This is my first Young Justice story. I haven't written in a long time, so it's not my best piece of work. I'm proud of it, though. It's slightly different than what I wanted it to be, but I like how it turned out. All in all, I'm satisfied.
Okay, now on to what the people want to hear. The synopsis is that Roy learns of the existence of his daughter Lian, and then the rest of the Arrows do. There's some hinted CheshirexRoy and Arrow family bonding.
It had all started when Cheshire broke into his apartment one night. Well actually, it had started months before then, but he didn't exactly want to talk about…that.
Roy had walked into to his living room to find Cheshire, Jade, sitting on his couch. Their reunion had been tense, to say the least. They hadn't exactly left on the best of terms. Nevertheless, he did oblige when she asked if he could come to her apartment. He was a hormonal nineteen year-old male. He was confused as to why she had an apartment in Star City, though, but he didn't question it. Once again, nineteen year-old male.
The place had been on a nicer part of town than his, but it wasn't much bigger. It wasn't furnished, either. The kitchen, dining room, and living room combined into one, creating an open feeling. There was a hallway leading to what he presumed were a bedroom, bathroom and closet. The door clicked behind him and she told him to take a look around. There wasn't much to see, until he entered the bedroom.
He froze upon seeing the crib, diaper changer and various other baby supplies. His legs seemed to mechanically move him to the crib on the wall. He looked in and saw a baby in a green onesie. Black hair adorned the top of its head, framing a chubby face. The child was blissfully asleep, oblivious to his presence. It looked to be three months old.
It had been a year since he had last seen Jade.
"Her name is Lian," Jade had said, wrapping her arms around his waist from behind him. "She's yours." Roy's world just stopped. His heart skipped a beat and he stopped breathing for a few seconds. He didn't faint or anything, he had some dignity.
Logically, it, she his mind reminded him, was his. Some part of him had known that the moment he saw her. Call it fatherly instinct, or whatever, but he had known. Even though she didn't look to have any of his features, a deep down part of him had known.
He was a father.
What was Ollie going to think? Actually, he didn't care what Ollie thought, what was Dinah going to think? They didn't know about him and Jade, nobody did. Well, they would now. At the moment, the kid seemed more of a liability than anything. It wasn't that he didn't like her or whatever, but he was nineteen. How could he support a child while trying to get through college? How could he go on doing his 'extra-curricular' activities with a baby?
Why was Jade even telling him about her? They hadn't parted at the best of terms. She could have easily kept his daughter from him or given her up for adoption. It wasn't that he wasn't glad she had told him, it was nice to know he had a kid, but why? She had so many secrets and having a baby is a huge one.
"Can I…?" he left the question hanging, hoping Jade would understand what he was trying to say. She did, her arms releasing him as she moved to pick the little girl up. Lian made a small noise of protest, but did not wake. Not until he held her in his arms. Then she finally stirred, yawning daintily. She opened her eyes. Emerald green orbs stared at him. She had his eye color. A small smile adorned her cute face when she saw him.
Roy Harper's entire world shattered in that moment.
And it was replaced by little Lian.
Now, he was sitting on the floor across from one of the deadliest mercenaries in the world, holding their infant daughter. Surrealism didn't even begin to cover it. The atmosphere was awkward. How did someone start a conversation in this situation? What did they ask?
"Does anyone know?" he quietly asked. It was as good a place to start as any.
"No," Jade whispered, "not even the League of Shadows." They were keeping the noise level to a minimum so Lian would go to sleep. So far it seemed to be working.
"That's good." Pause. "Why are you telling me about her? It's not that I'm not grateful, but you like your secrets. And Lian could easily be seen as a weakness, for either of us."
"That is why I want her to stay with you." Wait, what? With him?
"Me?" He looked at her incredulously. "I'm trying to get through school, why would you want her with me?" Jade sighed and looked away, then turned her face back to him. Her gaze burned into him.
