Yeah, a one-shot about Red Arrow's journey to find Speedy. Set after Salvage.
In my mind I see Speedy as very curious and smart, so I took that and ran with it.
Finally. After five long years, he did it. After spending all his money, after pushing away all his loved ones, his quest finally came to an end.
Yet, it filled him with a sense of emptiness. What would he do now? The last few years of his life had been dedicated to this cause. Though he would never admit it, this was the sole reason why he continued on saving lives and occasionally stealing from them.
Now that his journey was over, where did that leave him? He was, after all, just a clone. Nothing good ever came out of clones.
Red Arrow gave his orange locks a shake. He'd deal with that when the time came. Now he had to focus on the task he set out to do.
Right in front of him was the real Roy Harper. The real Speedy. He had been right all along. The boy who he was modeled after was alive all along.
He told Green Arrow. He told Nightwing. He told Black Canary. Hell, he told the whole League that Ollie's original partner was still out there somewhere. But no, they wouldn't listen. They had given up on Speedy and left him in the hands of those Cadmus monsters that had taken him.
But he never gave up. He kept searching for Roy, even after they told him not to.
Well screw them. If it weren't for him, Roy would be dead like they all believed. But he did it. He showed them all that his counterpart was alive. He proved them all wrong.
Red Arrow placed his hand over the keypad, his finger hovering over the 'Open' button. A whole world of possibilities would prevent itself when he pressed it and released the body that was stuffed inside that Cadmus tube.
In the end, he pressed the button. There was a loud beeping noise, then smoke was released from the pod. Without warning, the awful containment device opened and Speedy was flung forward-still unconscious.
Even if Red Arrow wasn't training regularly, he still was quick enough to spring forward and catch the boy as he went down. He was scrawny and under-sized, but alive. Speedy was real, and Red Arrow couldn't wait to rub it in all of their faces.
Speedy's body was a strain on his own, and it was still a shock to see his right arm was amputated. He could just imagine the shock and depression that the original will have when he caught sight of it. Red Arrow could think of nothing worse than losing an arm. This boy can never wield a bow again-something out of an archer's nightmare.
He looked at his counterpart, remembering that he looked exactly like that when he started training with Green Arrow. His arms hadn't built up any strength, but he wasn't one to talk. He neglected his own training and let his body deteriorate to nothing.
The groan that came from the boy in his arms nearly made him drop Speedy. Blue eyes blinked twice before focusing.
"AHH!" He twitched and pushed himself off of Red Arrow with his one good arm.
"Easy there, kid," He placed his hands up in an attempt to calm him down.
Speedy was breathing heavily, his eyes flickering every which way before coming to rest on his clone.
"Who are you? Where am I?" He twisted around, frantic.
"Woah, kid, slow down! Hey, Roy!" Red Arrow called when he started thrashing around.
The boy stopped and looked up at him, "How do you know my name?" He started shivering, "Why do you look like me? Who are you?"
"One question at a time!"
Roy stopped shivering and tried to prop himself up, only to discover his loss. Tears formed in the azure eyes as he stared at the bandage.
"Where's my arm?"
"I wish I knew, kid," Red Arrow admitted. That was the one thing he couldn't find out, even with all his research.
"My arm! How can I be Speedy without my arm?" A tear dripped down, but then Roy glanced at Red, ashamed he just revealed his secret identity to a stranger.
"Relax, Roy. I know you're Speedy."
The fearful face hardened into a glare, "How? Who are you?"
Red Arrow stared calmly at his counterpart, but inside he was dreading this moment. He wasn't like Nightwing when it came to explaining things. Yet, he knew that this information would only be right coming from him.
"Impossible or not, it's the truth," Red shrugged.
"Is there some sort of time travel going on? Green Arrow warned me about something like this," Roy once again glanced around the abandon lab of Cadmus.
"That's only half the story."
Roy sneered, "Care to enlighten me?"
It was Red Arrow's turn to glare, "You think you're all high and mighty right now, but what I will tell you might be too much for you to handle. Lower your expectations, kid. Things have changed."
"Well for starters, it's nine years into the future," That was Red's shot at trying to lighten the mood.
Roy exploded, "Nine? Are you kidding me? I missed out on all the good stuff? Jeez, what happened?"
He's taking it rather well. But I just scratched the surface. He thought, but said, "When you first became Speedy, you were abducted on a mission by Sportsmaster. You were gone for an entire night, but no one was worried because you were already a hero. They were wrong though."
Roy shuddered, "What happened?"
