Everyone was transported to Chattanooga, in front of Tabitha’s childhood home. Two transports within minutes of each other was about enough Tabitha could take and made the decision that they would stay for a while! As her stomach settled, she swallowed back the lump caught in her throat from looking at the modest two-story home. Studying the surroundings proved that very little had changed in the four years since she last saw her family. There were the same two cars parked in the driveway; her father’s silver Cadillac Escalade and her mother’s Carolina blue Toyota Camry. The asphalt of the driveway was finally finished, she noticed, as well as the off-white siding on the house; her father had been busy. The smell of freshly cut grass let Tabitha know that her youngest brother, Terry still kept up with his chores. Jamila’s hand on her shoulder startled her.
“You can do it. We’re all right here with you.” she reassured. The professor looked behind her and instantly gave her children a warning glare. Her look softened as instead of the three hiding behind their father, they hid behind the Martian! He smiled down at the three.
“Remember: we’re all going to be on our best behavior.”
“Yes, sir…” the three said in unison. Tabitha took a deep breath and approached the door with the others behind her. She knocked on the door and it felt like an eternity before the door opened. A thin woman appeared, being eye-to-eye with Tabitha. Their eye color and the shape of their faces were nearly identical; the two had different features past that. The woman was a shade darker with her hair swept up in a loose dark brown bun with noticeable streaks of grey scattered throughout. Olivia Lyght took a step back and immediately covered her mouth with her hands. Tears had no problem streaking down to her cheeks.
“… Tabitha…” she managed before she gathered her daughter into her arms.
“Mom…” she managed through her own tears.
“Honey, who’s at the door?” a voice almost thundered through the hallway; it was enough to make Tabitha cry even more. Olivia gathered her composure somewhat and noticed that her daughter had others with her.
“Oh; where are my manners? Come in, come in…” her eyes automatically landed on the green man with the blue cape. She couldn’t say anything until the group were in the living room, “Tabby…” her mother eyed her. Before she could open her mouth, a man entered the room. It was then that the others saw who Tabitha really favored; she was the spitting image of Curtis Lyght with the exception of his soft grey eyes. He towered over everyone else with the exception of J’onn… and it wasn’t by much that he was taller than the human man. His off brown hair was cut short and muscles tried to bulge out of his comfortable white t-shirt.
There was only one thing that drew Mr. Lyght’s attention and that was his only daughter. His eyes moistened as he stared at her.
“Is that my baby girl?” his deep southern twang rang out. She immediately ran to him and they gave each other a tight squeeze.
“Daddy!” her tears continued to fall. He had to pull away to examine her.
“I’m so glad you’re back home; you ain’t changed a bit, honey! Well, you gotten a bit pudgy; what you been doing with yourself?” he lightly poked his daughter in her stomach, causing a series of snorts from the adults and an uproar of laughter from the children.
“Daddy…” Tabitha tried to warn, turning a slight shade of red. He gave his daughter another tight squeeze and his eyes finally landed on the strangers in his house.
“Who’s all this?” he actually stared J’onn down. Tabitha cleared her throat, thinking that the best way was to just be straight forward with the introductions.
“Uh, daddy… mom… this is…”
“Tabby!!” a young man’s voice was heard. As she turned around, she was immediately grabbed and twirled around, being lifted off her feet. She looked in amazement at the youngest of the Lyght children; the last time she had seen him, he was at her shoulders. Now that Terry Lyght was the same height as his older sister, the two could’ve passed for twins, “Oh, man; you’re finally home!! I gotta call Ty and tell… whoa!! Is that Martian Manhunter?!?!” he surprised everyone.
“You know who he is…?” Curtis asked his son. He glanced at his father and nodded.
“Are you kidding me?! He’s like only the best superhero there is in the Justice League!”
“Kiss ass…” Tabitha coughed, making her brother immediately push her.
“Justice League…?” their mother continued to look at the Martian, “You’re a… superhero?”
“… No offense but… what are you doing with my sister… wait…” Terry’s eyes widened. Everyone gave him a confused look except J’onn, who actually blushed slightly.
“Your sister and I are not dating.”
“Mr. J’onn and Miss Tabitha are boyfriend and girlfriend?!” Solonia widened her eyes at the two. The thought was enough for A.C. and Jamil to make disapproving faces and for Tabitha to give Solonia and Terry a bewildered look.
“… You make it sound like a bad thing…” J’onn surprised her even more. When she shot him the bewildered look, it was enough to put a smile on his face and to lighten the mood in the room as the others laughed. She blushed furiously.
“J-Just… can I talk to mom and daddy alone?! Take the triplets upstairs to your room!”
