Roy shot up in the guest bed, unable to stop himself from screaming. He grabbed the bucket that sat next to him and vomited. He had been unsuccessful in keeping any of Dinah's soup down, and his stomach was now managing to kill him and be growling at the same time.
He got out of the guest bed, taking the bucket into the bathroom to rinse it out. He was having trouble remembering everything that had happened within the past two days… He was drenched in sweat from his fever and had now awoken from his second night terror. Every muscle in his body ached; the pain in his head was pounding… He felt like he was dying, and at this point he wished that he was.
Dinah flipped the hall light on, walking into the bathroom and putting her hand on his forehead.
"How are you feeling?" She asked quietly, feeling him shiver under her hand. He had no color in his face or lips, looking frail… fragile…
"Please go away…" He managed to get out, hyperventilating over the sink. He didn't like being seen this way. He thought of himself as weak, worthless. He turned the sink water on, dipping his head under the cool stream that came down.
"I don't like you being alone when you're like this…" Dinah said, taking a wet rag out of the sink and putting it on the back of Roy's neck. "I don't want you by yourself if you faint… You could give yourself a concussion." She went into the closet to grab a towel, turning the sink water off and wrapping it around his head, ruffling his red hair.
"I'm fine." Roy said; his voice cracking. "I just had to throw up…"
"I want to take your temperature again."
The blonde went into the bathroom cabinet, taking the thermometer out and rinsing it off in the sink.
"I said I'm fine… I don't need my temperature taken. Why do you insist on treating me like a little kid?" Roy said, slapping Dinah's hand away. "I can take care of myself… I don't need anyone."
She glared at him, grabbing him by the chin.
"You listen to me…" She said, "You open your damn mouth and let me take your temperature, or I take it the other way."
Roy pulled away, grunting and taking the thermometer out of her hands; angrily sticking it in his mouth.
"That's what I thought." Dinah smirked, putting a hand on his forehead and taking it out of his mouth. "You still have a pretty high fever… How's your arm doing?"
"It's fine…" He said, wrapping his hand around the bandaged infection. It wasn't fine… the pain was becoming unbearable, and the pus contained a horrible odor.
"Can I look at it?"
She took his arm before he could tell her no, unwrapping the bandage gently. She paused when he groaned in pain, curling his fingers into a fist. "This is really bad, Roy…" She sighed, watching the yellow emission bubble up onto the green colored infection. "I'm not sure that I want to wait until morning to bring you to the hospital."
She massaged a disinfectant into the contaminated tissue, wrapping a new bandage around his arm.
"I don't need a hospital… I told you, I'm fine. I've been fine for months…"
"I'll call child services, you know…" She threatened, meeting his eyes with an angry glair. "You have two options right now. You listen to me, and therefore you stay with me. You don't listen to me; you'll be put into foster care. Is that what you want?"
Roy sighed, sitting on the cold tile and leaning his head against the sink cupboard. This was all too much for him right now… All that he really wanted was to go to bed…
"Going to the hospital means that I need help…" He said, pulling his legs up to his chest. "I don't need help… He can never think that I need help."
"You do need help, Roy." Dinah sighed, putting her hand on his shoulder. "That's nothing to be ashamed of. Hell, you know as well as I do that Ollie was just in the hospital a few days ago."
"All I know is that managed to be my fault too. Just like everything else."
Ollie had made him feel so weak over the years… In that house, you kept everything to yourself because that was what real men were supposed to do. You didn't seek the comfort of others. "Now please… just leave me alone. That's all I want right now."
The blonde sighed and nodded, helping Roy onto his feet before leaving him alone in the bathroom. He shut the door, used the bathroom, washed his hands, and stood there. He stared at himself in the mirror. He was so disgusted by himself… in so much pain from trying to kick such a soothing habit. His head, his stomach, his muscles, his emotions… He needed the pain to stop.
Ollie's right… He thought to himself. I'm weak… I can't handle this shit…
The tears were building up in his eyes as he opened the medicine cabinet, digging around for anything that could make the pain go away.
His eyes caught a glimpse of an orange prescription bottle, hidden in the back behind a thing of Tylenol and liquid cough syrup.
He opened the bottle, pouring several of the pills into his hand and moving them around with his fingers. He had expected to feel afraid… for his heart to pound out of his chest or to have some sort of rush of adrenaline, the same way he did when he shot up on the streets.
Instead he felt numb… prepared. He took the bottle of cough syrup out of the cabinet, throwing the handful of pills in his mouth and taking a swig of the liquid medicine.
It tasted terrible… He didn't care.
