Title: What doesn't kill me
Author: Alla B.
Rating: M for language and adult themes
Summary: Roy and Ollie's relationship first went sour two years ago, all because the man who was supposed to be a father figure decided his wards fate was no longer his problem.
My rendition of Snowbirds Don't Fly
Part 1 of 7
My name is Roy Harper. I have done some very bad things, things that I'm not proud of. What people don't understand is that I no longer have an option. These things have made me into a completely different person…
"I still don't understand why anyone would want to poison themselves with this shit…"
Hal and Ollie cringed, stepping into the apartment and collapsing on the couches. They had spent the night searching for Roy, soon discovering him in an old basement shaft with a group of druggies.
"Good job going undercover." Ollie said, patting the teen on the shoulder. "For a moment there I thought that you had been kidnapped."
Roy had managed a small smile as he sat himself on a desk chair, but the expression didn't last very long. The thugs wouldn't have gained up on the two heroes if he hadn't up and left like that, leaving his belongings behind. If Ollie had been smart he would have noticed the money being withdrawn from his bank account; at least then he would have known that he was alright.
"Those boys are sick as hell." Hal sighed, shaking his head in exhaustion. "They ruin their lives with that crap, and for what, an adrenaline rush?"
"It's more than that," Roy chimed in. His hands were having trouble staying still, and he seemed to be having some trouble breathing. "I mean sure, that's what keeps them coming back, but all they really want is something to make up for what they don't have. A lot of them are neglected, ignored; they have no one to turn to, so they try and make up for that loss with junk."
Ollie snorted out a laugh, rolling his eyes at the young red-head.
"I'll be sure to play them a song on the world's smallest violin." He said, getting up off of the couch and walking Hal to the front door. "You're welcome to spend the night." He said, patting his friend on the back.
"Thanks for the offer, but I really should be going. I have my own city to look after."
Ollie nodded, waving a goodbye to his friend and closing the door behind him.
"Roy," He called out, walking into the living room to find his young charge gone. He walked through the hallway, noticing the light on in the red-heads bedroom. "Roy, I'm making dinner, can I interest you in anything?"
He opened the door, not realizing right away what he had just walked in on.
"What the hell are you doing?"
Roy's head shot up, all innocence draining out of his face as he looked up at Ollie, about to plunge a syringe into his vein. "What the fuck are you doing? Are you on drugs?"
He ran to the teen's side, violently grabbing him by the wrist that held the syringe.
"Let go of me!" Roy screamed, trying to squirm out of the tight grip and accidently throwing the syringe across the room. "You don't understand! I need it, let me go! I need it!"
Ollie pulled him off of the bed he sat on, slapping him across the face and knocking him to the ground.
"Get out!" He yelled, his voice booming through the house. "Get out!"
Roy quickly pulled himself to his feet, running out of the complex as fast as his legs were able to carry him. His legs and arms felt heavy, and he felt like his lungs weren't taking in enough air.
Ollie stood in Roy's room, kicking the bedpost after he heard the front door shut.
"Shit…" He mumbled, sitting on the bed and laying his forehead in his hands. How long had this been happening? Were there signs?
He picked the abandoned syringe off of the ground, eyeing the half-used liquid inside.
He knew what this shit did to people. He had raised Roy better than that. "Shit!" He yelled again, setting the drug down hard on the nightstand. He shouldn't have to deal with this. Bad mentors had to deal with this, but he had given that boy everything that he could ever want. He never had a problem giving him money when he needed it; he even had his own credit card.
Was that part of the problem? Should he have set more boundaries? The kid was sixteen, old enough to make his own decisions. He didn't need to be babysat anymore.
Roy had stopped running after finding an abandoned alleyway. He leaned against the wall, his hands and knees shaking vigorously. What he had done had hardly qualified as a hit. The junk had to have been mixed with something.
He checked his pockets, suddenly realizing that he hadn't grabbed anything before leaving. Eighty dollars, was that really all he had with him? He slid down the brick wall, leaning his head against a dumpster. He was exhausted, and his head was killing him. If he didn't get a hit soon the pain was just going to get worse.
