Roy paced back and forth. "This can't be happening." He stared at the bathroom door. "This can't be happening. And it's happening, and I'm the only one here. Ok. Arsenal. What do you do in this situation?" He looked down at his hands. "You PANIC. That's what you do! You PANIC!"
"Daddy?" Lian asked from inside the bathroom.
"Everything's ok, sweetheart. Just… gimme a minute." He ran a hand through his hair. "Gimma a minute to panic," he whispered.
Ok. There were girls who lived here. Right? Donna could help. He wished to God that Donna was here. She'd know what to do.
"I'll be right back, honey," he called through the bathroom door. "Just… hang tight."
He dashed off to her room and started tearing through her things. Any other time he'd be taking pleasure in this. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, he found a drawer of what he knew to be secret feminine things. He found a box of tampons. That seemed the least harmless. Then he thought about it…. "NO!" he cried out, throwing the box on the floor. It dumped out, and tampons rolled across the floor. No. He couldn't give those to Lian. The thought of her… and those… and… and…
Maybe he could call Cheshire. Maybe she could help him.
Finally he found 'feminine napkins.' They seemed harmless. He breathed a sigh of relief, and held a handful over his head in triumph. "Thankyouthankyouthankyou…"
He ran back down the hall, dropping pads along the way like Hansel leaving a bread trail.
"Lian, honey… I think I found a solution to our little problem…"
The bathroom door opened just a bit and a hand shot out of the crack in the door. She grabbed the handful from him. The door slammed shut again. "Thanks daddy, you're the best."
Alright. He'd taken something that had been a huge crisis and had gotten them through it. See? He was a good dad. He could do this stuff.
When she finally came out, Roy knew it wasn't over. There was such a look of… confusion in her eyes. "Um… Donna can talk to you when she gets home?" But Roy knew that wasn't going to cut it. "Honey, go sit on your bed. Gimme a minute. I'll be right behind you. Swear."
She nodded and obeyed. She was such a good kid. 'Ok, Harper. Don't screw this up,' he told himself. She's relying on you for something good, here. He took a few deep breaths. Maybe he could call Dick for moral support? What the hell did DICK know about doing this? He'd been raised by the Bat. Roy still swears that it was Kory that told Dick about the birds and the bees. And Dick had never done this with a girl before.
Maybe he could break Cheshire out of prison.
He rubbed his hands over his face. Ok. You can do this, Harper. He entered her room, a quiet, defeated man. "Ok, honey. I guess it's time we have a little talk. You know… birds and the bees type stuff."
Her sweet eleven year old eyes looked up at him with interest. Eleven! God! He couldn't believe they were doing this. It was too early for this stuff. He shoulda had like… two more years. Or four more years… Hell, he'd be happy NEVER going through this stuff with her.
"Ok." He chuckled a little. "Funny us meeting like this. Um… ok. Birds and bees. Well… umm… I guess I should say congratulations, cause you're a woman and stuff now."
Did he just do that? Did he just call his eleven year old a woman? Eating glass would be less painful than this.
"Really daddy? I don't feel any different…"
"Well… uh… um…" someone SAVE me! It's not too late to bust out Cheshire… "Anyways… what this means is… um.." oh god. What does it mean. Think of something, Roy you idiot! Come on. Say something… "That, uh. You can have babies and stuff now." Yeah.
Roy wanted to die. He wanted to crawl into a hole, and pull it in after him.
"Do I have to stop playing with my dolls?"
Roy let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "No. No. You can keep playing with those."
"So… what's this got to do with the birds and the bees?" Why did she always have to ask the tough questions, he though.
"So… ummm. Now that we talked about that… we can talk about where babies… come from. Oh God." Don't throw up, Roy. Then you'll really embarrass yourself in front of your kid.
"Where DO babies come from? I keep asking, and no one's telling."
"MOMMIES TUMMIES!" Roy blurted out before he could contain himself. This wasn't misdirection, Roy, you idiot! This was THE TALK.
"Haha. You're funny dad. So. Uh… how long's this supposed to last?"
"Like… and how often…"
Oh. Ok. "Umm.. dunno. Ask Aunt Donna. A week?" That sounded about right. "And… um. Every month." Now the second question was a question a guy could answer with certainty!
"So," Lian said, keeping him on track. "Where DO babies come from?"
Roy started chuckling. Before he could help it, it turned into a full blown laugh. He was having this conversation. He was having this conversation with this eleven year old woman-child person. Someone who, ten years ago, he'd put on his chest every night because it was the only way she'd fall asleep.
Suddenly he put his hands over his ears. "I can't do it!" he cried out. "I can't… I can't I can't I can't!" Roy was certain he was going to be sick. He rushed from the room and DID lose his lunch. Why was this happening?
What the hell did you think, Roy? That she'd stay a little kid forever? Damnit, why couldn't she have been a boy? Why couldn't he have had a kid with someone who wasn't an assassin, so she could be here to deal with this? And where the hell was Donna? Where the hell was anyone else in the entire world who could do this—someone that WASN'T him?
After he relieved himself of his stomach contents, he headed directly for the kitchen and began drinking. Not the case of beer Dick had just put in the fridge… no. He went straight for the whiskey. He didn't know who's whiskey it was… for all he knew it was Garths. But he was going to drink every last drop of it, and to hell with what anyone else said, did or thought.
When they found him, four hours later, he was sitting in the kitchen, staring at the wall. His hands were trembling, his eyes were glazed over. Donna was worried about him. Ever so gently, she took the shot glass out of Roy's hand, then moved the empty bottle off the table.
"What do you think happened?" she whispered to Dick.
"Dunno," he muttered back. "Roy," he said with authority. "Roy, what's wrong?"
Roy shuddered but continued staring forward. "Its happened," he said in a low, serious voice. "And… and you weren't here. Neither of you were here. You… you abandoned me."
"We went bowling, bowhead," Dick tried to say lightly, but it wasn't working. Roy looked like his whole world had shattered. "Where's Lian?"
"Dunno." Roy wanted another drink, suddenly.
"Stay here with him," Donna ordered Dick. "I'll check on her." And she flew off, quick as that.
"So… Roy. Whatever it is… like… We'll help you through it, man."
Roy covered his face with his hands. "Oh, God, Robbie… It was awful. We were… you know? In the training room. And… and she was shooting better than she was all week… Then she says she has to go to the bathroom…" Roy shuddered.
"Is she ok?"
That was it. Roy clammed up. He wouldn't talk any more about it.
Donna returned. She seemed to have a solemn air about her. Roy watched as she whispered in Dick's ear. Dick nodded once, then looked Roy in the eye. "Here. Drink this." He tossed Roy a 44 ouncer.
Roy nodded and obeyed.
Dick was indeed distraught to see his friend in such a state. Parents had been going though this for millennia, and had survived. It was difficult to see Roy in such a state. Well, Roy wasn't every other parent. He was Roy. And that was enough. Or not enough, as the case may be.