Dot and Arthur sat on the top of the picnic table, watching Walter play with the lobster babies. They had clambered into his lap and were now climbing him slowly while he waved his arms and pretended to be overwhelmed.
"Do you think the babies will keep Mom's grandmother urges satisfied for a while?" Dot asked.
"Has she started that already?"
"Not yet. I'm hoping she doesn't ever, but you never know."
They sat in silence for a while. "Have you thought much about if you want kids?"
"Not beyond 'oh god now would not be a good time.' Even in the future I think it'd be a hard sell. I maybe need some time to just have me to take care of."
Arthur snorted. "Which is why you're the registered partner of a homicidal lunatic who makes me look well-adjusted."
"He's not a lunatic," Dot replied mildly.
"And you're just partners."
"You and Tick are partners."
"We're not paaaart ners." He drew out the first syllable.
"So what if we are?" she asked, an edge to her tone.
"He's dangerous , Dot."
"Tick is seven feet tall, bulletproof, and can stop a bus. Walter is an ultra-elite, decorated AEGIS agent. I'm not seeing the difference." She could feel Arthur roll his eyes. The ultra-elite, decorated AEGIS agent was slowly toppling under the imagined weight of his attackers. "Look, you don't have to be his best friend, just don't be a dick, okay? I don't ask what you and Tick do because unless he really is hitting you, it's none of my business. Stop asking questions because if you irritate me enough I might start answering them." Arthur grumbled vaguely and looked away. "He's had a rough life too, some of it for the same reasons we did. Cut him some slack." Walter was now flat on his back and covered in lobster babies, who were waving their claws in unison and singing their victory.
Dot's phone dinged with a text from Overkill. Replying to it was a good excuse to ignore Arthur for a moment. The conversation turned into several texts back and forth and then she realized Arthur was watching her. She met his eyes. " What now ?"
He smirked. "Dot's got a boyfriend," he sing-songed, and she cuffed him on the shoulder.
"You were just giving me shit about it thirty seconds ago, and now this?"
"You told me to stop giving you shit so now I'm just going to be your little brother. Dot and Overkill sitting in a tree--" She swung at him again but he dodged it and took off for the house with her in hot pursuit.