He pulled himself off of the ground, holding the wall of the building while he walked. The abandoned warehouse where Ollie and Hal had found him wasn't far, and if his usual dealer wasn't there, he might be able to get something from one of his friends. His gut was on fire… and not from Ollie's cooking for once.
"Fuck." He mumbled, dragging himself down a flight of stairs. All he could do was hope that no one had changed the knock that they used to get in. Thankfully, they opened the door the first time. A young Asian boy, no older than fifteen, let him in the building.
"I thought the police got you for a second." The boy said with a smirk, his body twitching.
"I just got kicked out… I need somewhere to stay, and I need a hit real bad…"
The boy nodded.
"Dealer isn't here right now." He said, scratching at his limp arms. "I need some more of the stuff myself. I was going to make a street run if you're up for it. How much cash you got?"
He snorted, "I don't know how long you expect to live on these streets, but eighty dollars isn't going to get you very far."
Roy knew that there was a lot of truth in his friend's words. Eighty dollars wasn't going to get him more than two hits at the most; it didn't help that he was showing withdrawal symptoms. If dealers saw that you were desperate for a hit, they'd raise the price. They knew how badly you needed it… And he knew how junkies got the money they needed… Stealing, mugging, some even sold their bodies.
"Just help me get a hit…" He said.
The young Asian put a hand on his shoulder, walking with him back onto the late night streets. They both knew the kind of people they were looking for. The ones who sold the drugs were the bigger guys, always traveling in packs. You approached them, but you said nothing, just showed them the money. All of the different drugs were priced differently, so most of them knew what you were looking for based on how much you gave them. In Roy's case, there were also visual ways for them to know.
Ollie hadn't once noticed the track marks covering his arms. He hadn't even been hiding them. For him, seeing if Ollie would ever find out was part of the rush. He would leave his door unlocked or open a crack, and he wouldn't worry too much about wearing long sleeves.
That was why he had run off in the first place… to see if Ollie had even cared enough to come looking for him. Hearing nothing from his mentor during his first week on the streets hadn't shocked him, he wasn't stupid, and he knew that he wasn't Ollie's first priority. Hell, any man is going to take the possibility of bedding their girlfriend over going home to take care of a teenager.
It was week two that made him start wondering if anyone even realized he was gone…
Then by week three his addiction had made a turn for the worst… He was up to three or four hits a day just so that he could feel normal. He knew that drugs were addicting, and that it would get worse the longer he stayed on, but he needed something to rely on. Heroin was the closest thing to love and friendship that he had ever felt…
They say the shit'll kill me… They just don't say when…
Hal sat in his living room, thinking about everything that had happened today. His head was killing him, and he still felt sick to his stomach from the heroin that those punks had forced into their bodies. If Roy hadn't been there to snap the two heroes out of it, they'd be sitting in a police station right now. Maybe even in jail.
Still, he couldn't help but wonder what Roy had been doing with those young thugs. The boy hadn't confirmed or denied being undercover, and he didn't look good… He had no color in his face, and he had definitely lost weight.
Hal thought back to what Ollie had said about the then-missing Roy.
"I haven't seen him in a month. Capture is a possibility."
Roy was only sixteen years old… you'd think that Ollie would be more concerned about the boy being missing for a month. True, he admitted to not paying him much attention, but was there really a possibility of neglect?
He shook his head, sighing. Ollie was one of his best friends; he had taken that boy in after his mentor passed away, any problems that Roy could be having could have something to do with the families that he's been passed around to. Maybe he didn't feel at home here, like he didn't have a permanent family.
"All they really want is something to make up for what they don't have. A lot of them are neglected, ignored; they have no one to turn to, so they try and make up for that loss with junk." Roy had said. Could he be feeling so alone that he would need drugs to make up for it? Was there really a possibility of that young boy being on the streets doing heroin?