“What? What are they supposed to do up there? I ain’t got no toys for ‘em!” Terry told his sister. J’onn smirked and wondered if bad grammar simply ran in the family or if it was a southern thing; the professor (while not as big of a culprit as her best friend) spoke nearly the same way.
“You still watch wrestling?”
“… Yeah. Don’t tell me you do!”
“These three are avid fans…”
“Really? You guys ever heard of ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage?” he asked, taking the three upstairs. Everyone else sat down in the living room.
“You’re not gonna tell us that he saved you… are ya?” Curtis decided to break the ice. Tabitha bit her lip and sighed slightly.
“Actually… she did…” she pointed to Jamila, “This is doc… uh, Jamila and her husband, Albert. Guess… the only way to tell you everything is to just… tell you…” she decided and started her story. She told her parents everything, from the day the machine malfunctioned on her to her eventually making Watchtower her new home. She was glad that her parents sat and listened without interrupting her; something that was unusual for them, especially since they hadn’t seen their daughter in nearly four years.
As more tears welled up in her mother’s eyes, her father sat in his chair barely moving. He was seething; the general had the nerve to come to their home and tell them that their daughter was deployed over to Iraq. She had never been deployed before; had barely even left the state of Tennessee for that matter, but he knew something wasn’t right when she did not contact them at all. Their worst fears almost came to light when they heard of her best friend’s death in Memphis. Now that he listened to her speak, all of their questions were answered. It still didn’t make things right what General First did.
“That son-of-a-bitch!” he suddenly blurted out.
“Curtis!” her mother looked at him wide-eyed. He shook his head apologetically.
“I’m sorry. That damn general; waltzing in here and telling us nothing but lies…”
“There was no way he would’ve told us the truth; that he killed our baby…”
“Mom…” Tabitha lightly grumbled. She couldn’t help but look at her daughter. She knew that superheroes existed however she never paid much attention to them. Now to hear that her daughter was one of them… it was somewhat unbelievable.
“So… these powers of yours… do you still have them?” her question almost made Jamila cringe in her seat. She knew that she was supposed to have told Tabitha that she would never be normal again… she just never could find the heart or the time to tell her the news. J’onn gave her a slight look; had he known that her best friend couldn’t muster up the nerve to tell her, he would’ve done it himself the moment he found out.
She knew that her mother was the type of person that needed physical proof to believe in anything although she knew that her daughter would not make these things up. It made her slightly huff and immediately took off the t-shirt head wrap. Both parents gasped as she shrugged.
“Side effect of being struck by lightning twice…” she ran her hand through her thick hair, “So is this…” she stood, deciding to give her mother a full demonstration. She let the currents flow from her hands to her arms and made them travel all over her body before letting them dissipate. She had expected for her parents to gasp but not for it to echo. She abruptly looked towards the bottom of the stairs.
“She’s magic, she’s magic; Miss Tabitha’s magic!!”
“Oh, hell…” Jamila knew that her daughter was going to run and tell the others what she saw. Tabitha was right on her heels as the two women tried to catch the girl in time. When they walked into Terry’s room, Tabitha knew they were too late as the triplets bombarded her with excited eyes and jumbled up questions.
“Can you fly like Mr. J’onn?!”
“You know Superman and Spider-Man and Batman, too?!?!”
“Are you a superhero, too?!”
“A super heroine, baby…” Jamila tried to correct A.C.
“Do you fight crime with Mr. J’onn? Do you save the day? Were you sent to protect us?!”
“Now can we tell everyone that we know two superheroes?!”
“Guys, guys, guys, guys, GUYS!! Just… calm down for a sec, okay?” she kneeled down towards them, “Okay… yes, I’m a superhero… can it, doc!” she warned as Jamila opened her mouth, “I can kinda fly but not like Mr. J’onn…”
“Wait a sec… what?” Terry looked at his sister. She sighed and stood up.
“That’s the real reason why J’onn is here with me; I’m part of the Justice League, now…”
“Wait………. WHAT?!?! Shut up, Tabby… my sister is not in the Justice League for real!!”
“This don’t leave this house, Terry!” she sighed once more, “Alright. I’m gonna show you one time but you all gotta promise not to tell no one else!” she decided to give them a small demonstration. The triplets and her brother looked on in awe.
“Told you she was magic!” Solonia looked at her brothers. Tabitha looked at her brother, who was still staring at her.
“That… was… AWESOME! You gotta tell me your superhero name!”
“I had two, actually. When I was with Spider-Man…”
“YOU WERE WITH SPIDER-MAN?!?!?! I gotta sit down…” he actually sat down on his bed.
“… And Batman…”
“… I’m gonna pass out…” Terry put his head in his hands. Tabitha shook her head as Jamila laughed.
“Guess that’s gonna make four visitors to Watchtower, now!”