Ollie hung up the phone and flopped down into the sofa, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees before placing his head in his hands and closing his eyes..he had momentarily forgotten any worries he had over Connor and Mia taking the children out to lunch..The news he had just received pushed all other thoughts from his mind.
"Ollie?" Dinah asked gently as she sank into the chair beside him, she had known who was on the phone, and could guess from the parts of the conversation she had heard that the news wasn't what they'd hoped to hear.
"It's not going to happen Pretty Bird...That's it, it's all over." the Archer said, refusing to look up.
Dinah placed an arm across his shoulders in comfort. "What did he say Ollie?..There has to be a way?..We can't give up!."
"Ollie shook his head, sighing deeply before sitting back and wrapping his arms around her, pulling her against him and resting his cheek on her head. "Bruce found him..He found the guy that did this to Roy...He's dead Dinah!"
Dinah gasped and moved to look into the Archers eyes. "What?..How?"
"They think he killed himself..apparently the guys been loony for years." Ollie replied.
"Well that doesn't mean we won't find a way to change him back..If it was magic then eventually Zatanna might be able to ..."
"No you don't understand..Bruce has already spoken to Zee and she can't change it..Not now, not after what they've leaned about this guy..He didn't just use magic Pretty Bird..He was some sort of Meta..he had the power to delve into peoples subconsciousness and create some sort of illusions from their memories..."
"But what happened to Roy..that isn't an illusion."
"I know..This guy..he's spent years learning to use magic to enhance his powers..until he could create realities, not just illusions..Zee can't change it with magic because it wasn't just magic that caused it."
Dinah stared at the blonde bowman..her mind desperately trying to comprehend what she had just heard. "No" she whispered.
They sat in silence, arms wrapped around each other for a long time..each trying to come to terms with the news. Eventually Ollie swallowed and looked at her. "What are we gonna do?..Shit..two little kids under the age of six..and I stuffed things up so badly the first time around I..." he paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. "I don't want to fail the kid this time...I can't."
Dinah sat up straighter and placed a hand on his cheek, looking into his eyes and seeing the uncertainty and fear in them. "You won't..I know you won't, you've learnt a lot over the years Ollie and just the sheer fact alone that you can admit that you failed the first time will keep you from making the same mistake again...Besides, you were on your own then..but you aren't now."
Ollie watched her silently for a moment..his mind still reeling...he drew a deep calming breath and released it slowly. "You're right I'm not alone..I can do this..we can do this." he said firmly..attempting to reassure himself of that fact.
"Uncle Ollie!..Uncle Ollie!...We beated the bad guys..Boyo bited one and I banged him with my head." Lian's voice, shrill and piercing with excitement came flooding into the living room as the front door was opened.
"What!" Dinah cried as she leapt to her feet, catching the excited child as she leapt towards her.
"What's going on?" Ollie asked as Connor walked into the room behind the little girl.
"Well Dad..it's kind of a long story." he said.
Ollie's mouth dropped open as Mia entered the room..holding Roy in her arms..Ollie noticed the drops of blood that stained the little boys shirt..then he spotted a shaved patch of hair and what appeared to be stitches on the boy's head..He moved quickly to take the child from Mia..inspecting the wound carefully. "What the hell happened?..And there had better be a damned good explanation!." he growled.
"Well there is actually..you're never going to believe what went down." Mia replied as she launched into details of their unexpected adventures that afternoon.
"That's it..He's never leaving this house again..NEVER!" Ollie yelled after listening to the explanation.
The little boy in his arms jumped at his voice. "Bossman?" he said in a concerned voice.
"Ollie..don't you think you're going a little overboard?" Dinah asked calmly, as she reached out a hand to gently stroke the boy's cheek reassuringly..
"Overboard! He has two stitches in his head!..Two of them!..That's more than half his age for god's sake!" The Archer replied agitatedly.
"Dad I know it seems bad but..."
"Seem's bad! Connor it is bad..They could have been killed...They're only little kids and either one of them ..or both of them, might not be here now...Did ya even think about that?"
"Of course we did Ollie..Damn it I haven't stopped thinking about it all afternoon...We couldn't predict what happened, it was a freak thing..I mean what sorts of idiots rob a burger joint anyway when there's a frigin bank only three doors down?" Mia replied.
Ollie turned his back on the other three adults and looked down at the little boy who looked back up at him, his big green eyes radiating the confusion the archers reaction was causing him. "They coulda been killed." Ollie repeated, his voice quiet and full of the concern.
"But they weren't..and this sort of thing will probably never happen again..It's been a shock Ollie..I know you're worried, but try to calm down..They're fine, their okay...And you should be proud of them." Dinah said as she stood up and walked over behind the Archer to put a hand on his shoulder.
"Bited the bad guy's Bossman..see." the little boy said as he opened his moth and pointed to his teeth.
Ollie allowed himself a small chuckle. "Yeah..I guess there aren't many three and five year olds that would be willing to take on an armed man...Wait till I rub that one into Bat's smug face." he turned back towards the other's. "They're something special aren't they!" he declared, letting go of the fear and anger that had caused his agitated demeanour and relaxing.
"You can say that again..I figure all you need to do is dress them in matching costumes..stick a bow in their hands and call them the Little Arrow's..they'd make great sidekicks." Mia said, laughing at her own joke.
"Not funny Mia..not funny at all." Ollie grumbled half heartedly...kissing the boy's forehead and lowering him to the ground. "You..and.. you." he said, pointing to each of the children. "Are gonna get the biggest bowl of icecream you've ever received in your young lives." he finished..chuckling happily as Lian wriggled out of Dinah's arms and ran into the kitchen, cheering happily...followed closely by one happy little red headed boy.
I would say the end...but it won't be! (only for a little while)I'll be periodically updateing this with smaller parts in the furure..After all Roy has to meet Donna yet, and attend the JLA Christmas party, and spend the weekend with Bruce and Alfred, and Dick needs a shot at babysittig, and...well you get the idea! THANKS FOR READING.