Story Time With Ariel Horn

Happy Whelmed Wednesday everyone! ... er, Thursday! Sorry, but if you haven't seen yet, Harley Quinn made some HUGE waves in the DC Universe yesterday that called our attention over to our sister site! Be sure to check it out if you are a fan of a more adult take on DC animation! For today's Whelmed *ahem Thursday, we are going to share an original story by our very own, Ariel Horn. This was at the behest of Tumblr user Batisshadow. She requested this short piece in honor of Zeno Robinson's birthday. We hope you enjoy!

Vic had known about the party for weeks.

How could he not have? Both the Team and the Outsiders seemed to have forgotten that Vic could read their electronic communications. It’s not like he wanted to read them. At first, he’d tried to stop it, but the messages came up in his vision anyway. When he got bored, he read them for fun. One secret Facebook event, three Whatsapp groups and a plethora of random texts made for plenty of entertainment. 

Violet had originally offered to make a cake (with Lian’s help), but Cassie gently shut that down by reminding her of the eggshell incident. Vic appreciated the sentiment, but he knew he would appreciate an eggshell free, store-bought cake even more. Bart, Jaime and Ed were all over decorations, having visited several stores all over the country to find exactly what they needed. Cassie was bringing balloons, and Forager was tasked with distracting him even more than he usually did. Oddly enough, it wasn’t as annoying as Vic had thought it would be; he had a soft spot for the bug. 

He perused the final messages upon waking on his nineteenth birthday. Everything was a go; Tara was buying the cake, decorating was well underway on the floor below his bedroom, and Forager would be arriving at precisely 10:56 to engage in the ‘delightful new Earthling habit’ known as brunch. Despite the smile on his face, Vic couldn’t help the dread from seeping into his stomach. 

This was his nineteenth birthday. A year ago, Vic had been on the fast-track to a football scholarship. If the accident hadn't happened, he’d probably be in college right now, waking up in a far-too-small dorm room. The longing, the regret were all too familiar to him, and no matter how many therapy sessions he had with Dinah, or Miss M., he couldn’t get rid of them entirely. 

Groaning, Vic covered his eyes and vainly tried to press the images out of his brain with calloused fingers. This was supposed to be a good day. He didn’t want the negative thoughts to intrude today, not on his birthday. 

Lucky for him, a distraction arrived by way of a phone call. Vic leaned to the side, grabbing his phone from the bedside table and fighting back the instinct to groan; old habits were hard to get rid of. 

“Hey, Dad."

“Happy Birthday, Son.” From the whirring and constant clicking on the other end, Vic could tell his father was deep in his work. Still, he’d called, so that was something. 

“Thanks. It’s the big one-nine, so that’s… special, right?” 

“I suppose.” Frantic clicking followed, and though Vic appreciated the gesture of the phone call, it was obvious that his father was very much distracted. “I took the evening off. Do you want to have dinner together?” 

Well, color him surprised. Vic crossed his legs beneath him as he nodded. “There’s that Korean place not too far from the house. Maybe we could go there?” While he very much enjoyed the company of his new friends, a surprising number of them were not adventurous eaters. Forager would eat anything, but there was only so much time he could spend with him. It would be nice to go back home for a few hours, catch up with his dad.

“Alright. Do your friends have anything planned for you today?”

“They’re throwing me a surprise party.” 

Vic fought hard to keep from smiling when he heard a chuckle on the other line. “Son, at some point today, please take some time to look up the meaning of the word ‘surprise’.” 

“Will do. See you tonight?" 

“Seven PM. I’ll be waiting at home.” 

“Dude, I said the balloons go on the other side,” Jaime growled, holding his hands out to the correct location for emphasis. 

Bart’s eyes followed his hands, nodded a couple of times in thought, and ultimately continued placing the balloons where he saw fit. “Noted, Amigo. But, given that you have no sense of design, I have chosen to ignore you.” Before Jaime could even think of another response, Bart sped through the rest of the balloon setup, admiring his handiwork with his hands resting on his hips. 


“I’ll say,” Ed balked, returning to the room with an armful of colorful streamer rolls. “You hardly left anything to do.” The pout he wore melted as soon as Bart’s arms were around him and vanished completely when he kissed his cheek. 

