One type of writing exercise I do, when I can't think up an actual plot, is to describe in one sentence a specific scene I want to see (for example, KF and Robin chilling in a field of yellow flowers), and then I build up a plot around that one sentence. That's how this story came about. Make no mistakes though, my example of KF and Robin in a field of flowers was NOT the sentence I used to create this fic, and I say this because that's a rather nice, light-hearted scene whereas this particular story is pretty damn dark and kinda messed up (cause that's usually how I roll).
Another note, I like to think that the characters are a bit older in this, with Robin at least being around fifteen.
Disclaimer: I don't own Young Justice. Don't sue me.
Part One – Addiction
Dick's hands were shaking – again, shaking again, had been shaking so much lately and wouldn't stop – when he finally got back home, to Wayne Manor and not through the entrance to the Bat Cave. It was late at night, could even be considered to be an ungodly hour of the morning, and usually that wasn't a problem, that was normal, except he hadn't been out on patrol that night. He hadn't been on patrol as Robin for a while now – a punishment, in a way – and words of the past, of the reasons why, flitted across his mind.
"in no condition to –"
"all this lying –"
"impaired judgment –"
"-if you would just talk to me-"
"-can't trust you like this."
He let out a slow, shaky breath, not even realizing that he had been panting before, and swallowed thickly as he crept through the Manor's halls. Just get to his room, he just had to make it back to his room and slip into bed – hope that his absence hadn't been noticed, that Bruce was still out doing his Dark Knight thing.
"Where the hell have you been?"
The hall lights switched on and they were bright – so bright, too bright – Dick squinted, blinking as his eyes burned and watered. Bruce stood before him, arms crossed over his chest and the disapproving look of The Bat on his face.
Where had he been? That was always the question, every single night that they did this – for how many months, Dick lost count – and always because he could never manage to sneak past his guardian.
Where had he been?
Dick thought back – where? – tried to remember – where? – it had just been an hour earlier, so he should know, but nothing came to mind, nothing about his earlier whereabouts, and this was wrong, this was just so wrong, and he wanted to say so, wanted to say that there was something off about this whole situation and 'why couldn't you see that there's something wrong here?' – but the words never came, not this night, not the previous night, not any of the nights that this had all been going on for however many months.
Instead, sickly sweet words dripped over his mind like warm honey and they were so nice, nice, nice, that he couldn't possibly not follow their commands to be evasive, to never tell – even of things he couldn't remember – to be petulant and work at breaking ties 'because you're just fine, my lovely. Everything's just fine, and everyone around you will just get in your way.'
"Well?" Bruce asked impatiently when Dick remained silent for too long.
"Nowhere important," Dick said, his tone angry, snappish.
"It's none of your business!" he shouted.
He attempted to brush past the man, just wanting to get to his room to climb into bed because the shaking wouldn't stop and his blood was boiling in his veins and there was an aching feeling everywhere, but Bruce clapped a hand down onto his shoulder, not about to let him end the conversation so quickly.
"You're my responsibility, Dick, that makes this my business," Bruce said, stern, angry, always disapproving.
The man's eyes scanned over his form, and Dick knew exactly what he looked like to his guardian, to everyone that knew him. His overly pale skin, the shadows around his bloodshot eyes, the shaking and the sweating – Dick had looked in the mirror enough times, seen it all himself, and wondered how this had all started, how this had all begun, what this even was and why was it happening to him...
What are you on? What are you taking? Are you high right now?
All questions that Bruce had stopped asking after so many times of asking and Dick never giving him a straight answer.
"I'm pulling you out of school," Bruce said.
It was different from Bruce's usual sort of response, but not entirely unexpected, not after he had pulled him off of the Young Justice team because he was 'becoming a liability,' and Dick knew what to expect next because they had done this dance before. Drug tests and doctors visits where they'd find the slightest traces of things Dick didn't remember taking, and then the threat of rehab was always lingering in the background.
It shouldn't have meant anything to him, being pulled from school, because he'd always been smart enough to be bored by anything his school taught him, and he'd always been of the opinion that he'd much rather be fighting crime than doing something for school (of course, Bruce had put a stop to his crime fighting, had grounded him from being Robin), yet those warm honey words were in his head again, saying 'can't have that' and the uncontrollable anger was flaring up and Dick was shouting again.
