropriate, and Petrina beams with pride in response. Apparently even kids are over plain old paper these days.

Dick grins at them, then turns to her parents. "Dinner will be ready in an hour. How was the flight over? Weather all good?"

"Weather was fine," Hasna says and nods toward Lucine. "Lucine here is taking a three-month class on how helicars work. You should hear some of the things she's talking about now!"

"I barely understand half of what she says," Sergio chuckles, who works as a geneticist specializing in marine biology.

"Really?" Dick leans in Lucine's direction. "That something you want to go into?"

She nods. "Aeromechanical engineering. Or astromechanical."

"If you ever need help with that, let me know. I'm sure I could give you some tips."

"Thanks, Grandpa D!"

Sergio shakes his head. "It seems like you know something about every single subject on the planet."

"Not every subject," Dick says with a laugh. "But between Grandma D and I, we certainly know a lot."

Donna glances up to offer her own nugget of wisdom: "You never stop learning."

"Not even when you're as old as we are," Dick agrees. "So how is everybody? I saw the League had another fight with — what are they calling themselves now? The Legion of Evil?"

"The Alliance of Evil," Sergio corrects.

"Very trite, if you ask me," Hasna comments.

"Uncle Ash calls them the Allyince of Ineppytude!" Petrina chimes in cheerfully.

Donna snorts. "Does he now?"

"Well, if Uncle Ash says it, then it must be true," Dick says. As both the current Flash and the leader of the Justice League, Ashton West probably has to face them on a weekly basis. He would know better than anyone how competent — or incompetent — they really are.

"What about Fatima?" asks Donna. "She's the Bat now, yes?"

"That's right," Hasna says. "Some difficulties making the switch, but Tivona, Basil, and Brina are all there to help her. And Lars, too, of course."

It takes Dick a moment before he can pair the names with their codenames. Tivona Todd, the Signal, the widely recognized daytime counterpart of the Bat, and Sergio's cousin. Basil and Brina Sandsmark-Rider, the siblings known as Flamebird and Nightwing. Lars Thomas, Oracle and one of the greatest hackers in the world. And of course, Fatima Wayne, the latest person to wear the cowl of the Bat.

The three of them chat for a bit, while Donna entertains Petrina. Lucine sinks back into the couch, and from the way her eyes are flicking back and forth, she's brought up a book on her implants. Before long, Sergio has once again drawn Dick and Hasna into a complex conversation about his recent research, passion shining in his eyes.

"And that's Grandpa D!" Petrina says, interrupting Sergio's explanation on the genome sequencing of some rare sea creature, and Dick glances over to see a vague blob with two yellow spots near where a head might be.

"A perfect likeness," Donna agrees, smirking at him.

Dick laughs. "Absolutely. It looks just like me, Trina. You're an amazing artist."

Petrina grins toothily, then jabs a finger at the yellow spots. "I wan' yellow eyes like you, Grandpa D!" Petrina declares.

No one, not even Dick, so much as bats an eye at her casual reference to his not-quite-human appearance. She doesn't know, of course, why his eyes are yellow; few do, and only Donna is aware of the full tale.

He once might have flinched. But that was two hundred years ago, and he's long since come to terms with how he gained his immortality. The Court of Owls did terrible things to him, changed him in irreversible ways, but they also gave him an eternity to spend with his best friend. An eternity to watch his family grow and flourish.

(It's not irreversible. Dick found the cure exactly one hundred forty-six years ago. He promptly destroyed both it and the research leading up to it. He and Donna are the only ones still alive from their time. He's not leaving her, not under any circumstances. It wasn't a cure for him anymore.

When he'd told Donna, she'd hugged him tightly, tears glimmering in the corners of her eyes. She didn't say anything; she didn't need to. He already knew.)

In any case, this is 2284. While he's still a Talon, they have figured out how to reduce the prominence of some of his more exotic features; by now, golden irises and faint black veins, while not exactly a common pairing, are far from the most eccentric appearances out there.

There's a celebrity in Old York City who colored his entire skin a vibrant shade of purple and gave himself neon yellow hair streaked through with ice-blue and hot pink. An interesting fashion statement, to be sure.

So Dick just grins and nods toward her parents. "Gotta ask your parents before any changes like that, Trina."

She turns hopeful eyes on Hasna and Sergio, and they smile patiently. "When you're older," Sergio says, for probably the thousandth time, and Petrina pouts.

"Adorable," Donna declares, and with the blink of an eye, sends a motion picture to Dick's implants. It layers over the real world, and he chuckles as the picture replays Petrina's face transforming into a pout.

Petrina's pout deepens, and she spends the next ten minutes protesting her perceived adorableness and declaring that she's a "super-duper strong superhero just like Cousin Tivona and super-duper strong superheroes should get to have yellow eyes so please Dad" until the timer beeps in the kitchen and Dick leaves to pull dinner from the oven, laughing the whole way.

That night, after their guests have departed for their own home in San Francisco, the two of them set about cleaning the house, followed by Dick going around and settling down the farm and animals for the night.

Then the two of them, by mutual, silent agreement, turn toward a room that once might've been intended to be a bedroom but has since been converted into a walk-in closet in order to begin the last part of their daily routine.

The journals.

