“Ah, geez,” Roy Harper muttered to himself. “Come on shirt, don’t be like that. You’ve always been the reliable one in our relationship.”
Roy had been stuck with a cast on his leg for more than a few weeks, after getting injured trying to fight off Deathstroke the Terminator by himself.
Brave, but stupid.
Of course Roy managed to get more than a few hits on the supposed master assassin, so that was something to be proud of. And with him semi out of commission, that meant more time to spend with Lian without shunting her off on nannies and babysitters.
But it also meant he’d been stuck on monitor duty while everyone else was running around saving the world.
He tried to keep active, of course. He still had one good leg and his arms were fine, which meant target and archery practices were okay. And of course he got to play with Lian and Garth’s kid Cerdian. But that wasn’t as much exertion as Roy was used to, which meant, once the cast came off…
“Ugh. Roy Harper, you’re fat.”
The scruffy, green eyed redhead was standing in his room at Titans Tower and had been struggling to get one of his red shirts on, but to no avail. The shirt was riding up, his round belly exposed as it hung over the waistline of his blue jeans. After hearing a slight tearing noise, Roy uttered a cry of frustration and gave up the battle.
It was probably the donuts that started it.
“You just comin’ in, Wingster?” Roy, having been on monitor duty most of the evening while his daughter snoozed away and everyone else had a busy night life, asked as Nightwing trudged into the kitchen.
“Another late shift in Bludhaven,” Dick yawned. “And I gotta be back in Gotham.”
“Aww, Daddy giving you a hard time about staying out past your bedtime?” Roy joked about the stick that seemed perpetually lodged up Batman’s butt.
“Funny. Here, ” Dick had shoved an almost full box of donuts into Roy’s hands. “I wasn’t very hungry last night, so you can have them.”
“You leave any with the sprinkles?” Roy asked as he rummaged around finding a pastry to his liking.
“They all have sprinkles.”
“And that’s what keeps saving this marriage,” Roy joked as he chomped on a double chocolate glazed.
“Love you too, dear.”
And then let’s see, there was the pizza Wally left for me and Lian.
Roy was spending time with Lian in the living area, joining her in a round of coloring with one of the JLA books gifted to her by Uncle Superman.
"Daddy!" Lian looked and sounded appalled at the sight of her father's drawing. "You can't use purple on Grandpa Ollie!"
"Now Lian," Roy tsk-tsked, "It's my drawing and if I want your Grandpa Ollie to look like a prune, than it's my sacred right as an American to make him look like a prune."
"Well actually I was gonna say you should use eggplant instead of plum," Lian helped up a different crayon. "It'll bring out his eyes."
"Why didn't I think of that?" Roy wondered as he accepted the crayon from his daughter.
Just then, a large pizza box materialized out of nowhere on top of the coffee table where father and daughter were coloring. Tied to the top were paper plates and napkins. “’Thought you crazy kids might enjoy a snack, love Uncle Flashlight,’” Roy finished reading off the note taped on the box.
“Daddy, it doesn’t say ‘Uncle Flashlight!’” Lian laughed as she tried to grab the note from her dad.
“I’m embellishing, princess!” Roy laughed, playing keep away with his only child. Roy opened the box to see an extra large pie with extra cheese and extra pepperoni. The classic. “Want some?”
“Nah, we had pizza for lunch at school today,” Lian declined. "Besides I don’t like pepperoni.”
“Oh well, more for me," Roy greedily rubbed his hands together like an old cartoon prospector having struck gold.
"Daddy don't get sauce on my coloring book!" Lian cried as Roy ate straight from the box.
"Em ufin a saufe corored cwayon," Roy responded with his mouth full.
And the traditional Scottish breakfast Garth made.
“Oh hey Gillhead,” Roy hobbled into the kitchen on his crutches, seeing Garth at the stove working on something. Seated at the table in a high chair was Garth's infant son, Cerdian. The young Atlantean baby was playing with several plush toys shaped like different colored fish. "And good morning to Aquaman Jr. Jr."
“Roy!” Garth set a spatula down and wiped his hands on his apron. “I’m in a good mood, so I’ll let the Gillhead remark slide. I was about to make breakfast for me, Dolphin and Cerdian. Care to join us?”
“Oh, I already had a big breakfast with Lian before she left for school so I’m kinda-“
“Nonsense,” Garth led Roy by the shoulders and sat him down at the table next to Cerdian, who was flinging a stuffed octopus around by one of its legs. “I never get the chance to cook for anyone around here. And you can help keep an eye on Cerdian before Dolphin wakes up.”
