Fandom: Young Justice (cartoon)
Pairing: Ollie/Roy (former)
Rating/Warnings: Rated R for language and discussion of drug use.
Word Count: 1799
Summary: Sequel to Kiss With a Fist
Ollie is waiting downstairs with the car when Artemis lets herself into his penthouse. All she has to do is pick up her cell phone from where she left it on the coffee table and they'll be headed out for another weekend at Mount Justice.
She knows that she's not alone the minute she enters the foyer, the hair on the back of her neck raising up in warning. Artemis creeps slowly through the penthouse, on the alert for attackers, but what she finds is much more than an enemy agent.
It's Roy. He's sitting on the couch in the living room with a cardboard box balanced on his knees, looking into it as though it holds the answer to everything. His eyes are puffy and red.
Much like the time nearly six months ago when Artemis had come in to find Roy chucking plates at her mentor, she's not quite sure whether she should enter the room. Should she talk to him? Ignore him?
Artemis wonders what Roy has been doing for all this time. She hasn't seen or heard of him since that last, horrible, fight with Ollie. Has he even been operating as Red Arrow since then? Artemis can't remember.
It's Roy who saves her from her awkward crisis by looking up and meeting her in the eyes. He doesn't seem surprised, and the lack of anger in his eyes takes her aback.
The last time she'd heard Roy's voice he hand been accusing her mentor (his mentor too, she reminds herself) of sleeping with her. The last time she seen him he had been a few seconds and a demonic possession away from spitting acid in her eyes. This defeated look of his isn't what she's used to.
"Hey." His voice is deep and rough in a way it wasn't before. He's been smoking, maybe. Or gargling rock-salt. She waves in return.
"I'm uh..." He blinks down at the box in his lap, "I'm just picking up some stuff."
"Oh." She says, "Great." She's still poised on the doorstep, ready to run if he attacks or if Ollie appears and they start fighting again. Ollie still hasn't replaced the table in the kitchen, when she comes over for dinner they usually eat on the couch in front of the TV.
"I didn't mean to..." He coughs, "I mean, I didn't expect anyone to be back here tonight."
"I forgot my phone." She tells him, "It's uh--"
He takes a glance around and picks it up, "Found it." He says in a parody of cheerfulness.
She has to move into the room proper to take it from him and she does it quickly, shoving it into her pocket as if it would prevent him from having seen it in its pink be-dazzled glory. The phone, the fact that Roy's seen it, makes her feel like a child.
"I know that you didn't sleep with him, okay?" Roy says just as she steps away and it's a little bit like being shot in the kidney from behind because she did not expect that.
"Okay?" It comes out as a question even though she would rather it be an end-of-conversation statement.
"I mean, he probably would if the opportunity arose but I saw him making out with Black Canary on the steps this morning and I don't think she would fuck someone who was fucking someone else since--"
"Since what?" She can't help asking, it's like a gossip addiction.
"That's what he was doing with me. And then she found out and--" He looks down at his fingernails, which are cracked and bitten and (ew) dirty, "Well, obviously one of us had to go and it wasn't her. I doubt he'd try it again."
"I just..." He's looking down at the box again, it seems mostly empty to her. "I wanted you to know that I'm angry at him and not you. Anymore. I mean--"
"I get it." She says, saving him from the painfully backhanded apology.
"Sorry." He rubs his hands over his face and a sleeve falls back, revealing thick twists of scar tissue. Spots dark and red along the line of his...
...his veins? Artemis runs her eyes over the rest of his body, focusing on the obvious thinness of his previously heavily-muscled body, the dark circles under his eyes. Where has he been these past few months?
He follows her gaze and quickly pushes the sleeve down but it's too late to take back what she's seen.
"I'm fine." He says, but his fingers are shaking a little and his gaze is fixed on the floor.
She's almost ready to let it go. Almost. But Artemis has spent time with enough troubled kids (in and out of the costume) to know when someone needs to talk. It's a little weird that she's thinking of Roy in the same way as younger teens she meets on the job but she's decided not to think about it until she can be alone and freaking out.
