"No, we can't recover from this!" Bruce yelled, slamming his fist down on the table. It had been a relatively uneventful few months, with the business slowly expanding, along with the waistlines of pretty much all of their markets. After a very successful launch period in Metropolis, the team had agreed on a market push. Start expanding, macromanagment from core investors while the business slowly became less of a concern for the heroes while the profits still flowed in. And with the numbers actually crushing Lex Luthor's start up, it was unsurprising to most that Lex had withdrawn his snack cakes almost immediately. However, Bruce, with his uncanny business knowledge, and Clark, with his inherent distrust of Lex, both knew he had a power play in his hands. And he did.
The initial move to newer markets had done well, but then the rumors started. Headlines such as, "Obesity Isn't Just For Regular Folk- Check Out Poison Ivy's New Curves!" Accompanied by a picture of a very grumpy looking Ivy in a jail cell, plus 25 pounds. "Sudden Weight Epidemic- Is Wonder Woman to Blame?", followed by an opinion piece by a rather biased woman who had "doubled in size" by her own claim- but if her picture was anything to go by, either she had at least tripled in size, or she wasn't one with the right to talk about a sudden weight epidemic in the first place. Slander and libel are serious offenses, especially against proud Amazonian warriors, but Bruce had been quick to point that any successful business was going to get it's critics. Diana finally consented, brushing it off as "the usual oligarchical power struggle", much to Bruce's bemusement.
These eventually faded, while sales continued to grow. It astounded market analysts, who frequently bounced between full support of the company and outright pessimism, claiming "such a fast growing company is due to abrupt failure, despite Wayne enterprises being at the helm". And yes, Earth crime rates did see a notable decline, much to the delight of the team- only for more and more distress calls to come in from various sectors and planets and dimensions and what-have-yous, which were fulfilled more and more. And with the plan to write off a majority of the company to other parties and maintain an income mostly in place, even Bruce felt confident in leaving the planet for a day or two at a time and having the other suits handle matters.
Two Weeks Earlier
"Huff... Huff... I swear, if they... Don't fix that... Elevator..." Lois grumbled and grunted as she staggered to her chair, her breath thoroughly taken away by the several flights of stairs she had to stagger up. Granted, she had out of breath after the first set of stairs, but she wasn't the only one struggling on her way up, so she didn't feel as bad. Yes, most of the building had definitely packed on a few pounds over the past few months... And yet, everyone seemed strangely okay with it. In fact, in their office alone, a daily delivery of several boxes of WWWs was the norm, and people had started treating it like an all you can eat buffet weeks ago. Now, it wasn't uncommon to watch people meander around the office, plates literally stacked with pastries and baked goods like they were going out of style. Which, coincidentally, was how Lois always started her morning. Her breathing more or less back to normal, the significantly wider woman waddled towards the break room, slightly salivating in spite of herself.
"Tough luck, Lois, I think John just snagged the last apple fritter!" Jimmy laughed as he walked out of the room, cup of coffee in hand. Oddly enough, Jimmy was one of the few people in the office who hadn't succumb to the WWW mania that had overtaken most of Metropolis. "They're just pastries, I don't get it!" The overly active young man had said one day when he had declined a bear claw from a rather pushy coworker. "Want me to talk a little sense into him? Perry tried to warn him about how much you need your fritter in the morning." Jimmy smirked at her.
"Ugh. Shit. No, it's fine Jimmy, don't... Ah, don't worry about it." Lois said. What a way to start the damn morning. She might actually just go to the curbside vendor that sells the stuff and snag one or six from him... But there was the issue of those damn stairs. Jimmy, as usual, did a double take as he walked by. It was hard to believe that the once slim Lois Lane, who had been offered (and shot down) several modeling gigs, was now one of the heaviest women in the office. Still dressing in the same pencil skirts and blouses, still skin tight... But there was a lot more skin to cover. While her original weight gain had seemed to cause her chest to swell, over the weeks it seemed to have slowly made its way downwards, bestowing her with such a ridiculously large rump that young Jimmy Olsen couldn't help but stare. The two bulbous buns stretched the lines on her skirt outwards, and wobbled up and down in such a hypnotic fashion that Jimmy knew better than to stare too long- he had already run into two walls from doing just that.
