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This story arc has been published as a novel!

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Time and Again

Ira Feldstein placed his nametag, keys, and wallet in the old glass candy dish on the table in the front hall. He retrieved the sticky note from the floor, found a roll of masking tape, and reattached the note to the lower edge of the mirror over the table. Hopefully, he couldn't help but see the "REMEMBER KEYS WALLET NAMETAG STOVE" as he left that evening.

"Good morning, Ira," Suzanne said as she emerged from the bedroom in suit and heels.

"Any change?" he asked his daughter-in-law.

She shook her head. "I made meatloaf last night. Leftovers in the fridge."

He thanked her and went to his room. As he changed out of his uniform, he thought that Suzanne was looking older, more worn around the edges. He thought he'd make something nice for her dinner tonight. Perhaps his mother's potato kugel.

"Have a good day, Ira," she said through his bedroom door. "Remember the new physical therapist is coming at 1. I should be home by 5 tonight."

"Okay," he said, opening the door and smiling at her. "It's no trouble if you want to take a couple hours for yourself, though. I don't have to be on the desk until 8."

"Thanks, Ira," she said, shaking her head. "I'm just so tired these days."

After Suzanne left, Ira went to the next room.

"Hello, son," he said as he entered. He stepped to the bedside and looked down at Joshua: craggy and wasted and peaceful, his tightly curled red hair starting to show some gray. Josh had opened his eyes sometime since Suzanne had checked on him. The first time it had happened so long ago, Ira and Suzanne had been mad with excitement. But then, as now, the searing blue eyes remained blank and sightless. Ira reached down and closed the lids gently. "Your eyes are just like your mother's," he said for perhaps the thousandth time.

Ira gently slid his arms under Josh's shoulders and knees and lifted. His strength wasn't what it once was, but it was enough to handle his son's tall frame. Poor little Suzanne used to wear herself out trying to haul him around. "Time for your bath, boy," he said.

Then there was the hospital johnny and the diaper and the feeding tube, and all the other messy morning things that Ira took care of. It was the least he could do, he felt, given the ridiculous hours Suzanne often had to work.

"You remember Maggie, Josh? The Amazon? The one who kept me from going into the Great Gulf after your mother. Well, her daughter of all people showed up at the Y last night, looking for a room." He lifted Josh out of the bath and dried him. "She's a fine-looking young woman. Same black hair and big dark eyes as her mother."

Ira got Josh into his usual bedwear and carried him back to the bedroom. "I think your mother would've liked her," he said, pulling the covers up over his son.

He sat down in the chair near the foot of the bed and leaned his head back. "I wonder if Maggie remembers your mother. Most of the others have forgotten her, with all the time twitches since the Gulf. And, hell," he said with a rueful laugh, "no one else at all remembers that the first Golden Guardian wasn't a man, so how can I expect them to remember my Tin Lizzie?"

Ira was still for a moment, then snorted. "I looked up your listing on the Hero History netsite last night. Do you know who they say took in the Godstuff and nearly killed you? Some fellow I never heard of named Skywraith. Nothing about one of your own teammates doing it, hardly anything about the fact that you stopped him from ripping apart the universe. In fact, there's no listing at all for the Iron Guardian. He hasn't existed now." He rubbed his face and temples.

"All this time shit gives me a headache." With a groan, Ira lurched to his feet. "Well, I'm going to get something to eat. There's always time for an old man to talk rubbish later."

Date: 2012-05-09 06:53 pm (UTC)
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From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Time shit! <3 Ira

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