"I am an assassin, Roy. I cannot just disappear to take care of a child. People would come after me, even my so called allies. They would use Lian as leverage, kill her if they must. I have no friends in this business, no one that I trust enough to guard her, see her even. You do." Jade let out a breath. She leaned over and placed a hand on his. "Please, Roy. I want my daughter safe and I saw that look in your eyes when you held her. You would die for her, kill for her. She is better off with you.
This apartment is about the same rent as your other one. Lian's things are already here. You just need to move your stuff. There is a reliable daycare around the corner and it is about the same distance from your college than your other place." Roy looked at her. She expected him to move, just like that? Admittedly, he liked this place better than his other one, but still. He had gotten out from under Ollie's thumb so others would stop making his decisions for him, like she was doing right now.
He saw how much it pained her to give up her daughter, though, even if she knew she was doing the right thing. Could he really move? Could he really care for a baby?
"Adoption is not an option, it never was. Too risky if anyone ever found out." Jade was pulling out all the stops to get him to agree to this. She was explaining to him her motivations for keeping Lian, even though he already had the same thoughts. She was practically begging him to take her. Could he really do this?
Yes, yes he could. He was going to raise his daughter. He would tell her stories of her beautiful mother, absent yet always protecting her, and the hero Robin Hood. He would teach her how to shoot an arrow. He would spoil her rotten. Most of all, he would be a better father to her than Ollie had ever been to him.
With the same determination that had shone through when he stormed out of the Hall of Justice, the same resolve he had when he quit, and the same courage from when he struck out on his own, Roy looked at Jade and said four words.
"I'll get my stuff."
One Month Later
The move had gone pretty well. The neighbors were nice. He had gotten a few weird looks because of his age and status as a single father, but he had expected that. Besides, the people in the apartments beside him had soon grown used to it. Some had even offered their services as babysitters. Going to public places like the grocery store was the hard part. It was a true test of patience not to punch the hundredth person who gave him and his daughter an odd look.
The first week had been rough at night. Lian had gotten his lungs and she could wail. He hadn't quite known which cries meant what then, but he had caught on pretty quick when she wanted a bottle or when she needed her diaper changed. Taking care of a baby was equally as draining as fighting crime. There was no adrenaline rush, just a lot of screaming.
The daycare place Jade had recommended wasn't half bad. They had lots of toys and other kids to play with. Lian was young enough that she had a person with her at all times unless she was in the closed off playpen or napping. The playpen even had chaperones.
When he had first gone in, he had been nervous. The secretary had asked him if he was Lian's father and he had replied with a cold yes. If they didn't like how young he was, he was going to leave. The lady had just smiled, asked him to fill out some paper work, and told him about their preschool program.
Surprisingly, Lian seemed to really like him. He had never been much of a kid person, and as far as he could tell the kids didn't care for him all that much, either. But Lian absolutely adored him. It warmed his heart in ways he never would have thought possible a month ago.
He had decided to quit the vigilante business for the time being. His daughter was much more important. Getting through college and being able to support her through a decent job were his main objectives. Everything else had taken a back seat.
That did not mean he was getting out of shape. He still regularly practiced archery and martial arts. Lian was in danger simply because of who her parents were. He was always on the lookout to see if someone entered the city that was a danger to her and for Ollie. He didn't know if the old man would deem him irresponsible and try to take his little girl, but he wasn't risking it. Actually, he was surprised, and slightly hurt, that Ollie hadn't noticed his former partner's household had gone from one to two. Dinah hadn't seemed to notice, either. He planned to keep it that way, though, for as long as he could.
Unfortunately, he had forgotten about other people.
Imagine his surprise when, going to get Lian a bottle, he noticed Batman standing in his living room. The only reason he hadn't attacked the man was because of the infant in his arms. He kept his cool, and started making the bottle. When he was done, he sat in the old rocking chair he had bought and began to feed his daughter.
"What do you want?" This guy had broken into his house in the middle of the night. Roy had reason to be short. Batman didn't reprimand him for his rudeness, so the man must have realized this.