Grumbling as she loaded up a plate with bear claws, Lois stomped back to her desk, her stomach wobbling wildly and slowly inching her blouse outwards from it's currently tucked in positioning. "Stupid John! Stupid stupid stupid. Stupid John, stupid elevator that doesn't work, stupid -mmff- bear claws!" Lois grunted as she bit angrily into a bear claw, only to have the pastry crumble in it's usual manner, 90% of the crumbs depositing themselves firmly in her canyonous cleavage. She sighed, grabbing a napkin and trying fruitlessly to clean out the crumbs from between her heaving breasts.
"Having a rough morning, Lois?" Clark smirked from doorway, watching his coworker jam a napkin between her boobs. Lois gasped, whipping around in her chair angrily. Her angry abated slightly at the sight of a plate piled with apple fritters, being grasped almost mockingly in his hand.
"Are those... Of course they are. What do you want, Smallville?" Lois grunted, the blush rapidly dissappearing from her face as she realized it was just Clark. It was hard to be embarrassed from that little incident when just that week she had torn a pair of suit pants straight down the ass in front of the guy. Clark, being the little boy scout he is, immediately ran out and got her a new pair... Which facilitated the need for Lois to tell him her rather embarrassing waistband size as of late. Getting caught jamming a napkin down her cleavage was practically par for the course at this point.
Clark let out his usual deep laugh. "Can't a guy just be nice? I figured you'd be running late because of the elevator situation-" Clark missed the rather pointed glare Lois shot his way "-So I made sure to snag you some! Everyone knows they're your favorite... Even John." Clark delicately placed the plate next to Lois' original plate of half-demolished pastries. "Not everything is an attempt to butter you up for something, Lois."
Lois made sure to restrain herself from immediately shoving an entire fritter into her mouth, choosing to take a measured, delicate bite instead, at least until Clark left. "Ugh, don't say butter to me. I'm gonna need some next time I try to squeeze into this skirt..." It was Lois' turn to smirk as Clark Kent turned a bright shade of crimson. For all of her attempts to get under Clark's skin, mentioning her weight seemed to be a bulls-eye. "In fact... I might need to get you to run out and grab me a new one before the day's over... Who knows if this one's going to survive this plate of fritters?"
Clark let out a very loud cough and walked away, muttering something about deadlines.
Of course, as sales had grown, other issues had come into place. One of the first test markets outside of Metropolis was, naturally, Gotham, and the second "Wonder Woman's Wonderments" was admittedly a bigger success than even the more optimistic analysts within the company had predicted. Not surprising- while Metropolis was a bustling city, filled with posh people who would rather die than miss their morning jog, Gotham was... Well, a scummy city filled with schlummy people who would rather stuff their face with burgers and beer than take a bite of an apple. In Gotham, people weren't too worried about their appearance to begin with, what with the fact that for every one person who had a better body than them, there were ten or twenty who didn't. So, while with Metropolis requiring a fair amount of free samples and aggressive marketing, a lot of Gotham had already gotten a taste of WWW by having friends send them a box. Having one right up the road from the house... Well, let's just say the Penguin didn't exactly slim down over the next few weeks... Nor did the rest of Gotham's elite. The more fancy get-togethers Bruce attended, the wider the men and woman of Gotham's highest paid CEOs got. And while this should've brought forth a new wave of media criticism, it shockingly didn't. In fact, several people thanked Bruce in person for helping bring the tasty treats to the town, "-despite the effect it's had on my waist!", or some variation thereof.
But Gotham is a disgusting city, and it didn't take long for rumors of political pay-offs to get into more advertising campaigns to start. More smear campaigns followed, even accusations of putting nicotine or other addictive chemicals into the food. These were quickly disproved, and sales didn't take a hard hit. And again, the rumors, the smear campaigns, the negative press, they all fell away and sales stayed high.
One Week Earlier
"I tell ya, Red, this is the easiest gig we've eva set up!" Harley grinned as she jammed her umptenth cookie into her mouth. The obnoxiously bouncy clown cohort had only become more obnoxious and much more bouncy after busting out of Arkham following her last run in with the Batman. Sure, she had chubbed up quite a bit prior to her incarceration, and Arkham food wasn't exactly a feast, which lead to the hyperactive Harley Quinn shedding most of the pounds in her two month stay in the Asylum. But, in usual Arkham fashion, there was some major breakout and Harley managed to sneak through the cracks, as usual. Luckily, her on-again off-again cohort in crime, the always gorgeous Poison Ivy had previously been detained as well, so the two skipped off together. Ivy wasn't blessed with Harley's love of bouncing around her cell non-stop 19 hours a day, and had maintained the layer of pudge she had put on in her time away from prison. Still, associating strongly with plants meant Ivy didn't have too much love for her figure regardless, so she didn't mind too much. Besides, between her constant pheromone production and her now DD sized chest, Ivy was more powerful than ever on susceptible men and women.