Hal got off of the couch. There would be no way for him to relax until he figured this out…
He dialed Ollie's number, hanging the phone up without bothering to listen to the answering machine. Ollie was the type of guy who would wait until after he had dinner before he tried going back for those thugs and therefore, he should still be home. If he wasn't answering his phone, something must be going on that was pretty important. He had to go back over there… He just had a feeling in the pit of his stomach that something was horribly wrong…
"Ollie," He called out, knocking on the door before opening it a crack. "I don't mean to barge in here, but I just had an uneasy feeling. Is something wrong?"
Oliver sat on the couch, staring at the turned off television. The complex held an uneasy feeling, causing Hal to walk on eggshells to his friend's side, setting a hand on his shoulder. "He wasn't undercover was he…?" The brunette stated, shaking his head at his own realization. "Is he in his room?"
"I kicked him out." Ollie said, still looking straight ahead at the blank television set.
Hal pulled back.
"You kicked him out? Why the hell would you do that?"
"What else should I have done? It's his life, his funeral. I won't take part of it, and therefore, it's not my problem. If that's what he wants to do, I'm not going to burden myself with it."
"Not your problem…" Hal mocked, "Not your problem… That little orphan boy wasn't your problem, but you took him in anyway. What'd you foster him for? Was he just another charity that you can get attention for? Is that what you think of him as, a trophy?"
"He was a child then." Ollie shot back, "He wasn't old enough to take care of himself; he's not a little kid anymore."
Hal let out an irritated snort, turning himself around and putting a hand on the front doorknob. Maybe Ollie didn't care, but if there was anything that kid needed in his life right now, it was support. He was sick, and he needed help.
"Just tell me Ollie…" He said. "What part of this do you not want to deal with? The part where you need to be a parent, or the part where they call you into the police station to identify his body… because I can tell you this, if nothing's done, Roy will die."
"He did this to himself, I can't be held responsible for that."
"You've been neglecting him."
"He can take care of himself. What was I supposed to be doing? Taking him to the park to play baseball? He shouldn't need that kind of attention at his age."
"Fine," Hal said, opening the door. "Just answer me this, how old was Roy when you took him in?"
Ollie shrugged his shoulders, "Ten, eleven… I don't completely remember."
"I want you to think about that eleven year old shooting up with that shit… Picture him out on the street with those druggies; picture him in that body bag. The fact that he grew up didn't make him a different person, Ollie. He's still that little kid."
With that, he left, closing the door behind him and not looking back. If Ollie really didn't care, fine. But he was not going to find himself at that kid's funeral… If Hal had any say in the matter, Roy was not going to die. Not at sixteen…
Roy sat curled in a ball in the basement of the abandoned warehouse, a shoelace tied around his arm as a tourniquet. He wasn't a big fan of shooting up, but smoking or inhaling weren't fast enough for him anymore. He didn't have the patience to wait fifteen minutes for the high to start.
"So, Roy," His young friend said, lying on the concrete with his head rested on a backpack. "You never told us your story."
An older African American boy had joined in their group also, probably around seventeen or eighteen.
"You have to have a reason for shooting up." He said.
Roy sighed slightly, taking the shoelace off his arm.
"I told you guys that it was personal." He said. "If you must know, I have family problems."
"Don't us all." The African American said with a laugh, a roll of marijuana sitting in between his lips. "We wouldn't be living on the streets if we had families."
"I'm an orphan." Roy said. "My father died when I was just a little kid… We had been taken in by an Indian reservation, as part of the Navajo tribe; a forest fire wiped out part of my village, my dad included. The chief still cared for me like I was one of his own, but after he got sick; everyone agreed that it would be best for me to find a permanent home."
"So how'd you end up in these parts?"
He was surprised that they were actually listening to him… These guys were more than just a couple of street thugs; they were his only real friends right now.
"It's a complicated story…" He couldn't finish his tale without revealing his other identity. "Let's just say that I wasn't taken in by the best man in the world… don't get me wrong, he's alright, but I always felt more like a roommate to him than a son."
In the back of his mind, he knew that some of the things that Ollie said were right. He was old enough to take care of himself, but that didn't mean that he no longer needed a father figure in his life.