"I don't need to take any of this crap from you!"
He wanted to stop – stop with the anger, stop with the shouting, but he couldn't, he just kept going, kept shouting, kept saying things he didn't want to say.
"There's nothing left for me here, no reason for me to stay here!"
No, no, no.
"Give me ten minutes and then I'm out of here," he said, tone deadly serious as he pulled away from Bruce.
"And if you try and stop me, well then maybe I'll just have to have a few words with child services and some news stations about Batman and Robin," Dick said, glaring up at the man.
He didn't mean it, really, he didn't, but Bruce seemed to think he did, and remained silent as Dick left for his room. Bruce had never forced him into the crime-fighting life, that had all been Dick's choice, and it would seem that Bruce was taking this all as being Dick's way of resigning from the job.
When Dick exited his room not too long after, it was with a bag packed full of essentials. Bruce was standing by the Manor's main front door, watching him as he came down the stairs to leave.
"Are you sure about this?" Bruce asked, emotions masked, but Dick could have sworn he saw a hint of sadness somewhere in the man's gaze.
'No, I'm not sure. I don't want this. Please, please don't let me leave.'
"Yes," Dick said, briskly, irritably.
"You'll always be welcome here, Dick," Bruce said. "If you ever need help..."
"Good bye, Bruce."
He walked out the front door.
He walked for a long while, that's what he remembered most about that night after leaving the manor. He remembered walking, he remembered the night chill that seeped through his jacket, and he vaguely remembered making a call at a payphone before things got too hazy to remember.
The days kind of bled together after that. He still went to school, ridiculously enough, just going through the motions and losing himself in the droning normalcy of it all, and it was during school hours when the fog that kept flooding his mind was at its thinnest, and he could be aware of the looks people kept giving him – concerned or disapproving – and he could also be aware of all the texts and voice messages his cellphone kept getting until the ringing and beeping became too much and he dropped it down a drain of a sewer.
The nights were a complete blank to him, but he preferred them to the day because daytime was filled with shaking, sweating, fire ants under his skin and an ache that just kept getting more and more painful. During the night though, when the fog consumed all coherent thoughts, there was a sense of calm and warm honey words – everything's fine, my lovely – and a floating euphoric sensation that he never wanted to stop.
Blue eyes blinked sluggishly. He was standing on some random street, leaning against a light post – or more like using the light post to keep himself standing, and it took him a few seconds to recognize the red hair and the freckles of the one standing in front of him.
"Wally?" he blinked again, just as slowly, and then winced, because with coherency came the shaky, jittery ache that he just wanted to stop. "What are you doing in Gotham?"
"What am I doing here?" Wally questioned incredulously. "First you're pulled off the team and then you stop answering your phone and disappear off the freaking planet. What the hell do you think I'm doing here?"
"Wally, I'm fine," he insists, frustration already leaking into his voice.
"Oh, sure, cause you look totally fine," Wally said sarcastically, gesturing at him with one hand.
"Drop it, Wallace, I'm not talking about this with you," he snapped, stepping away from the light post and feeling quite happy that he was steadier on his feet than he previously thought.
"Dude, come on, I'm your friend, I'm concerned about you," Wally said, following after him when he began to walk away. "We all are, and Bruce just wants to help you. I want to help you."
"I don't need your help," Dick said, giving the red-head his best Bat Glare.
'I do. I do need your help.'
"I don't need anyone's help."
But he really did need help, someone's help, because it was getting later and the sun was going down and that was when the ache was at its worst and he could hardly think straight because of it, because of the pain and the shaking and the need for it to all stop, and for the fog to roll in on his mind and make it all go away. He needed help because this had all been going on for far too long and it had been getting progressively worse ever since he left home.
There was a hand on his shoulder, Wally's hand, but the ache made the touch hurt so much that he violently pushed the other boy away, knocking him to the ground as he shouted, "Damnit Wally, just leave me the fuck alone!"
Dick ran even though he knew that it was futile to run from a speedster like Wally, but the other boy didn't follow – 'Please, please, follow me. Stop me' – so he got away easily and nothing else seemed to matter after that because there was fire burning beneath his skin and it hurt, hurt, hurt so much – 'Make it stop. Please make it stop.'