He poured out several more pills, repeating the process over again. He then dumped the remainder of the bottle in his mouth; taking a final swig of the cough syrup. He probably should have written a letter, but it was too late for that now.
It was too late for everything now…
Dinah sat in the kitchen, rubbing a finger along the edge of her wine glass. She was worried… Roy appeared to be getting worse before he got better. His arm was badly infected, which was probably what was affecting his fever.
She sighed when she heard a knock on the front door, getting onto her feet and answering it. She wasn't surprised to find Hal at her doorstep, inviting himself into the house before she was able to respond.
"How's he doing?" The brunette asked, resting his elbows on the kitchen counter.
"Not good… He's been having night terrors and muscle spasms. He seems to be in a lot of pain…"
Hal shook his head, taking a seat at the counter and sighing slightly.
"Did you talk to Ollie?"
"I tried, but he doesn't seem to want anything to do with the boy right now."
Dinah cursed under the breath, resting her forehead in her palm and brushing her bangs back. "He's such a selfish, cold-hearted bastard sometimes… Doesn't he understand that throwing him out on the street isn't going to solve anything—?"
The two adults jumped to the sound of weight hitting the floor, causing them to shoot out of their chairs and run into the living room. The bathroom door was closed, and the light remained on.
"Roy?" Dinah yelled, "Is everything okay in there?" She pounded on the door, turning the knob only to realize it was locked. "Can you hear me?" She called, pounding harder, eventually kicking the door in.
She wasn't expecting what she had walked in on… The barely conscious teenager lay on the floor of the bathroom, the medicine cabinet was opened and a bottle of empty prescription pills lay in the sink.
"Shit!" Dinah yelled, rushing to his side. She lifted his head up, pulling him over to the toilet and trying to persuade him to vomit. "Hal, you need to fly us to the hospital, now!"
Roy wasn't sure how long he had been passed out for… and when he woke up, he wished that he didn't remember why… The concern on Dinah's face was there to remind him, her hand touching his.
"Hey," She said quietly, brushing his orange bangs behind his ear. "How are you feeling?"
His stomach hurt so bad… like he had vomited a hot pepper. He knew that he probably had it pumped, and the last thing he wanted to do was talk to Dinah about why… not that he felt that would stop Dinah from asking… He had tried to kill himself… He knew better than to think she wouldn't bring it up.
"I told Hal to call Ollie." Dinah said, shame suddenly filling Roy's face.
"You can't tell him…" He said. "He'll never let me live it down; it'll just be another excuse for him to tell me everything that's wrong with me. I already know that I'm a failure; I don't need to be reminded by him."
"He's your legal guardian; you can't leave the hospital without him."
Roy turned himself away from Dinah, staring in shame at the white hospital wall.
"Why would you do that?" That blonde asked, ignoring Roy's attempts to ignore her. "Roy… I'm not naïve; I know that this wasn't an accident… I need you to be honest with me. Were you trying to kill yourself?"
"I don't know…" Roy said quietly, inhaling deeply and wiping the tears from his bloodshot eyes. "Please just leave me alone. It hurts so damn bad, and you're not helping…"
"Roy… I need you to talk to me. What hurts?" His body was quivering, his limbs twitching. She had seen withdrawal symptoms before; seen what they did in adults two, sometimes three times his age. Now she was watching those same symptoms affect a sixteen year old… He was only a kid…
She placed a hand on his shoulder; he flinched at the sensation of being touched. "Roy…" She repeated. "What hurts?"
Both the blonde and the redhead jumped back slightly when the doctor opened the door, walking in with a chart in his hand.
"Are you his mother?" The doctor asked doubtfully, her young age obvious.
"I'm his legal guardian's fiancé. He should be here any minute."
The doctor nodded, signaling for Dinah to leave the room for a moment. She nodded, brushing her fingers through his hair before getting up. She closed the door behind her.
"Roy…" The doctor said his face stern and serious. "We did some tests on you…"
"You don't need to tell me that I'm on drugs… I'm not in denial of it, nor am I an idiot…"
"Those aren't the tests I'm talking about, Roy. I'm talking about blood tests. You had a serious infection in your arm. We managed to clean it out and bandage you up, but we're going to need you to come back for a check-up."
"If that's all, can I please go home?"
"You tested positive for syphilis and hepatitis B."
Roy's heart sank, his eyes closing in shame. "Syphilis is curable, and hepatitis B does have a good chance of being cured…"
Then the tears started… the redhead dug his head into his legs, covering himself with the uncomfortable hospital blanket.
"Did something happen when you were on the street?" The doctor asked, "Were you using dirty needles? Having unprotected sex?"
He nodded through his sobbing, hyperventilating loudly.