Red really wished he didn't have to do this. It was going to be really painful for him, "In that time, you were taken to Cadmus Labs in Washington D.C., where you underwent the painful process of being cloned. I figure in the time you were captured and cloned, you lost your arm somehow. But, they seemed to have given me one," He flexed his own arm, lucky to have it.
Speedy, seemingly unaware, reached out and touched Red's arm, then retracted and gripped the stub of his.
"So, you're me," He gave a weak laugh, but it didn't reach his eyes.
"In a way, yes."
"You've been living my life."
Red shifted uneasily, hating everything that he will say. "To be honest, kid, your life isn't too good."
Roy squirmed around, changing his position into something more comfortable. Then he leaned forward, inspecting his clone with wide eyes, "Tell me about it. I mean, tell me about your life."
"Do you think you can handle it?"
He shrugged, "I might. It doesn't matter; I just want to know. Start from the beginning and leave nothing out."
Red Arrow stared at him. This wasn't what he was expecting. He imagined that Roy would've been furious for him stealing his life. Would've been confused and scared about being cloned and suspended in animation for nine years.
He never expected him to be curious. At least, not until later.
"Well, after you were cloned and I was made, you were put into this cryo-container," Red gestured to the pod behind him, "And I was set out. I don't remember much of that. Just stumbling around Star City with a couple of bruises and a lump on my head. I thought I was attacked, so I based my story on that. They all seemed to believe me, so no questions were asked.
"I trained with Green Arrow for three years, perfecting my marksmanship and heroism. In that time, I met Batman, Flash, and Aquaman with their partners Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad."
Roy's brow furrowed, "I remember them. I think I met them before, when GA first introduced me to them."
Red shrugged, "I wouldn't know. Anyway, on July 4th, 2010, Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, and I were supposed to be granted access to the Justice League's headquarters, but instead we were given a glorified backstage pass of the tourist trap called The Hall of Justice," He heard his anger seep into his voice, "It was so unfair! They left to do a mission debriefing without us, even if we were in the headquarters. And get this: The Hall of Justice isn't the League's real base! The real thing is called The Watchtower, and floats in space."
Roy's blue eyes widened, "Really? In space?"
"Go on, this is really interesting!"
"It gets worse," Red tried to sway him, but it had no affect.
"What happened next?" Roy ignored him.
"I was tired of all the lies. The Justice League-Green Arrow included-had been keeping so many secrets from us. I was done with them. So, I quit. I was no longer taking orders from them. I was no longer a sidekick," Roy spat out the word like it was bad tasting food.
"I became what you see here. I'm Red Arrow. Solo vigilante fighting crime where it pleases me. Of course, I wasn't the only one who went on to something different.
"Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad banded together and created a covert team under Batman's instruction. They, along with Superboy and Miss Martian, did missions under the radar."
"Superboy? You mean, like Superman?"
Red Arrow rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah. Superboy is another clone from Cadmus, like me. And before you ask, no one knows how they managed to clone Superman."
"Ok. Who's Miss Martian?"
"Martian Manhunter's niece. She's a telepath. But, you don't really need to know about them. As I was saying: they made a covert team and offered me a spot on it. I refused at first, saying it was just a little club that the League had control over. They accepted my choice after the second time of asking, and then they replaced me."
Roy gasped, "Replaced you? With who?"
"A blonde chick named Artemis Crock. They claimed that she was GA's niece-"
His counterpart scoffed.
"but we all knew that was a lie. She was really the daughter of Sportsmaster and the retired villain Huntress. Her sister was also a criminal named Cheshire," Red's heart twisted, "I fought her on many occasions."
"I really didn't keep tabs on the Team for a while, until I brought them a new mission: saving a Doctor from the League of Shadows. They got it done. I then traveled to Rhelasia, and…" The clone continued to explain his missions as a solo hero, and Roy listened to every word, following along as if his life depended on it.
"Green Arrow told me that I was to be inducted within the League, but I had to join the Team first. I did, but mostly because there was a mole on the Team. The three suspects were Superboy, Artemis, and Miss Martian because they were the newest members and all were caught in lies. If wasn't until a mission within the circus did I realize that none of them were betrayers."
Roy leaned forward again, "So, who was it?"
"I'm getting to that," He snapped, then softened at the boy's expression, "This is where it gets a bit tricky."
He nodded, "Don't hold back."
"It was the best moment of my life, being inducted into the League. It was what I always wanted, and I finally got it. Of course, it wasn't at all what I was expecting.