"I ran a DNA test." Apparently, the Dark Knight was fine with bluntness, too. "She's yours." Roy decided not to ask where the man had gotten Lian's DNA. He didn't want to know.
"I know that," Roy snapped. The thought of Jade lying had never occurred to him. All of his doubts concerning her parentage had been swept away when Lian opened her eyes, if he had any. A startling thought gripped him. "You aren't going to take her away from me, are you?" The Bat wouldn't be against taking away his daughter if he felt the need. It was Saturday, so Robin was probably with the mini-League, oblivious as to what his mentor was up to, unable to stop him if he wanted.
"No." Roy breathed a sigh of relief. Lian was staring at Batman through droopy eyelids. She didn't seem to be scared. Not like he had been the moment before.
"Thank you," he said honestly. Batman fidgeted, and that was when Roy noticed the bag in his hand. "What's that?" The Bat went still and then opened the bag. The man showed him the contents. It was a coat he had been saving up to get Lian for the months he had been absent. It was a light pink color, with 'Daddy's Little Princess' embroidered in red on the back.
"Consider it a…belated baby shower gift." With that, he was gone, leaving the package on the floor. Roy moved on to burping Lian. Once she was done and had fallen back to sleep, he picked up the coat from the bag. He didn't notice the piece of paper that fell out of it until the next morning.
All it said was 'Good luck'.
Two Months Later
Roy had just put Lian to bed for the night. It had been an exciting few months. He had missed his daughter learning to roll over and wanted to make up for it. So, he was now teaching her to sit up. She was almost there, but he wasn't pushing her. She would do so when she was good and ready.
He had gotten used to being a father, as had the people around him. His neighbors often babysat when he needed some time to study with friends. They were more understanding then he could have ever hoped. A few of his professors actually knew he had a daughter. Fellow students knew he was a dad, but not many knew more than that. He didn't want the news getting around to Ollie. That included having Lian in daycare on the few days Dinah would have lunch with him.
He had once taken the blonde over to his apartment. She had been surprised by its cleanliness. Dinah had joked about 'if only you had kept your room this spotless'. She had even asked him why he kept the place clean. For a brief second, he seriously considered telling her that he had to keep it tidy for a baby. But she would tell Ollie. So, he made up some excuse about his landlord and made sure she went nowhere near his and Lian's room.
Roy hated being away from his daughter for too long. It made him more anxious than crime ever had. He remembered hearing parents talk about how they would die for their children on TV and such, but he didn't get it until now. He would do more than die for Lian; he would kill for her, just like Jade had said. He knew it and wasn't ashamed of it.
He returned to the living room to finish up the last bits of his homework, when he heard a knock. After making sure the baby monitor was on, he opened the door. Ollie, Dinah, and Artemis were the last people he had expected to see. Ollie's foot was the only thing that stopped him from slamming the door in their faces.
The older man had pushed into the room before Roy could stop him and the girls snuck in behind him. Glaring, Roy closed the door behind them. None of them seemed to notice the baby monitor, just all of his textbooks.
Dinah took a seat in the rocker, Artemis plopped down on the couch, and Ollie sat beside her. He stood to the side, unsure of what to do. He crushed his growing panic. Now would not be a good time for Lian to wake up.
"Wow, you do clean," Artemis commented scathingly, looking around lazily. His pulse raced when her eyes flittered over the area of the baby monitor. She didn't notice it, though. It was then he realized that comment was meant to make him angry. Pretending to respond as such was difficult when his biggest secret in the entire world was literally inches from being discovered.
"What do you want?" he grunted, deciding to completely ignore the remark. That choice only made Artemis mad.
"We can't even visit, really? We just want to see if you are on your feet." Ollie gave Artemis a look. She didn't have to fight his battles. Dinah gave her a look as well, but more of a 'keep your voice down' sort of thing. Canary would be a good grandma to Lian. Huh, Dinah a grandma. He could just see her making chocolate chip cookies with a pink apron. Not.
