Author's Notes: There are some drug references in this story starting with this chapter. The information on drugs and withdrawal may not be fully accurate. I know a lot about pain and sickness as I deal with my own chronic health problems quite regularly. I thank God that I have never been addicted to drugs or been in a situation that could have led me to that as an outlet for my problems. I have almost never even been around anyone who has. Because of this I know very little about substance abuse, only the information I find from casual reading on the internet. I'm not writing this story for accuracy. I'm not trying to make a grand statement. This story is written solely for my own amusement and hopefully the entertainment of anyone who happens to read it.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. DC Comics owns them. This is just a fun writing exercise.
Roy Harper jumped down from the beam. He could feel the familiar weight of a bow and quiver on his back, though the bow and quiver in question were completely unfamiliar to him. He hated the fact he was in a Speedy costume again. It made him feel like a kid. When he really was this age he'd been extremely stupid. He had actually thought that being called Speedy was cool.
Roy's legs ached slightly. The cause of the aches was something he didn't want to think about. He landed on the floor with a thud. He moved cautiously toward the door. The darkness beyond the now blown open door was more a than a little spooky. It was pitch black. Roy stared down at his arms. For what seemed like the thirtieth time, he found himself thinking that he was too skinny. There was none of the muscle mass he had built up from years of working out. He really was about fifteen or sixteen. Roy smiled widely. At least he wasn't a ten year old.
The last thing Roy remembered before waking up here was his daughter Lian. She had woken up from some nightmare. He had been putting her back to bed. He had laid down beside her, stroking her hair. He had closed his eyes. Then he was here. He was worried about Lian but he couldn't afford to show it. He couldn't afford to face those fears right now. He told himself that Lian would be okay.
Lian was a bright girl. He didn't just think because he was her father. At four years old she was already reading basics books. She knew her numbers. If Lian woke up at home and found him missing she knew to call her Grandpa Ollie. Roy smiled. He remembered the look on Ollie's face, the first time he was called Grandpa. Oliver Queen, the original Green Arrow, hated to be thought of as old.
His mind snapped back to Lian. What if she wasn't home? What if… No. He really couldn't afford to think this way.
Roy shook his head. "Focus Harper," he muttered to himself, "You need to focus." His thoughts were scattered, trying to go in every direction. He needed to concentrate on getting out of here. Everything else would have to wait.
"What's wrong?" a boy's voice asked. It was Dick Grayson. Roy still had trouble believing it. The real problem was treating him seriously. Dick looked so…young! Roy scratched at his neck then gazed at his arms. Okay, he thought, that might be a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.
Roy turned around and looked up just in time to see Dick swing down on the grappling hook line. Dick landed beside Roy. Roy stared at the Robin costume Dick was wearing, a more practical outfit than any of the other Robin costumes Roy had seen. That wasn't saying much but the colors were a little bit better for stealth.
Roy looked at the classic domino mask that Dick was wearing. He rubbed at the edges of a mask he just knew was similar. Roy hadn't worn a mask much in a long time. He preferred shades. The reason why was simple. The stupid thing itched especially when one started to sweat. "Robin and Speedy again," Roy muttered, "Oh great." He glanced at his left arm, at the needle marks there.
"Is that what I think it is?" Dick asked noticing Roy's arm.
"Yeah," Roy said bitterly, "I'm pretty sure it is."
Neither said much for a minute after that. When Roy was in his teens he had done drugs, bad ones, heroin. The sweating and aches were all too familiar signs of withdrawal. It wasn't bad yet but it was headed that way. He wouldn't surprised at all if he had been runing a fever a few minutes ago.
Dick seemed to looking at Roy accusingly. Roy couldn't stand it. He broke the silence first. "I didn't do anything!" Roy shouted, "I've been clean for years! Do you think I'd be that stupid? I've got a little girl to look after! This isn't my fault!"
"I know," Dick said, "Do you think I chose to break down in tears? We're not ourselves."
Roy had the strangest feeling that that was the literal truth. Even for them that was weird. His mind searched for something else to think of, something else to say. He looked upwards. "Is it just me, or is Wally being too quiet?" Roy asked.