A knock came from the door…
"Please!" Roy cried, aware that Ollie stood at the other side of the closed door. "I don't want to talk to him! Don't make me talk to him!"
The doctor opened the door, glancing at Roy as he did so; concern in his eyes. Oliver walked into the room, the look on his face showing rage and a lecture that he was about to hear.
"What the hell is wrong with you!" The blond man yelled, barely stopping himself from backhanding the sobbing teenager. Dinah put a hand on Ollie's shoulder, halting him. Roy hadn't even noticed that she came back in the room.
"Just leave me alone!" Roy yelled, his hands still covering his beet-red face. He hated crying in front of people… he never cried in front of people.
Dinah grabbed Ollie's hand violently, pulling him out of the room for a moment and closing the door behind her.
"How the hell did he turn out to be such a fuck-up…?" Ollie sighed, leaning his forehead against his hand. Dinah shoved him, pulling at her hair in pure rage.
"Do you even understand what's going on here!" She attempted to yell quietly. "This isn't just about the drugs anymore… that was a suicide attempt!"
"That was him having no more access to heroin and finding something else, Dinah!"
Dinah closed her eyes, shaking her head and sighing.
"Ollie… someone who just wants to get high doesn't swallow an entire bottle of sleeping pills…"
"You don't know that."
"And you don't know that he didn't try killing himself. You're supposed to care about him; to love him. Isn't that the promise you made when you adopted him?"
"I never promised him a damn thing."
"And that's what he learned to expect!" Dinah yelled, leaning against the wall and massaging her temples. "You did nothing for him… You were supposed to be a father figure, but you weren't even what I would call a guardian."
"I put a roof over the kids head, didn't I? I sent him to school, gave him a trust fund, and I never had a problem giving him money when he needed it; I can only assume he just took advantage of me. I've probably been the one buying all that shit off the street."
Dinah shook her head, curling her fingers into a fist in an attempt to control her temper. This wasn't the man she had fallen in love with…
"I'll never understand…" She sighed, "How you always manage to make the situation about you. Never in my life have I met someone so selfish…"
Ollie snorted out a laugh. "Funny that you can say that four feet away from the kid who's been stealing money from me just to satisfy his own needs… but I'm sure you'll find a way to make that my fault too."
"His problems are your responsibility no matter how you look at it. You can't leave him accountable for his actions, he's a child."
"He's old enough to know right from wrong."
"Not if no one teaches him."
"That's all I've taught him!"
In a fit of rage Ollie had almost given away his secret identity. He had trained that boy to be a hero; to fight alongside some of the greatest people the world had to offer. The difference between right and wrong should, logically, be all that Roy knew.
Dinah shook her head, closing her eyes and sighing.
"You taught him how to be a good hero…" She said as quietly as she could manage. "But when during that time frame did you teach him to be a good person? Something I don't think that you've mastered yourself…"
Roy sat upright on the hospital bed, rocking back and forth while mumbling to himself. He wanted to be able to say that he wanted to go home, even though he didn't… Part of him wanted to be back on the street with his friends… back to how everything was yesterday. At this point he didn't care if he was happy; he just wanted something to make the pain go away…
Dinah came back into the room, Ollie no longer accompanying her. She sat on the side of the hospital bed, looking down at him with genuine concern.
"Are you ready to talk about it yet?" She asked calmly, placing a hand on his. He pulled away, finding himself unable to look her in the eyes.
"There's nothing to talk about." He said.
"I disagree. In fact, I think that there's a lot to talk about. I know that you're uncomfortable discussing what happened, and I understand why, but you can't keep in bottled up forever. You need to talk about it."
"Where's Ollie?" Roy asked, ignoring her.
"He's paying the medical bill."
"Oh goodie, another thing that gets to be my fault."
"I'm trying to make him understand, Roy…" Dinah said with a sigh, "You're going to have to be patient with him, your stubbornness is one of the main things you two have in common."
"I have nothing in common with that man." The sentence came out blank… emotionless.
"Of course…" Dinah said with a small grin, brushing Roy's bangs out of his eyes. "Are you ready to tell me why you did it?"
It was silent for a moment, the only sounds coming from the hallway.
"I can't take it anymore…" Roy said with a sigh, his eyes looking forward into nothingness. "The pain is just too much…"
"I can understand that." Dinah responded, "That's just how withdrawal goes. There would be a lot less addiction if it felt good to quit."
"When I'm on the drug, I'm numb… I'm not happy, but I'm not unhappy either. I started using to make the pain stop; now it hurts all over again."
"Why were you hurting in the first place?"
