This is a little oneshot I wrote for a YJ anon-meme prompt. I know I haven't written anything for several months, but I have more free time now and so I'm trying to get back into the writing-groove of things.
Warnings: This story contains SPOILERS for "Auld Acquaintance."
Disclaimer: Don't own Young Justice. Clearly.
Six months after the fact and it's still strange to him, like looking in a mirror with some kind of age-reversal charm on it. He honestly doesn't think it will ever stop being strange, but he finds that he's okay with that, and as he sits slouched at the small round table with his head resting in one hand, he absentmindedly wonders if that small smidgen of acceptance is a sign of progress or just the medication talking.
The boy sitting across from him fidgets under his gaze, clearly uncomfortable whereas he feels calm – okay, yes, he knows that much is the medication at work – and really, he doesn't mean to stare, he knows it's not helping anything, but like he said before, it's just strange. The face is so young, just barely turned fifteen last he'd heard while he himself is twenty-one, and that factor alone is only just scratching the surface of the entire situation.
He pushes those thoughts to the side though, because the kid hasn't once visited before, and for him to show up now, well, clearly there's a reason. He certainly looks like he has something he wants to say, just can't seem to find the words to say it.
So Roy –
No, not Roy because he was never Roy, was never Speedy. Red Arrow though, that was a name he created for himself.
–Red Arrow gets the conversation started and asks – again, quite calmly, "How's the arm?"
"Oh, um," those young blue eyes dart down to said arm and the kid flexes artificial fingers, "It's alright. Passes for a real arm, and is almost just as good. Ollie really... went all out."
Blue eyes flicker up to him then away and off to the side, and that nervousness increases along with tensing muscles, like the kid thinks he'll snap at him for even mentioning Ollie, or bringing up the fact that Ollie's going out of his way to do something nice for him – and why wouldn't he? The boy was, after all, the real Roy Harper.
Red Arrow sighs and leans back in his chair, his head lazily tilts to one side, "Relax Roy."
So, so, strange.
"I'm not going to bite your head off at the news that Ollie's taking care of you," he says. "In fact, I expect nothing less of him, and would even go so far as to say that I'd drag my sorry ass out of this place and have a few words with him if I heard otherwise."
The truth to these words surprises even himself.
Roy doesn't seem to know what to say to that, and instead his gaze travels around the rec room, taking everything in – the boring paintings on white walls, the other tables and chairs scattered around them, the TV off in one corner with a couch and some chairs surrounding it, and all of the other people mulling about, most of them wearing sweatpants and t-shirts, some with hospital gowns on over their clothes, all of them patients just like him.
"They... they didn't tell me you were in here," Roy finally says, briefly meets his eyes before looking away again.
"They probably thought you had enough on your mind," Red Arrow says with a half-hearted shrug.
"Yeah," he slumps a little in his chair, narrowing eyes looking down, "..I... yeah."
Then Roy hunches forward against the table, presses his forehead against its surface, buries his hands in his hair, and suddenly the fidgeting and the nervousness takes on a whole new meaning and Red Arrow realizes that he's not the only one having trouble dealing, not that he's at all surprised by this fact.
"I just.. I can't – I don't even know," the younger redhead fumbles, his words muffled against the table.
Red Arrow wonders if he – or rather, any version of himself out there in the universe – is predestined to forever suffer from mind-fucking and mental breakdowns.
"Don't know why I even came here," Roy says so quietly that Red Arrow has to strain to hear, his voice becoming more broken with each word, and at the same time straining to keep those broken pieces together, "Just thought... maybe you could.. I don't– I don't know."
There's a pause, and he can hear Roy breathing harshly against the table.
"It's just, everything's so different now," Roy finally whispers, and grinds out, "There's nothing I can fucking do about it either." He lets go of his hair, his hands dropping down to the table. He sits up just the slightest bit, but his eyes stay downcast, glaring at nothing, his breathing picking up every now and then, "Maybe I should be in here too..."
Red Arrow's mouth presses into a thin line, and there's this.. almost protective feeling that kind of baffles him, but there it is, and at the same time he can sympathize. It combines, in a way, those two feelings, into something that roils inside of him, and maybe it's a bad idea to be making any kind of judgment calls or decisions when he's on medication like this, but he's already standing up and there's a half-assed plan forming in his head that at this point could only be stopped by someone of sound mind – of which there's none around, save for the hospital staff, and he already knows they won't try and stop him because of the simple fact that he admitted himself, and since he's not a danger to himself or others, he can leave whenever he wants to.
"I don't understand," Roy later says out in the parking lot after about an hour of forms being filled out and Red Arrow talking to doctors. There's a myriad of emotions playing out on the kid's face along with a great amount of confusion. "What are we doing? Why did you sign yourself out?"
Red Arrow shoves his hands into his coat pockets, one hand wrapping around car keys, and he admits with some hesitation, "I went in there to try and straighten out my head, and, I dunno, maybe it helped out a little, but now..." his eyes fall on the car parked up ahead."I'm thinking a new kind of therapy's in order."
"So... that's it then. You'll just drive off into the sunset or whatever," Roy says, and the lost look on his face makes Red Arrow pause for a moment before he realizes what the younger redhead is thinking.
He's surprised by the feeling of his mouth pulling up into a small smile but he goes along with it anyway as he turns away from the car, fumbling with his keys for a moment before he asks, "You know how to drive?"
"I'm fifteen," Roy says, taken aback.
There's a confused pause.
"Yeah, I can drive," Roy says slowly, brow furrowed. "Shouldn't you know that?"
"At this point, anything I remember before those three years and beyond has to be considered purely speculation," Red Arrow says with a careless wave, and then he tosses Roy the car keys, because it occurs to him that maybe driving with this medication still in his system might not be the best idea.
"Wait," blue eyes blink in surprise, "You want me to come with you?"
"Wouldn't have bothered signing myself out if it weren't for you," he says, "Not that you have to go with me. You barely even know me, after all."
Roy stares down at the keys, and there it is again, that lost look, and so much more playing out on his face. Red Arrow wouldn't say the kid wears his heart on his sleeve, but he does seem a lot more open than himself – just one way they're different, one of many he's sure.
"Where would we even go?" Roy asks, fingers clenching around the keys.
Red Arrow shrugs, "Anywhere but here. Figured we can decide along the way, and... we can come back at any time."
"I should probably tell Ollie.."
One way they are the same, 'tell' Ollie instead of 'ask', and at the same time different, because Red Arrow wouldn't even bother doing that much.
"He'll figure it out when he stops getting billed for my hospital care."
Blue eyes narrow up at him, identical to his own and yet different at the same time.
Red Arrow sighs, relents, "Fine, we'll call him."
After they've left Star City.
For now. I'm setting the story's status as complete, but if I ever come up with a more in-depth plot idea as to what they do one this roadtrip, I'll post it here. Hope you all enjoyed it. Expect more Young Justice stories in the future. :)