“Well who can say no to an offer like that," Roy mused as he held up a stuffed clown fish in front of Cerdian. "Huh? Huh? You wanna be King of the Seas, little guy? Be a tough guy like your Uncle Roy and Grandpa Aquaman?" And Roy had to admit, whatever Garth was cooking smelled delicious. But as Cerdian cooed while Roy played with him, a thought occurred to Roy. "You’re not making haggis, are you?” Roy sounded worried since it was the only Scottish dish he was familiar with but was unsure if it was served at breakfast.
“Believe it or not they were all out of sheep stomachs at the grocery store,” Garth answered in a deadpan tone before he turned back to the pots and pans on the stove.
“Damn. Way to get our hopes up, huh Cerdian?” Roy turned back to his surrogate nephew and smiled. "Did you want your dad to make a nice sheep stomach?"
Oh and the cake from Donna.
Roy was in the monitor room, propped up in a chair and surrounded by snacks and a stack of comics he'd borrowed from Grant and forgot to return the last time Grant was in the Tower. He was nonplussed by the writing in "Justice Coven of America."
"Yeesh!" Roy slammed the issue down on the stack. "I don't know what this Johns guy's problem is, but the man shouldn't be allowed to write women."
"Knock knock," Donna sauntered into the monitor room carrying something behind her back. "How's my favorite marksman doing tonight?"
“Bored and disgusted for what passes for literature these days. How’s my favorite Wonder Woman doing?” Roy asked as Donna kissed him on the forehead. He saw she was hiding a box behind her.
“Well, I realized how dull it must be for you getting stuck here with that cast, so to say thanks for all your hard work I got you a little something. Ta-da!”
Donna revealed the box contained what appeared to be a triple layer cake decorated with the symbol he usually wore on his costume.
“Aw, babe, I don’t know what to say,” Roy tried to get up. “You shouldn’t have.”
“Pish. I enjoy doing nice stuff for you,” Donna took the cake out of the box. “It’s an ice cream cake.”
“A cake made of ice cream?” Roy whistled before breaking a stereotypical hillbilly voice. “Well golly! What’ll them thar scientists come up with next?”
I ate almost half an entire ice cream cake. No wonder I’ve got a gut.
Roy had tugged off the red shirt and tossed it back on his bed since it was clear he wouldn’t be able to get the entire thing on. He looked at himself in the bedroom mirror wearing just a pair of jeans and socks. He wondered how he hadn’t noticed until after the cast came off, how it didn’t occur to him that his costume was highlighting a new set of curves that weren’t there before.
He placed a hand on his bare chest. It was soft. Much softer than before.
God, I’ve got boobs.
“Well, they do seem perky.” Roy tried to console himself.
He examined his new belly, and felt a twinge when he realized his feet were obscured. His stomach was definitely too big to be called a beer gut, which was good in a way. He didn't want to look like one of those moron sitcom dads who'd given up on life. He patted his stomach and gave it a squeeze. It was soft, but there was some firmness to it. Round, but it didn’t look flabby. Hopefully that was because he still exercised even if he’d been snacking and lying around so much. But his belly button looked kind of squashed. No doubt about it, he'd sailed past "Chubby" and was definitely FAT. It was weird no longer having abs. It was something he hadn’t thought of before, since almost every guy in the superhero community sported eight pack abs even if they never exercised.
Maybe I can be a trendsetter or something. Oh yeah, kegs are definitely in this season! It’s all the rage in Milan!
Roy flexed both his arms, and was relieved to see the musculature hadn’t diminished or turned to flab. Just to be sure he gave himself a pinch. He sighed when his arm felt firm. Turning around, he flexed again and could see the reflection of his back and shoulder muscles still looked the same too…
At least I still have that going for me.
Except for the appearance of love handles and a butt that seemed surprisingly rounder than before.
Heh, I wonder if I can make Dick jealous.
Turning around he saw his thighs were meatier too.
Great, not only do I have love handles but I’ve got thunder thighs to match.
He rationalized he probably hadn’t put on THAT much weight, but whatever pounds he’d gained were simply noticeable because his frame was already rather large. All those years of using a bow had given him a broad back and shoulders. It was more apparent when he stood to the side from the way his gut stuck out. But he wasn’t ready to weigh himself on a scale. He didn’t want to see what the new number would be.
Roy cautiously stuck his head out of his room to see if anyone was in the hall before navigating down to the room Wally usually occupied when he stayed at the Tower. He knew Wally was taller than him, so maybe he could borrow a couple of shirts that still fit on his bigger frame. Unfortunately, all he came out with was a jersey adorned with the Flash’s symbol on it.
It was either that or that tacky Christmas sweater Wally had bought years before he married Linda.
Thankfully in the safety of his room, Roy was relieved to see the jersey fit, but didn’t do much to diminish his new girth.
“Thanks guys,” he said to himself, thinking of how his friends had fattened him up without him noticing.
What, did they think I’m not capable enough to feed myself AND my kid?