Out of respect, Jaime averted his eyes, but he couldn’t deny that the two were cute. “We should have put Bart on another task. He’s such a decorating hog.”

“At least he has vision,” Ed said with a shrug, prompting a shit-eating grin from his boyfriend and a groan from Jaime. “Here,” he tossed the streamers to Jaime with a wink. “Go loco.” 

“Are you kidding? He’ll totally mess up the balance of the room,” Bart scoffed, glaring at Ed. “The streamers should go around the ceiling in alternating patterns, twisted and not just thrown around all nuts. This is so not crash,” he continued as Ed took his arm and tugged him out of the room, passing both Cassie and Tara who came with the remainder of the supplies. 

“Need help?”

“Only if you promise not to criticize. Am I really that bad?” 

“Don’t take it personally. Bart is just… passionate,” Cassie waved off, taking a roll of streamers from Jaime and flying up to the ceiling to tape it up. 

“Too passionate. It’s just a party. We have parties all the time, for the dumbest reasons.” He wasn’t wrong. Both the Outsiders and the Team really enjoyed celebrating. Any occasion or accomplishment was reason enough to break out the helium tank and order a mountain of pizzas. 

Cassie hummed, continuing to put up the streamers. “Yeah… but this is an important occasion. I think we all just want to make sure Vic likes it, you know?”

She had a point. Jaime nodded, tossing her another roll when she extended her hand. “I know. I’m sure he’ll like it, though. Did you see the cake Gar brought?”

“Not yet. Is it in the fridge?”

“Oh yeah. Remember the picture we took of Vic after the mission at the cupcake store?” The mission in question had been a simple one, just stopping a quiet heist, and yet all of them had ended up covered in frosting. 

Cassie chuckled. “Don’t tell me. He got it printed on the cake?”

“Hell yeah,” Gar chimed from the kitchen, poking out his head to glance at the decorations. “Nice setup. Bart?”


“So crash.”

“Forager did not think that he could like pancakes any more than Forager did, but the banana pancakes with caramel and that white powder--”

“Powdered sugar. Not white powder,” Vic sighed. The last thing he needed was Forager going around and telling people he ingested things covered in white powder. 

Forager grumbled, clicking his usual noises before nodding in agreement. “Powdered sugar is most excellent.”

“The pancakes were pretty good.” Vic stuck his hands in his pocket as they walked back to the premiere building. He knew everyone would be gathered in the hub, just waiting to surprise him. Would he be bale to act surprised? The last thing he wanted to do was spoil the fun. 

“Victor Stone--” Forager paused before correcting himself. “Vic has been quiet. Quieter than Vic usually is. Is something wrong?” 

Right. Of course the bug would be able to sense something was up. “No, not really,” Vic sighed, stretching his hands behind his head and waiting until he heard a satisfying ‘pop’ before continuing. “It’s just… my first birthday since becoming this, you know?”

Forager clicked again, making a few thoughtful sounding noises. “Is Vic not happy?”

“I wouldn’t say that.” Vic was happy. Granted, this wasn’t the ideal situation. Some days he still wished that he had his old life back. He missed playing football with his friends, going out on the town without everyone staring at him. Some days, he even missed going to High School. Yet… he wasn’t unhappy. He had new friends now. A team, a cause to fight for. Really cool abilities. All in all, it wasn’t so bad. 

“Forager does not understand.”

“To tell you the truth, sometimes Victor doesn’t either,” Vic chuckled, shooting the bug a grin. They paused by the entry to the Premiere building, nodding to the doorman as Vic pulled out his keys. The elevator ride was always long, but today he didn’t mind it. He had a room full of friends waiting for him. 

When the elevator opened, he no longer felt frustrated, or annoyed with himself. Instead, he tried his best to muster up the feelings of surprise. 

Let us know what you thought of the story in the comments below and in the forum!

Eric Johnston
Author: Eric JohnstonWebsite: https://youngjustice.tvEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Executive Editor/Owner
About the Author
Eric is the primary author for He has been covering Young Justice show since 2018, but been a fan since the show debuted. "Totally feeling the 'aster."

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