"I was the mole, Roy. I was programmed by Cadmus on the instruction of the Light-a group of villains planning on taking over the world-to infiltrate the Justice League and to bring them under Vandal Savage's command. That's when I found out I was a clone and the mole, and the truth wasn't too pretty. I was only made to get into the Justice League, and when my first chance didn't succeed, way back in July, I quit and tried again and again.
"I really didn't know who I was anymore. I'm not really you, just a look-alike. They want me to be Roy Harper, since I was the only one they ever knew," Red hung his head, slightly ashamed, "It didn't feel right to be Roy Harper though, because that's who you are, whether you were dead or not."
"They thought I was dead?" Roy's face twisted in pain and betrayal.
"They still do. They tried to make me stop my search, because they thought it was a lost cause. They wanted me to give up."
Red Arrow raised his head to stare his counterpart directly in the eye, "I wouldn't though. I couldn't just abandon you like everyone else. Even Kid Flash, who retired a few years ago, had come out and try to talk me out of it. I wouldn't listen, and I kept searching. And now here you are, most definitely alive."
"Thank you," Roy said, shocking him.
"For not giving up. For finding me. For not keeping me trapped in that horrible container for the rest of my life."
"You're welcome. Can I ask you a question?"
His head bobbed, "Sure."
"Why aren't you mad that I basically took your whole life away from you?"
"I guess…I'm not sure what to feel," Roy shrugged, "Sure, I'm angry that I'd been cloned, but I couldn't do anything about it. I didn't know that there was another me running around. And you can't say you stole my life, because I was never really living that life anyway."
Red nodded, satisfied with the answer, "Well, come on then. Let's go."
The boy stood up also, "What do you mean?"
"What else? I'm taking you to Green Arrow and the others to show them that you're alive."
"No." Red felt his arm being gripped. Azure orbs locked him in place.
"What do you mean 'no'? Don't you want to see your friends again?"
"Red, they're not really my friends, remember? I don't know who they are. You know them better than I do. Just, leave me alone, ok?"
"I never really had a foot in the hero world, and I can't just start now."
"Green Arrow would gladly train you again!" Red Arrow burst out.
"From what you told me, he's moved on." Roy pointed out.
"Not anymore. Artemis quit being an superhero with Kid Flash."
"But still, it would be like a painful memory that he failed the both of us," His grip on Red's arm tightened, "I'd do nothing but cause harm. Roy, just promise to leave me be. Let me live my own life."
Red Arrow stared hard at Roy's pleading face. The kid really just wanted to put this all behind him and continue on. After all he's been through, how can Red refuse?
He sighed, "Alright, kid. I promise. As long as you promise me to be successful and have a good life."
Roy grinned, "I will."
The two Roy Harpers then walked out of Cadmus together, before parting at the doorway.
"Goodbye, Red. Thank you for everything."
"No problem, Roy. Be safe."
One blue eye winked, "No guarantees. I'm not alive, remember?"
"I'll never forget. No one will know about you but me. And it will stay that way."
The boy nodded, "Another thing you need to promise me."
"Clean up your act and live on in my name."
Red Arrow was shocked, "Are you sure?"
"Of course. They need you, Red Arrow. They need Roy Harper."
"Well, ok then."
Roy smiled a little, then turned his back on the archer. His back was tall, as if to assure him he would make it in this world, even if he wasn't a superhero.
"So, what happened?" Black Canary asked softly when he returned to Star City.
Red Arrow found he couldn't stare her, or anyone, in the eye. He was an honest man, but this was something he could never share.
"Roy, tell us," Nightwing prompted. He, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Wally, and Jim had all come as soon as he announced he was back. Kaldur's missing presence caused pain to well up in his chest. He was pretty sure the emotion crossed his face, but he let them all believe it was for Speedy.
"It was another dead end."
"I'm sorry, Roy," Green Arrow said.
"No, I'm the one who should be sorry," He raised his head, "You were all right. Speedy, the real Roy Harper, is dead."
Wally thankfully didn't say 'I told you so' like he used to.
Instead, he said, "What would you do now?"
Roy rose to his full height, "I'm going to get things together and carry on Speedy's legacy."
"Are you sure?" Nightwing frowned.
He nodded, "It's what Speedy would want."
Green Arrow stood up as well, "Training starts at dawn. Don't be late."
He nodded again, feeling less pained now. He knew that Speedy would be alright, and now, he could focus on fulfilling his last wish.
He was the one and only Roy Harper.