Dick titled his head. "That sound, it's faint. It's soft but…I think he's-"
"Snoring!" Roy finished.
"He can't afford to sleep. He's got a bump on his head," Dick said, "He's probably got a concussion. We've got to get him to wake up. With that crooked leg he's not going to be able move well on his own. We're going to have to get him down from there."
Roy sighed. "Alright, I'll do it."
Dick shook his head then looked rather pointedly at Roy's left arm.
"Hey!" Roy shouted defensively. "I'm still functioning okay! I'm not dealing with bad withdrawal symptoms yet!"
Dick crossed his arms. "It's that word, 'Yet' that I'm worried about."
Roy glared at Dick. "I'm fine!"
"Are you?" Dick asked, "Just try to relax. I'm not blaming you."
"Yeah right," Roy muttered.
Dick pulled the trigger on his grabbling gun and shot back up to the beam. Roy moved leaned to lean against the open doorway. He gazed at his right hand covered by a yellow glove. His eyes stared at the fresh needle marks on his arm. He clenched his hand up into a fist. He had been clean for almost seven years. A mixture of badly suppressed fear and worry combined with the withdrawal was turning him into an angry over emotional wreck. Roy wanted to hit something.
What Roy really wanted was to be back home with his daughter, preferably at his rightful age. Somehow he didn't think that was going to happen anytime soon. He closed his eyes hoping this was just a dream. That he would wake up in his apartment in Star City and this would all be just a incredibly vivid nightmare. He opened his eyes. He sighed. He knew he wasn't that lucky
The sound of feet hitting the floor caused Roy to turn his head. Dick was standing there, struggling with the unconscious form of their friend Wally West. Wally was now nearly a foot taller than Dick. Wally was in a Kid Flash costume and looked to be in his early teens. This was so wrong on so many levels. Wally was supposed to be the Flash. He was supposed to be twenty-four years old. All three of them should have been the same age.
Dick was suddenly off balance. He crashed to the floor taking Wally down with him. Wally began to groan. Dick got on his knees scowling. "Now he wakes up!"
"Huh? What?" Wally's voice was confused. "Linda?" It was his wife's name.
Roy stepped over towards Wally and bent down close to his face smirking. "I'm not Linda, sweetheart!"
"Gah!" Wally yelled, "Roy?" Wally put his hands up trying to push Roy away. "What are you doing, Roy? Too close!"
"You see him?" Dick asked.
"Yes?" Wally said, "Yes! I can see! Everything's kind of blurry though."
"Head injury," Roy said. Almost simultaneously Dick said, "Concussion." Both Roy and Dick knew from personal experience that head injuries could do a wide variety of strange things to a person.
"The League's going to find us, aren't they?" Wally asked. He sounded as dazed and confused as he looked.
"Which League?" Roy asked only half teasing. Wally was a member of the Justice League. For a while he had tried juggling time with between Keystone City, the Titans and the League but that just didn't work, not and have time for a personal life. Even speedsters had limits. Roy had no idea why Wally ever thought he could do all three. Roy found it hard enough managing time between Checkmate and the Titans then later Checkmate and the Outsiders. What made this situation funny was that Wally didn't learn his lesson. He was once again actively involved with two different teams as well as protecting his city. Even workaholics like Batman weren't that ambitious. This time it was two different Leagues, the world famous Justice League of America and the more secretive Justice League Elite. Sooner or later that had to come crashing down.
Wally stared up at Roy. "What do you mean which League?"
"It's not that big a secret," Roy said grinning, "Ollie's on the team too. He never can keep his mouth shut around people he trusts. Nor around people he doesn't, come to think of it. He's always been a loudmouth. So yeah, I know all about the Justice League Elite."
Wally's eyes went comically wide. Roy laughed a little then suddenly gasped. His back was beginning to ache. The pain in his legs was increasing. Roy sat on the floor beside Wally.
"It's getting worse," Dick said. "Isn't it?" Roy could only nod.
"What's worse? What'sgettingworse?" Wally asked alarmed. He sat up.
"Heroin withdrawal." Dick's tone was emotionless. His face was grim.