Roy inhaled and sucked his stomach in.
I’m a grown man, for God’s sake.
And then exhaled and let his gut out again.
…I guess a growing man would be more accurate.
He sighed again, and knew it wasn’t really their fault. He hadn’t protested as much, had he?
I should give ‘em a break, they’re probably just worried about me. Which is why Twinkletoes probably won’t mind if I borrow one of his shirts until I can go clothes shopping.
Roy stood closer to the mirror and began to examine his face, noticing there was a plumpness that was brand new as well.
Were my cheeks this round, though? Ugh, my chin’s so fat, too. He scratched his scruffy chin. Maybe if I grow out the soul patch into a beard no one’ll notice before I can-
“Daddy what’s for din-“
Roy jumped back and almost knocked over the mirror, having not heard Lian enter the room. The young black haired, green eyed girl (who looked a lot like her mother) seemed alarmed, and was suddenly anxiously checking the room to see what had startled her dad.
“What? What is it?! Is Mommy here?!” Lian looked under his bed, expecting to find her genocidal terrorist of a mom hiding among the crap Roy shoved beneath the mattress. “Did she break out of prison again?!”
“No! No. Sorry peanut,” Roy apologized. “You just spooked me.”
“I’m sorry.” Lian looked apologetic. “I thought nothing scared you, Daddy,” Lian said as she stood up and brushed some dust off her shirt.
“Lots of things scare me, honey,” Roy sighed as he sat down on the bed, listing off the things which terrified him. “Health insurance, the thought of anything bad happening to you, your mom coming after you again, Uncle Batman when he’s angry…”
“Am I scarier than Uncle Batman?” Lian asked as she put a hand on her father’s knee. He smiled and ruffled her hair.
“You’re a real terror, Lian,” He meant as a compliment.
“Yay!” Lian cheered. “I wanna strike fear in the hearts of criminals everywhere! The Joker, the Penguin, Killer Croc!”
Roy couldn’t help but laugh as Lian started doing karate poses like her favorite actor, Jackie Chan.
“You’ll have ‘im shaking in their boots, kiddo.”
“Bam! Pow! Smack!” Lian punched and kicked at the air before she started laughing. Roy laid back sprawled over the messy bed, and started staring up at the ceiling light when Lian clouded his vision.
“What’s wrong?” She asked, kneeling beside her dad’s head. “You look like Uncle Dick whenever he has to talk to his daddy on the phone.”
“It’s nothing, kiddo,” Roy sighed again, and puts his hands over his face. “I’m fat.” He confessed.
“Oh, I knew that,” Lian replied as she sprawled herself over her dad’s big midsection.
“You did?” Roy asked.
“Mmhmm! Why? Did you not know you were fat?” Lian wondered.
“You always were the observant one,” Roy chuckled.
“Nuh-uh. What about that time you saw me trying to sneak Rice Krispie Treats behind your back?” Lian began to make her own list. “Or the time I was gonna do William Tell with Cerdian? Or the-
“Awright, I get it. I’m very observant. And very fat.”
Lian crawled off her dad and sat on the bed next to him.
“Do you not wanna be?” Lian continued to ask as she poked his soft side. “Cuz I mean, whatever you wanna do is cool by me but I kinda like you better this way.”
“Really?” Roy was surprised to hear as he sat up. “You don’t think I’m gross or anything?”
“No way!” Lian tried to cheer him up. “You’re great to hug now that you’re all soft, and you make the best pillow. And you look like that big fluffy dog we saw at the pet store that one time!”
“I think I kinda look like Garfield now, peanut,” Roy mused rather ruefully as he patted his belly. “And I don’t even like lasagna.”
“Garfield’s a jerk, you’re much nicer than Garfield. He’s always mean to Jon,” Lian huffed, a small pout rising on her lips.
“I look weird though.”
“You look very handsome, and, um, rugged!” Lian clapped her hands. “You’ve still got lots of muscles. Like a wrestler or a mountain man! You’re very tough,” An imaginary light bulb lit up above Lian’s head. “You can even use your belly to fight crime!”
“Yeah, I can probably beat people with it,” Roy rolled his eyes.
“Well you CAN use anything as a weapon, right?” Lian reminded him. Roy couldn’t believe how supportive his kid was trying to sound. He was even starting to believe her.
“You’re not worried about a guy who’s gonna be called ‘The Fat Titan’ now?” Roy inquired.
“I’d rather they call you that then ‘The Titan Who Did Drugs,’” Lian seethed and looked genuinely upset. Her happy expression was replaced by a look of scrunched up anger. She hated people who insulted her dad just because he once had problems with drugs, like that’s all he was. “When they say that it’s because they wanna be mean, not like when Hoshimini and everyone at the reservation is just teasing you. Are you afraid people are gonna make fun of you?”