"You could just call." This seemed to really rile Artemis up. The teenager glared at him.
"Do have any idea how worried we have been for you? You haven't been active or contacted the team for months, which means Kid Flash and Robin are asking me if you are alright every time I see them. They are the most annoying things in existence! What right do you have to just disappear?" The teen had jumped off the couch. Her hands were on her hips, her voice rising.
"Quiet," he hissed, "or you'll wake-"
"I don't care about your neighbors!" Artemis shouted. Then the cries of a baby cut through the room. Everyone went absolutely silent. All that could be heard was Lian's screams.
"I wasn't talking about the neighbors," Roy growled. He marched into the hall and went to get his daughter. He entered the bedroom quietly, his anger melting away when he saw Lian's face. "Hey Princess, did the noise wake you up? Come on, Daddy's got you." He picked her up, knowing full well the others had heard him on the other monitor. He didn't care anymore.
He walked into the living room, Lian in his arms. Ollie's, Dinah's, and Artemis' stares were worse than those of the random people on the street. They knew him and yet they had just learned something that changed their entire view of him. Lian was going to change their world, just like she had changed his.
"Before you ask, she is my daughter, and her name is Lian," he told them, letting pride slip into his voice. He buried his fear of Ollie trying to take Lian away. The old man looked too stunned to do anything at the moment. Artemis had sat down again, her body rigid instead of its earlier relaxed posture.
"Who's the mother?" Of course Dinah was the first one to compose herself. He contemplated lying to them, but soon dismissed the idea. If Ollie ever discovered Cheshire's role in Lian's existence under worse circumstances than this, he might be inclined take her away. More than he was at the moment, anyway.
"Cheshire." Their responses were as he expected. Wide eyes and gaping mouths, with a hint of 'are you stupid/crazy'.
"Roy," Dinah was talking to him like he was a child. "Did you have any idea of the consequences when-"
"Dinah, with all due respect, I am holding the consequences of my actions in my arms, and I wouldn't trade her for the world." The truth in the statement shut her up. Her respect for him rose tremendously. Ollie and Artemis weren't as convinced. Both tried to rekindle the argument, but a look from Dinah stopped them before they had said a word.
"How long ago did this happen?" Ollie hesitantly ventured. He still wasn't sure how to act around Roy, especially now that he had a child.
"She's six months old. I've been caring for her for three months." He was purposely vague on when Lian had been conceived. That wasn't something he was ever going to talk about with Ollie.
"Three months," Dinah gasped. "You've managed to keep this from us for three months! I've been in here, how did you hide her then?" Ollie gave Dinah a betrayed look. She had been here and hadn't told him?
"There's a daycare nearby, she was there when you were here." Roy paused for a second. "By the way D, you're my emergency contact for Lian at the daycare." Dinah blinked and smirked. She knew Ollie would be extremely jealous when this all sunk in that Roy had made her his emergency contact instead of him. Artemis seemed to notice this too, judging from the sympathetic look she was giving her mentor.
"Look, Roy," Ollie was almost sweating, he was so uncomfortable. "Did you ever possibly think…about…adoption, maybe?" Ollie was fidgeting in his seat, as if he already knew how horribly Roy would interpret that question.
"No," the red-head's voice was frigid. "If I did that, if anyone ever discovered her, both Lian and her adoptive parents would be at risk. Besides, she's my responsibility. It's my choice whether or not to give her up, and I'm keeping her." Lian squirmed as Roy's anger mounted, she didn't like the tension at all. He took a deep breath, reminding himself right now was not the time for an argument. Or to let his fear of losing his daughter control him.
"May I hold her?" Dinah asked, diverting the subject to safer waters. Roy was thankful for it. He looked at the blonde in the rocking chair and decided that he could let his little girl go for a minute. Maybe she would fall asleep if Dinah rocked her.
