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Title: Reality is a Crutch 7/7
Previous Parts: Part 1, Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
Author: kat8cha
Pairing: Roy/Wally
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Roy hates asking for help and can only do so when he is not the one in need.
Warnings: Drug use, referenced prostitution
A/N: The first part of the story behind [livejournal.com profile] roygoesdown and [livejournal.com profile] quickblows's AU. Roy leaves when Ollie kicks him out and Wally never met Barry and thus never gained powers. Also for H/C bingo's undercover:engaging in illegal activity prompt.

The diner was a little like the ones that Ollie and Roy had sat in together after a night of patrol, the two of them a little bruised and maybe a little bloody, depending on the night. The diner had gotten to know them, had gotten to know not to look twice if Roy was sporting bruises or if Ollie's fingers were bleeding from pulling arrow after arrow that night, the waitress hadn't even minded that one time they'd come in slightly singed from an episode where the villains attacked the flaming arrow signal. Sitting across the booth from Roy now made Ollie feel the disconnect between those times and these. The diner wasn't the same, it was a slightly different color, a slightly different decal, but Ollie could see the echo of Roy's younger self sitting right next to Roy. The booth was an ugly orange plastic and Roy vacillated between leaning back against it and hunching forward over the table, which was a pale grey and white pebbled pattern. Ollie coughed and fussed with the silverware all rolled up into a napkin. Across the diner he could see Hal and that Wally kid sitting at another booth and while Hal was not watching Ollie could see that Wally was.

The waitress comes by and drops off two cups of coffee before she whisks away to other booths. The diner is not terribly busy at that point in the evening, but it was not quiet either. Roy and Ollie could have their talk without worrying about being overheard.

If they could ever get started.

Roy dumped some sugar into his coffee before he stirred it, his attention focused on the inky black depths. Then he laughed, a small smile curling his lips. "I should have had a milkshake."

"What?" Ollie is halfway towards signaling the waitress to come back when Roy reaches across the table and touches him on the wrist which stopped Ollie cold.

"In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy's talking about how the last time that he and his dad talked he had a milkshake." Roy looked into Ollie's face like he was waiting for a reaction, some acknowledgement, some spark of recognition, but Ollie couldn't remember the scene that Roy was talking about. Roy's hand dropped away, onto the table and Roy pulled back and curled over his coffee cup again. "Never mind, I think you were more interested in the blond in the front row than the movie, anyway."

The sad thing is, Ollie can remember the girl in the front row.

"Roy…" But what is there to say? Ollie is not sorry. He stands by his reaction to the revelation that Roy was a junkie. He can't be proud of Roy beating the addiction, not when he suspects that he had help from Wally or possibly Hal and Barry as well. Ollie remembers his own addiction to opium, yet another dark part of his first trial as Green Arrow from before he had even become Green Arrow. He remembers the taste, the hunger, the heat of the island and the unrepentant beams of the sun.

"It's alright." Roy's shoulders tightened and then fell, when Roy looked up at Ollie it was with an edge of defeat to his face. "I don't know what you want me to say to you."

"Anything." Ollie's answer was quick too quick, because Roy flinched and just looked upset. "…just tell me why, Roy." And Ollie was not even sure what he was asking Roy for. Was he asking for why Roy did drugs? But Roy had told him, hadn't he? He had said that it was because Ollie had left him and he'd been lonely. That was a lousy excuse and Ollie knew there had to be more to it.

Roy took a deep breath and his hands clenched around the coffee mug like it was a lifeline. "I didn't start out thinking 'oh, drugs probably aren't that bad'. I'm not stupid, no matter what you might think of me now, and I was actually…" Roy swallowed and took a sip of coffee, then made a face and added more sugar. "I was working, doing the job you should have been doing, and trying to keep Star City clean."