“Hate to break it to you Lian, but people already make fun of me,” Roy scratched the back of his head, acknowledging his reputation among the hero community wasn’t exactly stellar.
“Well if anyone does, I’ll tell them to stop being a bunch of buttheads!” Lian declared. “And then I’ll pop their clocks like Grandma Dinah taught me!”
“Even if it was Grandpa Ollie or Uncle Batman?” Roy replied, touched by his daughter’s sincerity.
“What do you think Grandpa Ollie would say to you?” Lian wondered as she folded her legs beneath her and kept all her attention on her dad.
Roy stood up from the bed and started doing an impression of his mentor and second foster dad.
“Well, if I know your Grandpa, he’d probably go,” Roy used his hands to mimic Ollie’s beard, “’Roy for God’s sake you have a responsibility as a father and a superhero to set a better example for proper eating habits. By getting out of shape you’re promoting obesity and the likelihood of diabetes and other such diseases in the impressionable minds of the world. You have to think of the children!’”
“Daddy, Grandpa Ollie doesn’t talk like that!” Lian giggled. Roy said nothing, but raised an eyebrow as if to ask if Lian really believed that. “Okay no, he does. But what would Uncle Batman say?”
Roy placed his hands by his head and mimicked bat ears.
“He’d say ‘You’re allowing yourself to become a liability in the war on crime and are a disgrace to the crimefighting community.’” Roy lowered his voice to a Batman growl. “’Instead of spending your time eating junk food and watching TV, you should’ve been on a steady diet of JUSTICE!”
“Hmmph, well Uncle Dick says Batman doesn’t take good care of himself so he can’t say anything,” Lian crossed her arms across her chest and scowled. “And you know what, maybe he gets Uncle Alfred to hide HIS belly in those suits.”
“You think?” Roy crouched down to Lian’s eye level.
“Yeah, because Uncle Alfred’s a really good cook. And don’t you think it’s weird you can rhyme ‘bat’ and ‘fat?’ Think about it,” Lian nodded in all seriousness, as if she’d exposed a grand conspiracy.
That was Roy’s limit and he started to laugh.
“You’re silly, Etai Yazi,” Roy scooped her up in his arms hugged her.
“No you’re silly!” Lian giggled.
“I’m silly and fat,” Roy kissed her forehead.
“And that’s why you’re awesome!” Lian cheered. “But I’d love ya even if you weren’t.”
“Hey, how is it you’re the one who makes me feel better when I’m the parent and you’re the kid?” Roy wondered.
“Well I’m happy if you’re happy, so if I’m making you happy that means you’re making me happy. Get it?” Lian asked.
“Not really,” Roy walked out of his room holding Lian in his arms. “But thanks.”
“Oh, I almost forgot, I wanted to ask what’re we gonna do for dinner?” Lian remembered the whole reason she looked for her dad.
“Dunno,” Roy answered. “How about the two of us go for a walk and we’ll figure something out in the city. I need to stretch my legs after getting stuck in that cast for so long. And I’m definitely gonna need to buy more shirts until I can lose some of this.”
“But not ALL of it, right?” Lian pouted a puppy dog pout. “I don’t wanna lose my favorite pillow.”
“Okay fine, just a little bit,” Roy gave in.
“You wanna ask Toni to come along with us? She knows a lot about buying clothes,” Lian suggested.
“I’d rather just spend more time with you, Etai Yazi,” Roy smiled down at her, genuinely feeling better than he had earlier.
“Okay, I’ll go get my jacket!” Lian jumped out of her dad’s arms and ran down the hall.
“And don’t run!” He called after her.
Lian hurried into her room and grabbed a red hooded sweatshirt. On her way out she bumped into her aunt Donna and uncle Dick.
“Whoa there, Speedy,” Dick chuckled as Lian ran into Donna’s legs, “Where’s the fire?”
Lian hugged both her surrogate aunt and uncle.
“Hi guys, me and daddy are going out for a walk and do some shopping before we have dinner tonight.” Lian started to get her sweatshirt over head but was starting to get tangled up.
“Daddy and I,” Donna corrected as she knelt down and helped straighten out Lian’s sweatshirt.
“Thanks Aunt Donna,” Lian smiled as she kissed her aunt on the cheek. “I’ll see you guys later.”
“Have fun, kiddo,” Donna stood up.
As Lian reached the other end of the hall, she turned around and shouted, “Oh, and if anyone has a problem with Daddy being fat, tell them I’m gonna pop their heads open!”
Donna and Dick exchanged confused looks with each other, wondering where that came from.
“Is Roy fat?” Dick asked Donna.
“You know I think he has put on a little weight,” Donna started to think back and remember. “It looks good on him though.”
“Oh and someone should tell Uncle Wally Daddy borrowed his shirt, bye!”