Which lead to their current gig, possibly one of the laziest, most half-assed criminal schemes to ever be hatched in this town. Harley had, during her slimmer days post-breakout, snuck into the new Wonder Woman distribution facility and made several photocopies of their distribution maps (along with several photocopies of her butt for good measure). Then, Ivy pretty much just hung out around their various stops, gently "suggested" they loan her a box or five of the treats, then her and Harley would sneak back to the hideout and stuff their faces.
With predictable results.
Ivy pretty much only got dressed when they left the house, and she had snagged a rather large red dress a while ago that still fit her figure, but only barely. The botanist turned petty thief had gained a copious amount of weight, due to her metabolism pretty much being in the gutter from her previous diet of practically nothing. Every night they split their wares 50/50, and Ivy's half had caused a much larger gain than Harley's. Frankly, the woman was massive, and even heaving herself out of the apartment once every few days was enough of a hassle that she was half tempted to call it off. At some point, her outlandishly sized rear end had gotten stuffed so firmly into chair while she gorged that Harley eventually had to smack it with her hammer until it fell apart. The red haired, green skinned girl was bloating up at an unprecedented rate, and it took every ounce of Harley's will to not make "Human plant" jokes about 200 times a day- limiting herself to five. Harley's stomach sagged slightly when she stood, and pooled out halfway down her thighs when she sat. Preferring to chill out in the buff, she usually struggled out of her dress the second they got home and finished hauling the goods into their makeshift apartment on the second floor of Harley's favorite hideout inside an old factory. In fact, Harley had to actually get someone to come in to fix the damn elevator, since Ivy had gotten so lazy and lethargic that she refused to take the stairs anymore. "Plants have it right," Red had muttered one day in between laborious steps up the spiral staircase "If they wanna go up, they just grow. They don't need -huff- stairs." Frankly, Harley had half a mind to ditch her increasingly lazy friend, but then how would she snag all the pastries?
While Harley was still the lighter of the duo, that really wasn't saying much. In fact, she had stopped bothering to sow together pieces of stretchy fabric into an outfit, and had taken to driving to heists in pajama pants and a tank top, because every time she made a new outfit, she'd rip right out of it within a week. It just wasn't worth the effort. Harley had even stopped bothering with her nightly acrobatic practice after that one time she jumped onto a scaffolding and it broke, collapsing half the rough. Boy, Ivy was ticked off about that one- up until she realized it meant more sunlight could get through during the day. Ivy's half of the place now was primarily dirt and towering plants, which would delicately pop baked goods into her mouth left and right all day. Harley even asked if she could get a vine or two her way, only to have a cookie snagged out of her hand, Ivy muttering between mouthfuls that "The plants only care about their Momma."
All in all though, the girl couldn't complain. Chocolate was a girls best friend, and in her skinnier days she had snagged a "complimentary" cable hookup, so she just sat around and watched old cartoons while jamming chocolate cookies and doughnuts into her face. It was a good life, a simple life. Sit around with her best friend (well, former best friend. Red didn't talk much anymore) and jam tasty food in her gullet while giggling the night away. Sure, the days of jumping around and hitting dudes in the head with a mallet were long behind her, but this was kinda nice too. Plus, she hadn't been smacked in the head by some costumed crusader in like, at least three weeks! Or was it months? She was never good with dates. Harley reached out, just to grab a handful of crumbs. "Hey, uh -urrp- Red? I'm all outta tasty things." Ivy's cocoon of leaves that she usually engulfed herself in rustled a bit, but her mane of red hair didn't emerge. "RED!" Harley screamed, sitting up further and popping several stitches on her shirt in the process. Staggering to her feet and rubbing her bulbous belly, Harley sleepily made her way towards Ivy's little hideout. A few more belches made their presence known as the large and not-quite-in-charge blonde made her way to her sleeping cohorts crib. "C'mon, we gotta do another heist or something... I'm gonna get hungry, and when I get hungry I get all fussy and fidget and then you -hic- yell at me to stop makin' so much noise, and yer plants smack me in the butt and it hurts!" Harley shook the mass of leaves, only for them to unfurl and reveal a very much asleep Ivy. "Yeesh, Red, you've got like 30 banana palms wrapped around ya and they barely cover your fat ass!" Harley shrieked. Personal assaults usually woke up the relatively light sleeper that was Poison Ivy. But she kept snoring. Time to bring out the big guns. "Wow, you should change your name from Poison Ivy to Rafflesia arnoldii!" Ooooh, that one will get her! The only reason Harley knew that one was because of the time Joker tried to grow a hundred of them in the sewers of Gotham. But Ivy still didn't rustle. "C'mon! C'MON C'MON C'MON!" Harley yelled, kicking the base of Ivy's makeshift leaf bed, before giving up and flopping down- hard- on the floor, and "accidentally" landing on a flower. "Ugh... Huff... That was... Hard to... Do..." Harley whined. "What's your deal, Red?"