The room has been transformed into a mini-library, shelves lining the walls and creating aisles down the room. Aside from the very front of the room, journals of all shapes and sizes are packed into every available inch — they usually just get whatever ones look sturdy and durable, with little regard to appearance. Aside from a small stack near the day, a name and date of birth are inscribed on the spine of every single journal.

"We might need to find another place to put them soon," Dick notes. Only a couple shelves are clear now, but with the rate their family can grow at, that's bound to change soon enough.

"I'm sure we can find somewhere," Donna says. "Maybe we should just build an entire library out in the fields. That'll give us a lot more room."

"An idea to consider," Dick agrees as he pulls out four journals labeled Sergio Todd, Hasna Todd, Lucine Todd, and Petrina Todd. Dick and Donna head back to the living room and settle on the couch, pens in hand.

Donna takes Sergio's journal, and Dick flips open Lucine's, finding the next available space. Hasna's and Petrina's are set to the side for the moment.

Dick jots down the date and adds his initials, then writes, 'Has started taking a class on the machinery and inner workings of helicars. Is thinking about going into aeromechanical or astromechanical engineering.

Dick pauses, tapping his chin and thinking about what else Lucine mentioned about herself that day. As he's doing that, Donna leans over and plucks Lucine's journal from his hand. Adding in her own note for the day, she narrates, "She... is... now... taller... than... Dick."

Dick snorts. Donna grins.

The two of them continue recounting the dinner, constantly switching the journals between themselves whenever they think of something to add. Partway through his commentary in Petrina's, Dick pauses, considering. Then he briefly returns to the shelves and finds Ashton West's journal. On the next blank page, he writes down 'April 15, 2284, DG — Has taken to calling the Alliance of Evil the Alliance of Ineptitude. Definitely a much more fitting name, if the news is anything to go by.'

"They just don't make villains like they used to," he sighs when Donna reads his entry and laughs. He shakes his head disappointedly.

The sun has long since set by the time Donna closes Hasna's journal . The clock reads 10:23 when Dick glances over, the numbers suffused in a gentle blue light. Donna rolls her neck in order to work out a crick and stands.

"I'm going to bed," she announces, and Dick waves a goodnight. She always goes to sleep before him; a penchant for staying up late is a side effect of being a Bat vigilante that's never fully gone away.

"See you in the morning," he says. "As the moon shines, Don."

"As the moon shines," she echoes and heads upstairs.

Dick adds in a couple more notes to Sergio's, then gathers up all the journals and slots them back into their spots. He tends to spend a couple hours reading on his implants before heading off to bed, but this time he pauses as he turns to leave the library. He glances over his shoulder at the rows of journals, and his gaze skips to the farthest corner, where he knows the very oldest of journals are kept.

After a moment's hesitation, he starts toward them. He doesn't often read through journals that date back more than fifty years from the present — too busy with keeping track of all the current-day people — but Dick's suddenly feeling nostalgic tonight.

His fingers trail lightly across the spines of countless journals as he walks. They hold the memories of centuries within them, hours upon hours upon hours curled up on the couch with Donna as they narrate their lives and interactions with each person. Each journal is recorded digitally, scanned by their implants and uploaded to an private database, but something about writing it all down with old-fashioned pen and paper makes it feel more real.

At the very back, a row of familiar names meet him. A collection of people who had been his world once. Every single one of them had passed on more than a century ago.

Damian Wayne. Garfield Logan. Rachel Roth. Timothy Drake. Stephanie Brown. Victor Stone. Jason Todd. Cassandra Cain. Duke Thomas. Wallace West. Princess Koriand'r. Barbara Gordon. Roy Harper. Bruce Wayne. Alfred Pennyworth.

After two-hundred-fifty-some years, his memories of his friends and family — the originals, so to speak — have gotten hazy. It's why he and Donna started the journals in the first place: they realized that they were forgetting things, little details slipping away one at a time.

Dick takes them in, his eyes drinking in the old names. It's hard to remember their faces, now. He has pictures of them all, and at a single thought can call them up on his implants, but without specific images... they all blur together. Old faces with new ones. The hundreds, thousands, millions of people he's known over the centuries.

He takes Bruce's, Jason's, Tim's, Damian's, and Cass's, then retreats to the living room again and starts reading.

A lot of the journals for people from that time were written posthumously, so the ones Dick are holding are more a collection of random anecdotes, notes about favorite foods and clothes, descriptions of the way they'd laugh or smile. It's nowhere near the same as having them back, but time has dulled the grief to where Dick can smile at the ancient words reminiscently but without tears.

He pulls up old pictures on the side of his vision as he reads, and his father, his brothers, his sister — his family— grin at him as he lets himself be lost in two hundred-year-old memories.

It's past midnight by the time Dick sets the journals aside, stretches, and stands to head to bed.

Donna is fast asleep, her soft snores filling the room, the blanket wrapped around her in a manner loosely reminiscent of a burrito. Dick snorts at the sight. As he slides in next to her and tugs some of the blanket back over to his side, she rolls toward him and, still sleeping, stretches out an arm to wrap around him and pull him closer. He lets her, curling into her warm and familiar form.

Immortality is hard. But as with all hard things in life, it's a lot easier with a friend.

"Good night, my Wonder Twin," Dick murmurs, and as he closes his eyes and drifts away into sleep, he's smiling.