And he was running blindly down alleyways and then the warm honey words were trickling down his mind – Of course, my lovely, I'll make it stop. When the shadows from the corners of the alley seemed to come alive, rising up before him and sending a fog over his mind as they wrapped around him, he didn't even fight them when they took him away.
It was a week ago when Wally came to Roy for help because apparently the younger boy looked up to him and because none of their elder League members were doing anything about Robin, including Batman who seemed to be fighting with his own personal dilemma on the whole thing.
"I don't know what to do, Roy."
"I found him today, he looked horrible. I tried talking to him but he just..."
"I'm afraid he's gonna get himself killed."
Of course, none of this was news to Roy. He had heard whispers of it the few times he was in contact with anyone from the Justice League. He had also seen Dick a couple of times before he stopped being Robin and was pulled off the Young Justice team, and had recognized all the signs on the younger boy, had seen it all before not that long ago on himself whenever he looked into a mirror.
He felt like... he should have said something to Dick, but when that had been him, no amount of lecturing had helped, and he kind of felt like, of all people, he didn't have much right to lecture anyone about not doing drugs. Plus, from the sounds of it, Dick wasn't at a stage in his addiction yet where he would be likely to accept help from anyone, and forcing the younger boy into doing something he didn't want to do wouldn't be helping anyone.
Yet Roy came to Gotham anyway, because he was concerned, because he felt like someone should be doing something, because he didn't want Dick throwing his life away in the same way that Roy almost had..
..Because of Wally and those damn watery green eyes.
Knowing from Wally's experience that an outright confrontation wasn't the way to go, Roy decided to start off by just staying in the background, out of sight, and observe the other boy from a distance. Under normal circumstances, Dick would have known right off that he was being followed, but his mind was clearly impaired by whatever it was that he was taking. Roy had even tested the other boy by literally bumping into him on the street – dressed in his civvies of course – and either Dick was good at pretending that he didn't recognize Roy, or he simply hadn't known it was him. Roy was betting that it was the latter.
He watched the younger boy for a week, and the fact that Dick still bothered to go to school everyday seemed a little odd to him. At first, Roy thought that maybe that was where Dick was getting the drugs, but after a lot of scrutiny, he couldn't pick up anything of the sort going on at the school, and so he let that little fact drop to the back-burners of his mind in favor of other more pressing things.
Such as the fact that in the entire week that he stalked after the younger boy, he still had no idea where Dick stayed during the night. Every time it got dark out, Dick would head down some random alley and pull off the usual Bat move of slipping into the shadows and disappearing before Roy could even hope to follow him, and since Roy had yet to see any drugs exchange hands during the day, he figured that Dick got his fix during the night, after he pulled off his disappearing act.
'I'm ready for it tonight though.'
He had slipped a tracker on Dick just moments before, having brushed past him and stuck the small device to the back of Dick's jacket as the boy hurried down the street. Now, dressed in his Red Arrow gear, he waited on the rooftops, his gaze alternating between watching Dick down on the streets below and monitoring the small hand-held device that the tracker was transmitting to.
He was ready for a chase, knowing how good Robin was at disappearing and escaping pursuers, yet when the younger boy vanished into the darkness of the night, Roy was completely unprepared for the tracker to go from being just a single building away to being off somewhere on the other side of town.
'What the hell?'
He somehow doubted that Dick had not only found the tracker, but had also managed to hack into it and throw off the signal in such a short amount of time, not when the other boy was in such a state. It was possible, but highly unlikely.
'So then what? The tracker glitched on its own?'
Or maybe it was something else, some form of teleportation perhaps. Stranger things have happened, but if it was teleportation, then there was definitely something more going on than just a drug problem.
The small blinking dot on the hand-held device suddenly disappeared as the tracker stopped transmitting completely, but Roy at least knew its last location. It was a lead and it was better than nothing.
'For now, at least.'
He headed out across Gotham, making his way to the tracker's last location as fast as he could.
End of Part One of this two-part story (because I don't feel like writing anymore tonight, so I decided to just post this and finish up the rest of the story later). It's funny, I didn't care for Roy very much at all until last week's episode. Now he's sneaking his way into my story ideas and I'm torn between having him be a brotherly figure or pairing him with someone. For this particular story though, I don't really have any pairings in mind, just close friendships.
Reviews motivate me to get to writing quicker, so review please and tell me what you think. :)