A.N: I don't own any of the characters, and they are all property of DC Comics. This is a crossover between Nightwing and Red Hood and the Outlaws, and will involve Batman in later chapters. WARNING: involves character death.
Roy sat staring at the wall in silence, and couldn't bring himself to move his eyes to Jason's unconscious form lying by the door. Somewhere at the back of Roy's mind, he knew not moving the man after he had handed him Kori and passed out unceremoniously made him a bad friend, but the bigger part of his brain was telling him it didn't matter. Telling him nothing mattered. Jason was merely seven feet away, maybe dead, maybe dying, and he couldn't bring himself to care.
And the indifference didn't matter, either, because Kori, who had been handed to him, who was in his care, was dead. She was dead. Now, nothing mattered, except that he needed to find Jason's stash of booze, because obviously being strong and sober went out the window, too.
Jason woke violently, gasping for breath and pulling a gun out quickly, eyes wide like an untamed animal. He finally focused on Roy's blank face and lowered his weapon, groaning at the small movement and his attempt to sit up against the door. He didn't question the fact that he hadn't been moved, but he did wonder somewhat frantically why Roy was sitting on the couch with that look on his face. He blinked back another wave of darkness, and tried to remember how he got here with a possible concussion and definite dislocated shoulder.
Then, he remembered. Remembered Deathstroke, remembered being told that this wasn't about him before being slammed repeatedly into a wall. He remembered not having time to call Arsenal before he began taking on six mercenaries, without guns or Starfire. He remembered picking her up after he found her, bruised and bloody and scared.
He remembered Koriand'r calling him Richard, and being completely fine with that because talking meant she was alive and alive meant he could save her. Only, the look on Roy's face said something different, something hopeless and alone and the exact opposite of salvation.
Jason cleared his throat, forcing the bile back down. Make that definite concussion. "Starfire?" he asked, and Roy finally looked at the younger man, only now hearing it click in his mind that Jason was barely 21. So damn young, but so much more mature than anyone else Roy had ever known, save maybe for Kori. Roy blinked a couple times in the silence, feeling the dried tear tracks on his face. Death ages a person, he realized.
"She's dead." Roy's voice was small and insignificant in the vast silence filling the room. "Her body is still in the bed."
"It was Drthsoke," Jason said. He sighed, fighting through the fog of his mind. "Deathstroke," he corrected. "He came specifically for her. He knew what he was doing. Brought m-, m-," another exasperated sigh, "mercenaries with him. Distracted me to get her alone and then took her down. 'm not sure how."
"It doesn't matter how," Roy said, eyes glued to his own hands, covered in royal blood.
Jason studied Roy's expression and again fought the urge to fall asleep. "I guess you're right," he said slowly. "What matters is why."
"He loves her," Roy said.
"Nightwing. He loves her, or loved her, whatever. Deathstroke hates Dick, and Dick cares for her. You do the math." Roy stood up and moved towards Jason. He leaned down and gripped the other man's shoulder. "Ready?" Jason nodded, then immediately regretted it as his head began to swim.
Roy popped Jason's shoulder back into place. Jason barely felt it over his throbbing skull. Roy moved back to the couch. "Where's your scotch?"
"Over by the-" Jason stopped, realizing who he was talking to. "You better be talking about the tape, Herpar."
"I'm going to pretend you said my name right, and skip right to just tell me where it is. It's not like it matters if I drink or not."
Jason stood up slowly, hoping he didn't throw up as he did so. He closed his eyes and breathed through his nose. "You'll stay clean while I'm gone, because she would have killed you if you didn't."
Roy looked at him again, and the sadness was reemerging. He felt like he was drowning in shock and anger, and the waves were overpowering him, shoving him in all directions and leaving him disoriented and so very tired and- Roy finally heard Jason's words. "While you're gone?" he repeated.
"Someone has to tell Dick," he said passively, gaining the courage to look beyond Roy to the open bedroom door. He didn't know why, but he waited a bit to see if there was any movement. There wasn't any.
"Dick doesn't need to know from the one guy he can't stand."
Jason tried to be funny, but it just came out monotone and dry. His mind was too preoccupied with staying awake. "What are you talking about? He's such a sweetheart to everyone."
"Well you don't really deserve it now, do you?"
Jason took a couple of wobbly steps to the couch and stood directly in front of Roy. "No, I don't. But I don't want you to be there when he reacts, so it has to be me." He put his hands on either side of Roy's face, trying to comfort him in a way Ducra once did, but he realized quickly the warmth of Kori's hands would be more comforting than the sweaty messes Jason's were. "Stay clean, Roy. I need you to stay clean, because it does matter. I'll be back for you."
Roy blinked back more tears. "How are you going to get to Gotham with a concussion? You should wait until it heals."
"I can't wait, not for this. We aren't that far away, which might be why we ran into Deathstroke. I'll be fine. I've driven a motorcycle under worse circumstances, and now we have the Jeep."
He went to get some water for the fifty mile trip, but thought better of it when he realized that would put him within range of seeing Kori, and he couldn't do that now. "Stay clean," he repeated. "I believe you're capable of that."
Roy had a brief flicker of a smile before returning to his blank stare.