exspeedydotcom: ([comic] with the mom figure)
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Roy was sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea when Dinah got home, at around four AM. She didn’t so much as blink. It had become a common scene. He was used to being active late at night, as Speedy. She’d asked when he’d slept, before, and he’d said, “A couple of hours after we got in from patrol, then a couple of hours after school. This was when I bothered to go to school.“ It hadn’t been healthy for a teenaged boy, but neither had a lot of things he’d been doing. The upshot was that a lot of nights, when he tried to sleep like a normal person, his body stopped but his mind stayed active, and things got...worse.

This was about the thousandth cup of tea in the last six weeks.

"Hey, boyo," she said as she pulled off the blonde wig and ran her hand through her short, black hair. "Give me a second." She went into her room and shut the door, and Roy got up to start fixing her a cup of chamomile. It helped with her throat. When she came back out in pajamas instead of fishnets and a leotard, she smiled at him and said, “Thanks,” as she sat down across the table from him. "How did your appointment go?"

"Good. My panel was clean."

"Great!"

He nodded. "They'll want to retest in six months, to be sure."

"Well, of course. And it's not a license to do something stupid."

"Yeah, Dinah, I got that lecture from the doctor already, you don't have to give it, too," he said wryly, and she smiled. She wasn’t his mom, even if she had been dating his father. She was closer to his age than Ollie’s, actually.

Big sister, maybe, she could do. "We need to talk."

His throat closed up. Well, it couldn't last forever, he thought. "You're kicking me out, aren’t you?"

"What? No. You can stay on my couch as long as you like. But it‘s probably not the greatest thing permanently--it's definitely bad for your back--so. I just think you might like to have a plan, you know, for the future. Do you have a plan?"

He scraped his thumbnail across the tabletop. "Get through tomorrow is pretty much it at this point," he admitted. "But you're right, I need to start thinking...forward."

She nodded. "You need to finish school, first off. You'll have to repeat this semester, obviously. Maybe you can do summer school and still graduate on time." Hal had dragged him to Dinah toward the beginning of November. Ollie had tossed him out a couple of weeks before that, and this was the first time school had come up, so the semester was a wash. Something about the way the skin around his eyes tightened made her ask, "When was the last time you got grades worth talking about?" and brace herself for the answer.

"Uh." He had to think about it. "March?"

"March?" He flinched. Way to go, Dinah. Calm and supportive. Be calm and supportive. "Okay, why March?"

"I did okay for the first little bit there after Ollie left. But then there was this crime wave, and then the Titans needed me, and I couldn’t figure out how to balance everything and school and actually get any sleep."

"And then there was the smack," she said grimly.

"And then there was the smack," he confirmed.

She was going to kill Ollie. It had honestly not occurred to her that his kid back in Star City was in need of adult supervision during the road trip, but he had no such excuse.

Hal could die, too. Dinah had at least not known Roy. "Okay, so you need to repeat two semesters." She was careful to say it that way, not 'a year.' Two semesters broke it up into chunks, she thought. Manageable chunks. A year was too long to think about when you were seventeen. "I'm not about to just let you go off somewhere to live on your own." That way lay a relapse, she thought grimly. "You can transfer to the school in this district..."

He frowned. She could not possibly be presenting that as an option. "Dinah, I'm not going to stay on your couch for a year and a half. That's just ridiculous. I know you want your apartment and your life back."

"Hey," she said, reaching across the table to grab his hands. They were shaking again. He hadn't even realized. Damn it. "The offer stands. The couch is there for as long as you need it. But if you don't want to stay here, maybe you could..." She trailed off. Hal was as bad as Ollie in his way, and as far as she knew the cape Roy was closest to was Batman's boy. She didn't want to think what the Bat would do if she asked him to let Roy crash with him while he finished school, especially since he had to already know why, being the Bat and all. She couldn't even imagine--and that was assuming she managed to get in touch with Batman in the first place. "Do you have any family anywhere?" she asked, weakly. She already knew the answer. Roy's history was pretty much a list of tragedies. The turn to drugs was not actually that surprising, all things considered.

"I guess I could go back to the tribe, but then I have to tell them why I'm there..." He looked down for a moment, thinking, trying to remember something, and then pulled away from her. "Hang on a second." He stood and came back with a brochure. "This came in the mail today. Talk about great timing."

She read it. Fandom High, Fandom, Fandom Island, Maryland. "It's a boarding school?"

"It says they specialize in 'unique situations.' Emphasis on 'unique.'"

"No kidding," she said as she leafed through it. "One of these kids has pointy ears."

"And there's a guy in a costume," he pointed out. "I think that's on page five."

"What's the tuition?" Maybe she could squeeze some money out of Ollie...

"It's vague about that. I think it might be based on circumstance. And considering my circumstance is 'I have no money because I shot my entire trust fund into my arm and got disowned,' they'd probably consider me a charity case." He managed to keep bitterness out of his tone, make it into stating a fact. Progress. "It's kind of design your own major, and I could stay over the summer, so I wouldn't be back on your couch. I'd leave--day after tomorrow, actually. The new semester starts next week."

She considered. "If this is what you want to do, it sounds like a great opportunity to me. I mean, the timing couldn't be better, and where else are you going to get to go to school with a bunch of people who..." she turned the page. "That costume looks familiar..." She couldn't pin the guy down, so she said, "I guess...I guess it's up to you."

"I..." he sighed. "Yeah. I wanna do it."

"Okay. You can call them in the morning. Or I can. Whichever."

"Okay. I’m going to try to get some sleep."

"Good idea. I'll try not to wake you when I go to bed." He left for the living room. She took another sip of her tea, sat back, and began to smile.

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