"But Roy kicked the habit years ago!" Wally shouted.
"I did," Roy said, "This body didn't." Roy winced. "It feels like the habit's kicking me." Roy tried to smile and failed. "It's funny. All trouble that comes with withdrawal and none of the benefits of getting high in the first place."
"That's not funny," Wally said.
Dick stood up. He walked to the darkened doorway. He turned around to look down at Roy. "You've been feeling the symptoms since you woke up, haven't you?"
"Yes," Roy said, "But I didn't recognize it as first." How could he have recognized it? It was the last thing he was expecting. He had been clean for so many years, It wasn't until he saw the marks on his arm that he knew. Even then he didn't believe it. He didn't want to. The only thing he couldn't figure out was the lack of strong cravings. Maybe it was because he couldn't remember the high. The last memory he had of that sensation was from almost seven years ago.
Roy had been seventeen when he became addicted. He was only on the stuff for a month. If not for Dinah Lance, he doubted he would stopped. He had wanted to, but without support he knew he couldn't have. The horror on Oliver Queen's face when he found Roy was a junkie was something he could never forget. It haunted him. It used to infuriate him. The fact was though that Oliver had all but abandoned him sometime before that. Green Arrow had left Speedy as the sole hero in Star City for over two months while he traveled through out the countryside.
Dick was standing in front of the doorway. He turned to face the darkness beyond. "There should have been guards here by now," he said.
"Well there isn't" Wally said.
Roy stood up somewhat shakily. "We should be getting out of here."
Wally pointed at his left leg. "Idon'tthinki'mgoinganywhere!"
Dick groaned. "Slow down, KF!"
Roy swiftly pulled an arrow at out from his quiver. It was totally at random because he was not familiar with the arrows. It was only the weight that told him what it was: an boxing gloving arrow. He twirled the arrow around awkwardly with his fingers. "Really kid, no one likes speed talk. Now what was you were saying?"
Wally's voice slowed. "I said, I'm not going anywhere with this leg! I can't run!"
"Then you'll have to lean on one of us," Roy said. He placed the arrow back in the quiver. "It had better be me. I don't think our boy wonder is tall enough or strong enough at the moment." Roy reached his arm out to Wally to help him up.
"Are sure?" Wally asked, "What about the withdrawal? You're sick!"
"Yeah," Roy said, "But not any worse than a bad case of the flu." For all he knew, he might be lying. He couldn't be one hundred percent sure it was heroin that had been in his veins. And a few of the withdrawal symptoms he remembered experiencing were a bit different from the flu. Roy didn't want to worry Wally. He didn't feel that concerned about worrying Dick. He assumed Dick already knew certain things. When it came to crime and criminal activities, it always seemed there wasn't much that Batman's former protégé didn't know.
Dick didn't say anything to contradict Roy, a fact that Roy was grateful for. Wally reached up and accepted Roy's help. In under a minute Wally was leaning on Roy's right side for support. Roy gave Wally a strong look. "Whatever you do, don't try to do anything speed related while touching me. I don't want to be vibrated to the point of exploding!"
"I would never!" Wally sounded shocked. "I have much better control than that! You know I do!"
"Uh huh," Roy said unconvinced, "That's why you've been speed talking."
Dick was fingering his gloves pulling at them in a nervous manner. He let out a short startled yell as a light dislay appeared above one of his gloves. The lights were bluish white. The lights stabilized into a digital image.
Wally whistled. "Wow, that's something you don't see everyday. Unless you're going to the future. That's a holographic computer. Neat!"
The movement of the skin on the forehead above Dick's mask showed that he was raising his hidden brows. "This…No way!"
"What Robbie? Tell!" Roy demanded.
"It says here that the year is 2010," Dick said.
"That's not right!" Wally shouted, "It's 2004!"
Roy smiled weakly. Gazing at the computer he said, "At the very least we've got a flash light now."
Dick smiled back, a smile that was not much better than Roy's. "A flash light," Dick said, "Or something like it. The rest we'll figure out later. " Dick walked out into the dark hall. Roy and Wally followed.