The New Titans: ‘Hoods, Chapter 2: Fatherhood

by Libbylawrence

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“The ‘hoods?” Wally West asked. “You mean the punks we just busted?”

Roy Harper shook his head. “Nope. The ‘hoods. Parenthood, fatherhood, et cetera. I am a parent of a bright, lovely little girl. I love her, and like I told Raven a while back, Lian has become the most important thing in my life. Each new day brings me a new lesson in life. She teaches me. I know I should be the one doing the Ward Cleaver bit, but she never ceases to amaze me. I guess I keep asking myself, ‘how did a foul-up like me get a wonderful child like her?'”

Dick Grayson said, “Roy, I can tell you from personal experience that taking on a child to raise on such short notice would be difficult for anyone. You’re not different from anyone else in such a situation.”

Wally said, “Hold it. Oh, you mean Jason.”

Dick nodded. “Right. When Jason Todd’s folks were killed by Killer Croc, I felt like he was my responsibility. They were my friends, and we had the circus in common. It all brought back memories of the way my folks died at the hands of Boss Zucco so many years ago. A circus boy was left an orphan due to crime. I felt like I had to step in and take care of him like Bruce did for me.”

Garth said, “I never knew you considered raising Jason.”

Dick said, “I did until Bruce offered to do it. I was relieved, in truth. Oh, Jason is a great kid and all, but I guess, like you, I didn’t feel ready for the role of father. I knew Bruce could handle it. I mean, he did it before with me.”

Roy said, “I can’t imagine life with Batman as the parent. Every item you owned had those little bat-labels on them.”

Dick smiled and said, “This from a guy who had an Arrowcave, an Arrowcar, an Arrowpla–“

Roy shook his head and raised one hand. “OK, OK, I get it. Ollie was sort of in bat-mode back then, too. Still, he and Bruce were nothing alike as guardians.”

“Bruce was the best father I could have had after my real one died,” Dick said. “He taught me so many things. Growing up as Robin was a blast. I know in recent years we grew apart and were somewhat estranged until not long ago, but for most of my youth, Bruce was all I could have wanted in a father and friend. That playboy image he cultivated was mostly an act.”

Wally grinned. “He really took you along on most of his evenings out, didn’t he?”

Dick laughed. “Yes. I was the only twelve-year-old around with a closet full of tuxedos and cummerbunds. We went to too many charity dinners. Luckily, guys like the Cluemaster crashed most of them.”

“Well, maybe that’s part of my problem with Lian,” said Roy. “Ollie was a great friend, until his own needs like his expanding social consciousness led him away on that road trip with Hal. I mean, even when he had money, he was always trying to use it to help others. Remember that boat I wanted? He made me look for a job to buy it. His heart was in the right place, but when I needed him, he was gone. I don’t want to be gone if Lian needs me. I’m afraid of following in his steps, for good or ill.”

Garth said, “Roy, your father Will was there for you, and so was Brave Bow.”

Roy nodded. “Right. Dad was a ranger. He tried to raise me alone after mom’s death. I guess single fatherhood is in my genes. He died when I was so little that I can’t use him as a guide. Brave Bow was a teacher like Bruce was to you, but even he had to pass me on to Ollie when he became ill. If I get sick or Trigon eats me alive or something, what happens to Lian? All that kind of thing has been going through my head for a while now.”

Wally said, “I know since I grew up in a Leave It to Beaver town with two parents who were always there for me, I can’t relate to your cases, but you two turned out fine. That makes me think that it doesn’t matter how many parents a child has or if the family unit is traditional or dedicated to an endless war on crime. Just kidding. What counts is that the child is loved and accepted. You got that covered.”

Roy said, “Hey, what about Barry? You really were closer to him than to your own dad. Maybe that means a child can grow up with other loving or mentoring adults in her life in addition to a parent and turn out fine. That’s the hint for you all to babysit when needed.”

Wally replied, “I actually feel a bit of guilt that I have always felt that closeness to Barry instead of to Dad. Still, it made my day when Dad told me he was proud of the man I had become. We all want that kind of parental acceptance. Poor Frances still doesn’t have it. Her mother thinks she’s a witch or something. “

Dick said, “Knowing Bruce was proud of me and respected me was something I always sought.”

Wally reached for a sandwich and nodded. “I felt the same way about Barry’s approval. The Flash was my hero before I ever met him or knew he was dating my own aunt.”

Roy said, “I admired G.A. before I met him, too. Brave Bow knew that and took me to the fair at Greenville when Green Arrow was awarding prizes. I wanted to impress him badly.”

Garth said, “Arthur and I became friends and partners out of need. He was alone. His brother was alienated from him. I had lost Thar and Berra and had no memory of them as my parents. The Idylists were shunned as undesirables by most Atlanteans. I was all alone until Aquaman found me. He became my hero and my world. When Black Manta forced him to choose between me and his own son, he did what he had to do. I was hurt. I may have been a so-called hero, but I was still hurt. We talked it out recently, and now he has Nautica. I think we know each other as adults now. Before we were just a kid and a hero. Now, we understand each other on a mature level.”

Roy stood up. “So, it may be normal for me to feel concerned about my performance as a dad. It may even be OK if I do the job in a nontraditional way. Still, I need to hire a full-time nanny for her, and I need to make arrangements for her safety if something happens to me. I also need to do something I’ve dreaded. I need to have a real talk with Jade.”

Dick said, “It’s the right thing to do. If we can help you, let us know.”

Garth nodded and said, “Lian is a special girl with a lot of friends.”

Wally grinned and said, “Plus, just think — she’ll grow up with the weirdest set of aunts and uncles this side of Tamaran or Atlantis!”

The End

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