Roy didn't respond, just laid himself back down on the bed. It wasn't that he didn't want to answer her, but how could he when he wasn't sure himself? Ollie was right, he was too old to be babysat, but that implied that there had been a time where things were actually good. Even as a child his mentor had failed to act as a parent. He may have paid for all of his living expenses, but he had never truly felt like he could look up to him… He had never truly felt loved…
Roy jumped at the sound of a knock on the door, the doctor that he had spoken to before walked back into the room, Ollie accompanying him.
"Roy," The doctor said, "You're free to leave soon. Right now I'd like you to sit in the waiting room while I talk to Dinah and Oliver."
"Whatever…" Roy said with a shrug, stumbling slightly as he attempted to crawl out of the uncomfortable bed. The doctor waited for the door to close before speaking.
"I've written him three different prescriptions, which should help clear out his infections, and he's need a shot of penicillin. He's really done a number on himself. I feel like it would be a good idea for Roy to start seeing a therapist." He handed both Dinah and Ollie a pamphlet, depicting signs of depression and anxiety along with several help lines. "He shows signs of being severely depressed, and I would recommend having him put on some kind of medication."
"That's a smart move." Ollie said sarcastically, "Let's give the brat more drugs."
"I understand your concern Mr. Queen, but I feel that medication could help a lot in the long run. I'm very afraid that he may try this again; worse than that I'm afraid that he may succeed next time. There are also group therapy sessions that render specifically to teenagers, some of whom have gone through similar problems as your son."
"He isn't my son."
"That's one of the reasons why I feel Roy would benefit from therapy. The adoption process can be a lot for kids to go through, especially when they start getting older. I believe that Roy may have abandonment issues or feel like he doesn't fit in with your family, both of which are common for orphaned children to go through."
"He's not depressed," Ollie said with a shake of the head. "He's just drugged up. He'll be fine."
Dinah pushed herself in front of her fiancé, attempting as hard as she could not to scream at him in front of the doctor.
"What he means to say is that we'll talk it over with Roy. We don't want to force him to do something that he doesn't want to. Right now I think that our best bet is to get him home and let him get some rest."
She knew what Ollie was going to say, even if he wouldn't say it until they were alone. There was no therapist who Roy could safely discuss all of his problems with. He could talk about some things, but so much of what he was bottling up involved things that he couldn't discuss. Not without giving away his and Ollie's secret identities.
The doctor nodded, acting friendlier toward Dinah than he had toward Ollie. He trusted that she would find some way to give that boy the help that he so desperately needed…
Roy struggled to keep his eyes open in the car; the medicine that he was given in the hospital had made him drowsy. He had also been warned that he may become lightheaded, but he had shot up in the streets enough times to become fairly immune to any bad feelings that the small dose of medicine would cause him.
The drive was awkward, as no sound came from the mouths of any of the three heroes. Roy had finally managed to fuck up so badly that even Ollie didn't have a smartass comment about his idiotic actions. Dinah finally managed to break the silence.
"I feel it would be best for us all for you to continue staying at my place." She said to the exhausted redhead, not taking her eyes off the road. "I want you in a stress-free environment. I'm also locking up any and all medicine in my house."
"Shouldn't you have done that when you found out the kid was a druggie?" Ollie remarked.
"I don't want to hear another word out of your damn mouth." Dinah shot back, showing her frustration by a sudden burst of aggression in her driving habits.
"I'm just saying."
"Is that a word I'm hearing out of you?"
"Actually, it's three."
She swerved slightly while turning into the driveway, slamming the breaks as hard as she could and causing Ollie to hit his head on the windshield. She turned off the car and got out, opening the door for Roy and helping him to his feet.
"Just go home Oliver…" She said with little emotion. Why bother fighting him at this point? There were more important matters to attend to.
She helped Roy to the couch, brushing his bangs back.
"I don't want you shut behind a door anymore; I want to make sure that I can always be keeping an eye on you."
"What if I'm in the bathroom?"
"Nothing I haven't seen before. Leave the doors open, or I'll be forced to take them down."
She watched him role his eyes at her before laying down on the couch, sighing in irritation.
"It has to be this way." She said. "You almost died."
"If you didn't notice, that was kind of what I was going for."
"This is serious, Roy…" She said sternly, sitting next to him and putting a hand on his cheek. She was just trying to figure out what happened at this point. "I mean… suicide?" She said with a sigh. "I'm just trying to figure out why."
Roy rolled over, curling into a fetal position and burying his face into the backrest of the couch, planning on ignoring anything else that she was going to say. She shook her head, covering him with a blanket and remaining on the couch next to him. There was nothing else she could do at this point.
She just had to wait it out…