Originally, Lian stopping halfway down the aisle in Part Three was a longer drawn out thing, but I ended up scaling it back for pacing reasons (as I added more of Damian and Lian throughout the rest of the piece). I still thought that this was a cute little exchange though, and after some encouragement from another person who shall remain unnamed for the moment because I don't know if they would mind me bringing attention to them or not, I decided to go ahead and post it (after a little bit of editing and lengthening). It's short—only a couple of pages—but it is largely fluff.
"Alright," Dick was pulled out of his own head by Damian's sigh. "On with you, then."
Lian's first few steps down the aisle had gone just fine. She'd been too absorbed in her conversation with Damian and the laugh that was trilling past her lips to notice Damian turning her around and pushing her through the barrier and down the first couple of steps of the aisle. She was looking back over her shoulder at Damian and Dick as she took the next couple on her own, so she still hadn't realized what was going on. It was only after she'd turned around and straightened herself that she'd seen all of the people gathered around—really around, and not just a little ways off behind the barrier of the archway—and she froze in her tracks with her little basket of white rose petals clutched to her chest.
"Go on," Damian motioned toward the altar with a semi-reassuring smile, and Lian followed his gaze back down to the front for a second—looking between her Wally and her Grand-Ollie—before she turned back to Damian and Dick with tears in her eyes and a shake of her head.
"It's okay, Lian—Daddy and Uncle Jay-Jay on the other side," Dick encouraged softly, making a small "shoo-ing" gesture with his hands as he did so. "It's safe."
"No!" the tears welled farther in Lian's eyes, and Dick closed his own and tensed in preparation for the temper tantrum or the train wreck that was about to happen—but to his surprise, neither one came, and instead he opened his eyes back up to see Damian settling Lian back on to his hip.
"Why are you crying?" Dick smiled as he watched Damian crane his neck down to be on level with Lian as the little girl sniffed and wiped at her wet eyes. "What is wrong?"
"I'm scared," Lian whispered in the same quiet voice that Damian had used, and Dick thanked the years of training that allowed him to decipher what the two were saying. "Too many people."
"There's no need to be scared," Damian soothed, as he shifted Lian's weight to one arm so that he could use the other hand to reach up and push some of her hair back out of her face. "Uncle Dickie and Great-Grandpa Alfred and I are right behind you, and Daddy would never let you go somewhere you were not safe. You trust your Daddy—do you not?"
It took a moment, but, "Yes."
Lian nodded her head as she blinked her eyes.
"Exactly," Damian smiled, and so did Dick. "So, you have nothing to fear. Besides—there's no time to cry! We have an aisle that needs to be covered in flowers, Flower Girl!"
"I'm not Flower Girl!" Lian's tiny eyebrows furrowed in confusion as her head cocked to the side in a mannerism she got from both her father and her mother.
"What?" Damian feigned shock with a gasp, as he pulled back from the girl a tad. "You are not the famous Flower Girl? Then why are you wearing her outfit, you imposter?"
"This is Flower Girl's costume?" Lian completely missed the joke as she looked down at her dress in surprise.
"It is!" bless Damian's heart, he took Lian's reaction in stride and rolled with it. "And you know what? She is the smartest, bravest hero I know, and even if you are not her, she would not have let you wear her dress unless you were worthy of being a hero, too."
"You really think that?" Lian looked up at Damian with a skeptical look in her eyes.
"I do," Damian nodded his head.
"But…but, I'm still scared," Lian played absently with a button on Damian's shirt and refused to meet Damian's eyes.
"And why is that?" Damian asked patiently.
"Cause…everybody's watching me," Lian admitted as her cheeks colored in embarrassment, sounding a little put out that Damian had been able to wheedle the answer out of her so easily. "What if there's a bad guy here? How am I supposed to fight them and not reveal my secret iden-ity if I'm too busy walking down to Uncle Jay-Jay and Daddy?"
"Hmm, you make a good point, Lian—"
"Flower Girl!" Lian corrected, emphatically.
"Ah, yes, how I could forget?" Damian nodded his head sagely. "You make a good point, Flower Girl. How about this—how about you focus on the flowers and getting everything all pretty for Uncle Dickie to come down the aisle, and I will call in a favor to Robin and have him watch your back for you while you do it?"
"But…but you're Robin," Lian whispered so quietly that Dick wouldn't have been able to make out what she was saying if not for his ability to read lips. "Aren't you?"
"I am," Damian gave her a small, very genuine—and very proud—smile, and Lian just lit up in response. "So, you think you can do that? You think you can be brave and protect the aisle while I protect you?"
Lian hesitated for just a second—sending a look back at Dick (who nodded enthusiastically) and up towards Roy at the front (who nodded his head, too, after a couple of seconds)—before she looked back to Damian with a conspiratorial grin, "What should I call you?"
"Whatever you want to, sweetheart," Damian answered her immediately.
"Hmm…Flower Girl Man!" Lian declared enthusiastically after a couple of seconds of contemplation.
"I've been called worse," Damian shrugged after thinking it over for a second before he stoop up a little straighter and rolled his shoulders as he pretended to survey the crowd. "We're going to have to move fairly quickly to make up for the lost time, Flower Girl…and I might be wrong but I'm pretty sure Green Arrow has turned rogue and has it out for us."
"Huh?" That got Lian's attention and her head snapped around towards Ollie in the front. "Grand—"
"Green Arrow," Damian corrected her gently, but firmly, and Lian looked back at him for a second, taking in every word and emotion that crossed his face, before she turned back to glare at her grandfather.
"Right," Dick couldn't see her face due to the angle, but he could hear the determination in her voice. "Green Arrow's gone rogue. What are we supposed to do?"
"Well, I do not know," Damian hiked Lian a little bit higher on his hip. "What weapons do we have at our disposal?"
"Hmm…" Lian made a humming noise as she thought. "Daddy has his hidey-bow."
"Yes, but the stage is strictly enemy territory," Dick had to fight back his snicker as Roy rolled his eyes at his daughter's response from the other end of the aisle. "Green Arrow is sitting in between us and it, and your daddy has to focus on keeping Uncle Jay-Jay and Uncle Dickie from misbehaving. What else do we have on hand?"
"You have your fancy batarang I'm not supposed to tell anybody about."
"Yes, Flower Girl," Dick lost control and barked a laugh as Damian's cheeks reddened and several other members of the congregation did the same. "We also have my fancy batarang you weren't supposed to tell anybody about. What do you have on you that Flower Girl would want you to use?"
"I don't know," Lian's gaze turned back to Damian as her eyebrows furrowed. "I've just got my dress and my sash, and—oh! I have my flowers!"
"Yes!" Damian gasped as Lian brandished her little basket underneath of his nose. "Yes, you do! Did Uncle Dickie tell you that the petals are magic?"
"No," Lian shook her head, her eyes wide.
"They are!" Damian emphasized enthusiastically. "One touch from those petals and Green Arrow will be cleansed of the malice flowing through his veins and save the wedding from the havoc he intends to reap!"
"Then, what are we waiting for?" Lian practically squealed as she squirmed in Damian's arms.
"I do not know!" Damian shrugged theatrically. "You ready to go cure Green Arrow and save the wedding?"
Damian took off down the aisle without warning—bouncing a squealing and giggling Lian in his arms as she dropped crumpled handfuls of petals down onto the ground, and Dick smiled as he watched them go—just as proud of one of them as he was the other.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read and let me know what you think!