"Sure," he passed Lian to her almost-grandmother. "Remember to support her head." Dinah gingerly took the baby. The child made a small noise of protest to being away from her daddy, but soon cooed at the attention she was getting from Dinah. The woman rubbed Lian's back, hoping it would make Lian less nervous to be around someone new. She might have just been upset that she was away from Roy, Dinah wasn't sure.
Roy sunk into the couch, sitting away from Ollie. He wasn't getting the rest of his work done with them there. Reaching over, he closed his textbook. Silence reigned over them for a while. Only the soft creaks of the rocker split the air.
Artemis was analyzing everyone, gauging their reactions to the situation. Ollie looked stunned, no surprise there. This trip had started out as a way for him to mend his relationship with Roy. It certainly hadn't ended that way. Hurt was mixed in with blatant shock on Ollie's face. He was upset that Roy hadn't told him about his new 'granddaughter'.
Dinah looked happy rather than angry. She was holding the baby, an adorable little girl. In her mind, this was something to celebrate. Maybe Lian would be the catalyst to bring their family back together.
Artemis was sorry that she had woken the infant. If she had known about Lian, she would have kept her voice down. But the girl was the daughter of Cheshire, a villain. How could Roy have been so stupid? Sleeping with a villain! But Lian didn't deserve to be punished for her parents' actions. Artemis of all people knew that.
Ollie… had no idea what to do. Roy, hot-headed Roy, was a father. And he didn't tell him. Admittedly, they weren't on the best of terms, but he would never do anything to hurt the kid. He had just been thinking about Roy when he suggested the adoption. Why the kid had gotten so defensive, he had no idea.
That moment, Ollie grew a brain.
The blonde man contemplated hitting himself. He had essentially told the red-head he didn't think the teen could take care of Lian. Roy probably thought Ollie wanted him to give up his daughter. His princess. Ollie didn't want that. Heck, Roy was probably doing a better job than he would have, even with college.
Roy's three guests composed themselves, adjusting to the new turn their lives had taken. This was not what they had expected to happen when they met with Roy. A confrontation, maybe, but not a baby. Lian's soft breathing could be heard, a signal that she she had dozed off. Realizing that soon they would be over staying their welcome, Artemis stood, shifting on her feet uncomfortably.
"Well," she cleared her throat, "I'm sorry for waking up Lian." Roy stood from his spot on the couch. Walking over to the rocker, he gently took the now asleep Lian from Dinah's arms. He would tell them about Batman the next time they came over.
"Don't worry about it," he sighed. "It's…it's about time you guys knew." His eyes swept over them. "Just, don't tell anyone about her, okay. I want to keep Lian out of the community for as long as I can." They all nodded solemnly. Roy could have his privacy, as long as they got to see the baby.
"I'm coming over next week," Dinah declared, standing from the rocker and assembling her things. "Lian had better be here."
"Sure, just call before you do." Roy playfully frowned at her, as if telling a child what they had done wrong. Dinah smiled. By this time, Ollie and Artemis were ready to head out the door. Dinah went out first, waving a goodbye. Artemis followed, not looking back. Ollie hesitated, pausing in the door frame.
"Roy…" he wavered. Gathering his wits, Ollie cleared his throat and gazed his ex-protégé directly in the eye. "I want you to know that I'm proud of you. You're doing a great job, better than I probably could have. Lian's in good hands. If you ever need anything, just give me a call." With more peace of mind than he'd had in a long time, Ollie left quickly to avoid more talking.
Roy turned his eyes to his blissfully asleep daughter when Ollie had gone. The blonde's words had not left him, though. After a minute, Roy looked to the door, listening to his daughter breathe, protected in his arms.
Constructive criticism is appreciated, much appreciated.
Originally, I was going to have Young Justice and the League find out about Lian at the end, but I didn't have the plot entirely figured out. So, I didn't include that portion. If anyone would like me to write that part as a second chapter, I would be happy to oblige. It might take a while, though, so be warned.
Thanks for reading and your support.