"Okay, no." He says with a huff of a laugh, his left hand wrapping around the grasp his right elbow, "But I'm getting there."
"Oh?" It's not Artemis' time to talk, she knows that much.
"I-- Yeah." He says, "Really. I know what this looks like but I'm clean. Have been for a whole month, which might not mean much to you but it's sort of an achievement."
"That's sort of why I'm here." He tells her. He's obviously on a roll now, in the confession mood and Artemis might as well be a person on the street or a wall so long as there's something there to hear him. "I needed closure. Or something. I guess.
"I was going to take all this stuff and burn it."
Artemis almost giggles at that. It's not funny.
"After I stopped withdrawing and I realized that I wasn't going to-- to die or whatever, I thought it was time to finish off. I got that shit out of my system, right? I figure if I can do that I can get him out my system too.
"Not as easy at I thought it would be." He tells her with a wry smith and a nod to the box, "I mean, it's a few cds and my socks and a picture of the two of us before he-- before everything went to shit and I think i'd rather withdraw again. Except that sucked and I'm lying and I still want to-- "
Artemis slides down onto the couch next to him. Not touching, she isn't sure he's quite ready for the touching yet, but she likes to think her presence is consoling. She follows his eyes down into the box. It's almost empty, holding a few scant items that had been tossed aside in the violent battle that was his life with Ollie. He hadn't left anything important behind. Nothing physical at least.
"I was kind of hoping that you were him. Earlier. Like, maybe he was just coming home and he would see me here and I could shout at him again or punch him or he would kiss me." He glances over at her for a moment, eyes big and shiny in a face that's become too small for them. "Not that that works out for me usually. I never shout the sort of stuff that I need to shout anyway."
"Um." her voice cracks a little, like it doesn't want to intrude on Roy's airspace, "When did you start..."
"Shooting up?" He saves her from having to finish the sentence and she's beyond grateful.
"I don't know. A year ago? Before that whole fuck-up with the Hall of Justice for sure. I think I was hoping he would notice. He should have noticed. You notice when the kid you're fucking suddenly gets track marks all over, right? You notice shit like that. Wouldn't you notice?"
"I would." She almost whispers, "I would notice."
"Yeah!" He's stroking his arm, tense with fury, "He was too busy fucking Black Canary to notice that I was falling apart and I-- fuck."
He's clenching his fists and she doesn't stop to think before reaching over to pry open his white knuckles and hold his hand. It's cold but strong, as strong as an archer's hand should be.
"People notice shit like that. Partners notice."
She squeezes his hand and he squeezes back. Strong.
"I don't need this shit." He says finally, and she isn't sure whether he's talking about Ollie or the box of useless things in his lap. "I-- hey, do you know?"
His head turns to and he really meets her eyes for what must be the first time. He smiling a little through a haze of tears that won't fall.
"I'm going to have a baby. I mean, my girlfriend is. Having a baby."
"I know, right? She came and told me right when I was, like, puking up everything I'd ever eaten in my life and I thought I was going to explode or just crumble up and blow away and she was like, 'Roy, I'm having a baby. So if you're going to go back on the smack you had better die because I'm not letting a junkie near my baby.' and that was it."
"Yeah." He says, "It was like, I never wanted to touch a needle again. I might have been hallucinating, but I think that was the universe telling me that I'd better stop being a fuckup or else."
"So I don't need this shit." He says, "I was thinking I might tell Ollie. If he came up here, I mean, I could tell him all of it and he'd feel like shit and serve him right, but I don't need it. I don't need any of this."
And with that, he pushes the box into her hands and stands up, leaving her sitting on the couch with a box of things that aren't hers and a story that she can't share.
"Thanks, New Kid." He says, "You're a good listener."
"I'll see you around."
And with that, Roy is out the window and gone. Leaving Artemis on the couch with a box in her lap and her glittery pink cell-phone in her hand.
Ollie is waiting for her downstairs, but she isn't sure she wants to see him.