Ollie flinched at the recrimination. Star City was not the best of cities at the best of times and he had left the job of cleaning up the streets to one teenage boy. How could he have thought that one kid could handle all of that on his own? And Ollie would have been foolish to think that Roy *wouldn't* go out and get into dangerous situations without him there. But he'd thought the kid knew how to judge dangerous from, well, not as dangerous.

He should have known better.

"The drug rings were by the docks, they're always by the docks, but there were parties going on too, parties that Roy Harper, ward of Oliver Queen could get into. I had a dozen lies for why you weren't around, and I used them, and I started spreading the word that I was looking for 'a good time'." Roy snorted slightly. "I got offered hookers at first, I had to hold a few parties and cleaning up after those was never fun, but eventually I managed to find the upper-class dealers. From there I could trace things back to the docks, where the drugs always seem to be, and then to the street level dealers. I had how I was going to take them down all plotted out… then…"

Roy can remember when it happened. It was one of the parties and there was a dealer there who noticed that as interested as Roy was in everything going on he hadn't taken anything. Roy would like to say he was forced, or pressured, or coerced, or that he panicked, anything to take the weight off of him.

"They looked like they were having fun." Roy glanced quickly at Ollie who cleared his face and made himself appear as blank and non-judgmental as he could. "Or, they at least looked like they didn't care. The guy asked if I knew how to shoot up. I told him no. He… helped me those first few times. It wasn't anything weird, he just figured he could make easy money off of me. When I realized how badly I was hooked I acted fast, I got the high end dealers locked up and carted away, I started working to clean up the street… but the cravings got too bad, and more than that I was running a dangerous sloppy game. I knew I was going to get noticed and it was like the entire city started crawling with dealers."

Roy took a breath so deep Ollie watched as his back chest expanded. It also showed how much Roy's body had changed since he had lived with Ollie, no more baby fat on his cheeks, now it was all muscle and bone. There was even a fine line of fuzz along his chin. Roy would likely never get five-o'clock shadow like Hal got, but he was unmistakably not a kid, not a young teen either.

"I stepped back. I couldn't do it, I thought about contacting you… but I had no way of doing that. I couldn't even call Hal since he and you were off together."
"I meant to call." Ollie said, and he had. He had looked at payphones, hotel phones, phones in people's houses, the cracked and broken, bulky black hand held phones that bad guys carted around with them sometimes and he'd thought about calling Roy or Dinah to tell them how he was or where he was. Roy gave him a look that quite clearly read 'bullshit'. "I did."

"I used to wait by the phone." Roy pushed his coffee away and straightened up. "I used to sit there and wait for you to call, I made promises to myself about what I would or wouldn't do if you called. Thinks like 'I won't throw another party' or 'I'll tell him what I'm doing' or 'I'll ask him for help. Then later it was 'I won't shoot up'," Ollie watched Roy's throat bob when he swallowed and Roy's next statement sounded rough with suppressed tears, "or 'I'll ask him for help'."

Ollie was torn. He could not stand tears, he could not stand weakness, and he could not stand emotions. But he also wanted to tell Roy that if Roy had asked for him he would have been there.

But he was not sure if that statement would have been true, so he stayed quiet.

"I don't need your help anymore, Ollie." Roy said and he slipped out of the booth. "I don't need your sad attempts to play house, or you to defend me. Checkmate made me an offer," And Ollie had slipped out of the booth too, the two of them were now standing in the middle of the walkway of the diner and drawing stares. Wally and Hal scrambled to make it over to the two of them. "I'm going to accept it and work for big brother, which I know you'll hate, and if I go back to being a costumed hero I'll do it on my own terms."

Roy fished a plain brown wallet out of his pocket and tossed a few dollar bills onto the booth, just enough to cover coffee and a tip. Then he grabbed Wally's wrist and pulled the other redhead out of the diner. Ollie was left to stare at the blank space Roy had occupied until Hal stepped forward and filled it.

"He's grown up a lot."

This time Ollie was the one who found himself with tears pressuring the insides of his eyes. He blinked twice and then swiped one away before he could be forced to admit they were there at all. "He has."


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