"I am." Growled a voice from the shadows. Harley jumped to her feet- or at least tried to, but her bloated belly wobbled wildly in front of her and all she proceeded to do was fall forward onto her stuffed stomach, and let out an extra loud belch and a grunt. From the exposed hole in the ceiling, Batman dropped through, throwing down a small syringe. "Just a sedative, she'll be fine." Harley glared at Batman as she tried to gather her breath, not bothering to shift from her awkward stomach down position on the floor which exposed half her ass from her now ripped sweatpants, which had rolled down significantly.
"What did we do? We're living legit now, Bats!" Harley spat from the floor, trying to look menacing from her current excessively unflattering position on the floor. Batman let a grin sneak out from under his cowl.
"You're living in an abandoned factory that you clearly aren't the owner of-" Batman said, uttering a groan from Harley. "There's at least a thousand empty boxes covering the floor down there, which are mysteriously the same exact brand as the baked goods that have been reported as missing from delivery trucks around here..." Harley let out a sigh.
"Ya know what? I confess. Take me away, and take Red away too. She's getting a little too lazy, if ya ask me. Besides, I'm gettin' sicka baked goods. I almost miss the sludge they throw at ya in Arkham." Harley finally struggled into a seated position, turning her head and closing her eyes, her wrists turned upwards. "Book 'em. I mean, me. Book me. Whatevah."
Batman did just that, but paused before hauling her off the ground. "I wasn't finished." Harley turned to look at him again.
"You're stealing cable."
The laughtrack blared on the television.
It wasn't until the third Wonder Woman's Wonderments that shit really hit the fan. It was, of course, all under the guise of "Concerned citizens", but everyone knew who did it in the end: Lex Luthor. The FDA were on their asses. Then STAR Labs. Then, the CDC. Apparently, someone somewhere had found some loophole considering a mysterious nectar from a foreign world "Unsuitable for human consumption". Assets were seized, and all production was shut down. Oddly enough, they weren't slapped with a single fine, but were hit with enough lawsuits to drive even the richest man to bankruptcy- if they had gone after the money. But, oddly enough, they were just hit with a bunch of cease and desists. Fighting it was impossible without dumping all the profits they had put into the business into restructuring, not to mention the fact that they all knew the nectar was the only reason their products didn't taste like dirt. With a big enough slush fund to found a brand new space station made of platinum, the crew quickly decided to call it a day. And just like that, Wonder Woman's Wonderments was no more.
"On the plus side," Superman joked, "That gives us more time to work on our baseball practice!"
No one laughed.
Two Months Later
"Mr. Luthor, you said you wanted me to alert you when the last truck was finished." Luthor nodded at the new girl. A rare sight, she was incredibly thin. Probably a size 2. Not the prettiest face, but even with the dissolving of WWW, competent girls who didn't weigh over 200 pounds were quite a rarity in the town. "Well, the last truck is finished. Oh, and Dr. Forrester down in the lab said to tell you he has some news on your current project." Lex nodded again- if no one was around, he might have even smiled.
"Very well, Lexi. Thank you." The girl walked out, and finally Lex allowed himself a smirk. "An assistant named Lexi. That's almost comical." He stood, walking through a separate door and making his way down to the labs. This was going to be a very good day. Walking into the good doctor's lab, Lex patted one of the barrels that had just been unloaded, branded with a bright gold and red letter W.