Ollie would ditch him for days at a time, sometimes even weeks. Not to mention the fact that he had never once taken him to see his old home. He had friends there; his tribe had raised him like part of their family.
Roy sighed, taking a swig from the bottle of alcohol that the boys had been passing around. He was almost completely out of money, and he didn't know how long the stuff the he had gotten was going to last. At this point his only options were mugging or stealing. Prostitution was a last resort.
"What do you guys do for cash around these parts?" He asked, scratching at his arms.
His friends shrugged, passing the bottle back and forth.
"Sell shit, mug the occasional dude."
"Don't you feel bad about it?"
He felt like a little kid being told to cheat on a test…
"No shit, dude… when you're on edge from the junk wearing off, you do what you have to do."
Roy let out a sigh, resting his head on his knees. The feeling on his lengthened hair brushing against his legs made him cringe. His jeans were developing larger holes by the minute and he hadn't showered in days. His own stench made him want to vomit.
"I wish I was dead…" He mumbled, covering his head with his arms.
"Try and quit cold turkey and you probably will be."
They were right… There were many ways to die when you were living on these streets, but most of them sounded like they hurt worse than the pain he was enduring now. He felt cold, feverish… For once, a bowl of Ollie's scorching hot chili sounded like the most delicious thing in the world.
Hal searched the city, finding that he wasn't able to remember where Ollie and he had found Roy the first time. There was more than one abandoned warehouse in this heap, and way more than one thug selling out drugs to young kids… His best option was to search out of costume… For now, he was just Hal, a man who was able to get into these drug circles without being discovered.
He just hoped that he wasn't too late…
"Roy," The brunette called out while walking through the alley way. He had gotten a lack of response, but a large amount of dirty looks. He didn't look like a druggie; he looked like a concerned parent searching for a runaway. Which in a way, he was.
"Roy," He called the boys name again, walking down a flight of stairs.
Roy lifted his head up to the sudden noise, his vision blurred to how much time he had spent in the dark basement. Was he starting to hear things?
"Did someone just call my name?" He asked. His voice cracked slightly while he spoke.
His two friends pulled him up to his feet, dragging him to the back of the old building.
"If they find you, they're going to throw you in rehab. I haven't heard anything good about those hell holes. They make you quit cold turkey; you'll shit out your insides."
Roy followed the other boys, finding himself in a shadowy corner behind a dumpster, his heart beating out of his chest. He pulled the corked bottle of liquefied heroin out of his pants pocket, popping it open and filling a syringe that had been lying on the ground; diseases, infection, none of that mattered right now. His mind was racing and he felt sick to his stomach.
"Dude," The Asian boy said, clutching the red-heads shoulder. "You need to relax, you just did a hit, and you should be saving that stuff."
Roy pulled away, shoving the dull needle into his arm, wincing in pain.
"Fuck!" He yelled, biting his tongue as he took in the drug. Hitting a muscle hurt like a bitch, and the dullness of the needle just made matters worse. He didn't want to go to rehab; all that would do was prove Ollie right, prove that he was a failure; then all he would hear about was Ollie being right… He could already hear the disgusting voice in his head, telling him repeatedly that he had told him so, that he had ruined his life and then needed help setting everything straight…
No… Roy was better than that, he didn't need help from that bastard, and he would slit his wrists before that happened.
"I need some more of the drug…" He stuttered, his teeth chattering from what was probably a mixture of the drug and the cold. "I'm out of money…"
His friends gave him a shrug, leaning next to him against the wall.
"You know your options." They said.
As the night became the early morning, Hal found himself back home. He knew that the boy was in a weaker mindset because of the drug, but that didn't seem to be changing the fact that he wouldn't find him if he didn't want to be found…
Exhausted, he grabbed the phone off the wall, collapsing onto the couch.
"Dinah…" He said quietly, letting out a worried sigh. "We need to talk about Roy…"
A/N: Well, there's day one. I could've continued this forever, but I knew that I had to stop somewhere… I'm sorry if this is confusing to anyone who didn't read the original story, so if you have any questions I'll be sure to answer them.